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Friday, May 24: Folklife

Friday, August 21, 2015

Bradner P-Patch--Flowers, Funnels and Jello Molds, Oh My!

The arbor entrance on the East side of the garden at 29th Ave S.
Our Seattle Urban Sketchers Friday ad hoc meeting was at the Bradner P-Patch. It is one of 60 community gardens scattered across the city of Seattle. Originally started in 1987 as the Mt. Baker P-Patch, today Bradner has 61 garden plots of 200 square feet each.
The new year of 2013 was celebrated at Bradner Gardens Park with a new artwork on the trellis fence. It is a guardian for the bike rack on the basketball court. Artist is Clair Colquitt.
The official website has a list of the 7 themed gardens and the art installed in them.

I was instantly enchanted by the quixotic figures in the patch...they even have their own windmill!

As with anything for which one grows fond, I have my own nicknames for some of the "scarecrows" and sculptures that I sketched this morning. I even nicknamed a particular part of the garden, and you will see why:
The block headed gentleman with the yellow power tie seemed to be something inspired by Frankenstein, with nearby power lines to zap a bit of  life into him. The Zombie Rabbit (my nickname) may be a better figure for scaring crows than the usual man of straw.
Would this be Virginia the "Bride of Frankenstein" with her up-do of twig hair, dangling high heeled boots and pearl necklace? Perhaps she is named after the souvenir ashtray from West Virginia that creates her full lipped smile.

Fascinating and imaginative artwork can be found throughout the garden. Made with repurposed materials like scissors, clothing cast offs, toys, tableware, wheels, gears, broken garden tools, carved wood, teapots and jello molds, these creative designs enhance the atmosphere of a partnership in this garden  between man and nature.
I made the following sketches in a 7x 10" Pro-Art sketchbook with my Micron pen....As in life, no eraser, and I'm serving them up fresh out of the garden before I cook 'em with watercolor and garnish with text.

Actually, my first sketch of the morning was the "Cabbage Patch Boy" with his shiny tea kettle head, overalls and missing b̶u̶n̶n̶y̶  lambie slipper. I nicknamed him after the familiar doll-like shape and the red cabbage patch that grows at his feet. On the same page I drew what seems to be some sort of salmon shaped barracuda mutation with chainsaw spines, an army helmet gullet and a forked tongue. It swims in a bed of lovely pink dahlias, but they have teeth, too!
"The Bride" just wouldn't fit in one piece, so I sketched her twiggy up-do and pearl bedecked gown. Then, I continued with her dangling high heeled boots and nearby accessories of pink cosmos and a purse-shaped wasp trap.
My last two sketches were in the "Garden of the Undead" (again, my nickname, but perhaps this is where perennials grow?). The Zombie Rabbit and aforementioned sartorial gentleman seemed energized by the power lines running through the background. I wonder if they lead to a  plasma-ion generator or perhaps the solar array atop the community building.  (I'm sure there must be a bolt in his neck somewhere.)
All in all, the Bradner P-Patch Garden seems very appropriate for the Emerald City.


  1. Excellent sketches and humorous account. "I'm serving them up fresh out of the garden before I cook 'em with watercolor and garnish with text" Indeed!

  2. 😄 Thank you, Kate. It was a very delightful place to sketch and I could see the humor evident in those characters. The watercolor part of my sketches is in progress, and they will soon be ready to plate up and garnish!