The first thing Nolagirl and I saw at spark! Mesa’s Festival of Creativity was The Night Garden by Jenneva Kayser.
The festival’s website calls The Night Garden a
colorful, illuminated landscape inspired by bioluminescent plants and fungi…created on site and consist[ing] of sculptures made of woven recycled fabric and translucent porcelain clay. The artist invite[ed] visitors to “take a walk through the wild landscape—an underwater desert in outer space!”
What in the world is “an underwater desert in outer space”? Wow! I don’t even know what that means. In any case, Nolagirl and I were fascinated by the cacti made from fabric.
On a March 7, 2018 post on the Mesa Arts Center website called “Woven Together,” Kayser writes of the assistance she got to create this installation. She orginally proposed to create a small piece in a “tucked away” location. She thought she’d be doing all the work herself. When the review committee asked for something bigger to display in a more prominent location, Kayser needed help.
About forty people snipped and wove as we processed all the recycled fabric into string, and crocheted the vines and cactus that make up the garden. Four hundred fifty pounds of t-shirts later, I am full of gratitude for a task I simply could not have done alone.
On her Instagram page, Kayser describes herself as “Studio Manager at Mesa Art Center. Artist, poet, cook.” That’s all the biographical information I can find for this artist. Also, is she the same Jenneva Kayser, poet, interviewed in a 2014 issue of Geosi Reads? Ms. Kayser is as mysterious as The Night Garden itself.
The aforementioned Instagram page is a great place to see what The Night Garden looked like at night, something I’m sorry I missed. It’s also a great place to get up close and personal with the textile sculptures.
There’s so much for me to like about this piece. I love that this art is created from recycled fabric. What a fantastic use for 450 pounds of t-shirts! I so appreciate people who can create beauty from items one step away from the trash. I’m also attracted to bright colors, so the reds and purples and fluorescent yellows really drew me in. Since the Sonoran Desert has wormed its way into my heart, any scene with cacti catches my attention.
The Night Garden was a fabulous welcome to the spark! Festival. It drew me and Nolagirl right in and awakened our sense of wonder, preparing us for the other enchanting art we would see that day.