Flea Market Gardening ‘Banner Day!’
Once a month, it’s my job to wander deep into the photo albums at Flea Market Gardening Facebook page in search of four wonderful projects to highlight at the top of our Facebook page. Each month there is a new banner to reflect that month! Here is a behind-the-scenes look at how it’s done:
The wind chill drops mid-morning temperatures below freezing today. There’s a marble of ice on the leaves under the main hose tap. It’s late November and a gust blows from the North across rocky gardens overlooking the river valleys in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.
It’s the perfect time to wait out the high wind indoors. I pull up a sturdy ladder back chair to a very old table that holds my computer. It’s warm inside my studio, and I open my screen onto the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page. Just a few clicks later …
… I’m in a green glade at the height of summer. Water splashes on purple and blue glass spheres that turn into glowing amethyst and aquamarine mirrors. A wren with a twig hops out of a teapot made into a birdhouse. I hear wind chime music played by the breeze with flattened silver spoons and forks.
Teacups and gnomes peep out from under violets. Around every corner flowers tumble and are watered by floating antique watering cans. It’s time to jump on a magic bicycle and rush to work in Wonderland, where at times it’s as if fairies are real and summer is forever.
Designer at work
Come along with me and see what I do as designer at Flea Market Gardening. It’s “Banner Day” today and we are looking for stars!
It takes quite a while to choose! It always helps to look at the banners we’ve already featured. You can see the past banners for yourself in our “Cover Photos” album. Looking at these helps organize fresh steps for a new banner … pretty soon I’ve got a wish list of images I’d like to run across (easy to see when small, clearly photographed, in harmony for the season, simple and hard projects—something for everyone).
Now I go into the many albums organized by topic by the angels at Flea Market Gardening. This is where you can wave a magic wand and conjure ideas for something you’d like to make. Or, …let this virtual garden gallery surprise you again and again, just by wandering through. There’s something wonderful around every corner. There are so many projects to choose from for the banner, perhaps something …
Hmm,…easy but elegant … rustic and pretty!
…joyful and ingenious … with recycled cobalt-blue bottles.
…charming and clever … and her handsome prince made it for her …
…wonderful and whimsical … this artist Debra Clark loves to come up with new amusing designs, and this one lights up at night…
Making the final choices…
Fun, brilliant, magical … or, as you might have gathered by now, any number of positive traits represented and photographed by our FMG community, and it’s all about recycling too. There is always so much to choose from! It’s not easy, as our contest judges and helpers have learned when joining me in this task. But … after dithering back and forth for hours, it seems, there are always four new photos for a new banner—no time to second guess, because there is a lot more to do before I’m finished!
I paste each artist’s name in Adobe Illustrator because it’s great for working with the handwriting style like Black Jack, one of our banner fonts. The words plus the art are then assembled in the mini-Polaroid frames design I’ve come to love, in Adobe Photoshop. There are literally hundreds of layers of details by now. Each month it’s like a mini puzzle with hidden elements in the background.
Sometimes someone will shout out a great idea—and I snap it up. I use just about every tool available in Photoshop. The characters leap onto the scene from out of the archives. We make all our art from scratch, but also recycle elements in true Flea Market Gardening style!
A Snowman jumped into the spotlight this month looking for designs for blue bottle trees. He’s on his way to a party, and loves decorating his own cottage. And look who else came along today … a right jolly old elf …
See more of Stephie McCarthy’s artwork at her website