Gustav Stickley (ed.) / The craftsman
New use of concrete for garden ornaments, pp. 586-590
CONCRETE FOR GARDEN ORNAMENTS different surfaces may be given to the con- crete; some beautiful results have been obtained by tinting the material while in a plastic condition, and when so colored the hues neither fade nor are injured by the rain. A great deal of interesting work has been done by inserting colored tiles in- to the concrete field and working out mosaic patterns in glass or stone. The specimens of concrete shown in this article are the work of the students in the School of Industrial Art of the Pennsylvania Museum. The first two flower pots that are shown illustrate clearly that concrete lends itself to varied types of decoration. One, more the shape of the common flower pot, is guarded on either side by a winged lion. The projection of the feet beyond the cir- cular line of the pot gives it a broader base to stand on, and this makes it more secure against tipping over. The second, a square jardini~re, is decorated by a conventional- ized leaf that grows out with a raised bor- der which finishes the sides of the pot and which at the corners is made to suggest a leaf stalk. The outward curve of the leaf at the top of the corners forms a conveni- ent hold. The plainness of the sides is broken by a rosette composed of a group of small leaves similar to the large ones at the corners. The window box is a very beautiful adaptation of the classic acanthus leaf, but there is nothing in the method of its use that is Greek or historic save the simplicity and grace with which it is adapted, and the fine sense of proportion exhibited in the spacing. Corrugating the background throws the design into sharper relief and adds a great deal to the interest of the entire box. On the following page the grotesque door knocker against a concrete tile in- serted in the middle of the door in a gar- den wall would extend an interesting wel- come to the visitor. It is in every way as effective as brass or bronze would be, which we have come to look upon as being peculiarly the material for such oddities. A very plain and substantial flower pot depends for its beauty chiefly upon the grace of the side lines and the four heavy han- dles suggesting an adaptation of the fleur de lis. The fernery supported on three pillars is one of the most elaborate and beautiful of the concrete designs. The pillars are gracefully proportioned and support a triangular flower box divided into three parts by narrow partitions. In the center of this is a pipe for a small fountain. This would be an attractive dec- oration not only for a garden but for the formal hall of a house. One of the most beautiful of the jardinieres is shown on page 588. The lines of the jar are very graceful in themselves and the design is admirably adapted to them, a wreath of daisies emerges gradually from the ma- terial of the jardini~re until the upper petals of the flower are in high relief. All of these pieces of work are striking for their lack of hackneyed historic orna- ment and equally for the freshness of the designs and their suitability to the purpose which they serve. For above all a decorative design must embody an idea, and one that is allied or in keeping with the purpose that the thing decorated is to serve, the position in which it is to stand and the material of which it is made. If no idea for decoration is sug- gested to the worker by these conditions, it is better that the utensil should go plain and unadorned. The pieces shown here bearing designs of leaves and flowers in one way are more satisfactory than the pieces decorated by the lions, because the idea more accurately expresses both use and position. However, a winged lion on guard, because it is of the nature of my- thology, is not beyond the pale of good design in almost any case, because any- thing can be conceived of as guarded. It is simply that in this instance it is not a definite expression of these particular con- ditions.
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