Durango Botanic Gardens

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About Those Ceramic Pots in the Gardens

17 Aug 2022 8:26 AM | Bill LeMaire (Administrator)

The following is an interview with Kim Adams, a Durango ceramicist who produced those botanically themed ceramic pots in the Cindy Smart Miniature Tree Garden.  Kim explains how Tibetan prayer wheels inspired her to create these Botanic Inspiration Wheels.

Why did you chose this project? I’ve always wanted to get involved with a public art project after taking a course on it at the Corcoran in DC many years ago. When I saw an article in the Herald about the Art Brigade’s call for artists, I thought it was time. I’ve been involved with ceramics as a student, business owner, and a lover of clay for years, so opening my mind to a new way for people to interact with my art was exciting. The grant I applied for suggested the Durango Botanic Gardens as a potential site. I love being and working in the garden, so from there ideas about an interactive installation started coming to me, then Jim Philpott signed on for the metalwork offering to donate his time, then the meeting with Bill LeMaire was encouraging. Before I knew it, I was in the studio throwing pots destined for the Durango Botanic Gardens and its visitors.

How does the installation work? If you’re exploring the gardens on the north side of the library, you’ll see four pots mounted on rods sprinkled throughout the Cindy Smart Arboretum. On two of the rods are boxes with paper and pencils—means to render ideas, poems, wishes, drawings that come to you while meandering through the grounds. Rather than putting your rendering in your pocket, I invite you to put it in one of the pots and to spin the pot. (There are carved slots near the top of each pot’s copper lid.) This concept came to me from the time I spent with my children at the Tara Redwood Preschool in Soquel, CA, where prayer wheels were throughout the campus. A turn of a prayer wheel was the same as a recitation of the mantras carved on the surfaces and inside the cores of the wheels. With the Botanic Inspiration Wheels, a turn is a recitation of the messages inside the pots.

What has been the response from the garden visitors been so far? I collect the messages deposited inside the pots every couple of weeks or so. Each time I have gone, I’ve eagerly anticipated what I’ll find. Thus far all the messages express good-spirited intentions for the world, the environment, and individuals. There are hopes for dinosaurs to return, wishes for people to heal and make smooth lifestyle transitions, beautiful pictures, expressions of love, feedback for the garden, and offerings of words to live by. Most messages are anonymous, but gauging by the handwriting and content, I believe the authors are of all ages.

Any projects in the future? There is one more Botanic Inspiration Wheel going in at the new children’s garden at the library. It’ll be around 3 1/2 feet tall, perfectly sized for its visitors. I have an idea for another community-interactive installation with Durango Creates!. I really hope it comes through, as I have loved every minute spent on these botanic wheels.


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NOTE: Our physical location is 1900 E. Third Avenue, at the Durango Public Library. The gardens are located to the north and east of the library, along the Animas River Trail.

Mailing Address:

Durango Botanic Gardens

10 Town Plaza, #460

Durango, CO  81301

Phone: 970-880-4841
Email: durangobotanic@gmail.com

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Durango Botanic Gardens

Our Location:

The Durango Botanic Gardens are physically located at the Durango Public Library, to the north and east of the library.  The library is located at 1900 E. 3rd Ave., Durango.

There is no admission charge.  Stroll the gardens yourself (there is ample signage in most gardens) or call us at 970-880-4841 to arrange a group tour. See our Information Tab for more.

Contact Us:

DURANGO BOTANIC GARDENS     
10 Town Plaza, #460
Durango, CO  81301    

Phone:  970-880-4841
durangobotanic@gmail.com

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