There's no better celebration of any season than the decorated tree adorned with the rich symbolism of nature—my ritual to inform and inspire you in the journey called life.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

of cats and men at Halloween

I don't know how it escaped my notice until this year, that October 29th was National Cat Day. When decorating and photographing this spooky tree to celebrate Halloween this year, I debated on whether to use my cat painting (by local Atlanta artist, Ronnie Land) as a backdrop over this buffet table. Now I am glad I did—even though the setup is more complex than usual. Because many of R. Land's artworks are packed with hand-drawn imagery like this poster done for Atlanta's infamous Little Five Points Halloween Festival and Parade, it all seems to fit together quite nicely. I've never been a minimalist at heart. I like the discovery and surprise found only when many delightful things are vying for one's attention.

These magical and well-crafted mushroom ornaments by Wendy Addison, designed for Midwest CBK hang from a glittered Halloween tree from Target. I purchased the mushrooms from Bayberry Cove. The large "Christmas spider" ornament is an antique Czechoslovakian beaded ornament from my collection.
"Founded in 2005 by animal welfare advocate Colleen Paige, National Cat Day brings attention to the number of cats that need to be rescued each year. It is also a day for cat guardians to celebrate their own amazing cats." I truly like that "cat guardian" moniker, but I feel it is the other way around. I have always thought of cats as my guardians, or muses, or familiars, or warm and fuzzy companions. My father always loved cats and I have been lucky to have had many special cat companions throughout my life. I've only had one dog as a pet. All the rest have been cats. I love their peculiar nature and independent ways—I truly am a cat person, through and through. Don't get me wrong, I love all animals, but I can't escape the feeling that cats are superior creatures in many ways. The feline world and I have a magical understanding.

Frida, the tuxedo cat (left) and Abella, the Bengal cat (right) are my sweet guardians.
An assortment of cheeses, crackers and fruit are a visual and literal feast.
Cats, magic and Halloween all seem to go together. Add the creepy presence of spiders and earthy balls of moss and you've got a tableau that visually creeps and crawls in just the right way. Mushrooms add a touch of nature's magic that sets the mood for the season, along with an abundant cheese and fruit buffet, of course. And if you're lucky enough to have earned the trust of a cat or two, you're all set for Halloween's spooky route to the beginning of the end-of-year holiday season. Happy All Hallows Eve! 

This mushroom ornament is also by Wendy Addison, designed for Midwest CBK. A glass-glittered wire spider from Pottery barn adds a creepy, crawly touch.
The standard pot the tree was purchased in is dressed up with dried moss and an unusual tire pot by River Market Pottery in Kansas City, Missouri, adapted from sewn leather working techniques, but made from up-cycled rubber tires that had previously been bound for the landfill. The perky bronzed metal mouse sniffing for the cheese is from Pottery Barn.

collecting, photography and styling by Darryl Moland

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

wedding mementos

IF A WEDDING can be a frame of reference for life events, it is only appropriate that a wedding later in life frames memories of the past and present. Marriage is a symbolic point at which a couple's lives officially merge as witnessed by close friends and family.

The trees were carefully crafted beforehand and displayed at the wedding with the expert help of Devin Borden (center, bottom).
WHEN DISCUSSING designing a tree and other elements for the couple's wedding, we discussed a way to personalize the trees. Including the photos of persons so important to each family's heritage along with past and current life event photos of living relatives was a perfect way in which to accomplish this, at least symbolically. Later, we decided that having two trees of equal stature representing both sides of this merging family was a great way to honor both families, both separately and together as a unit. The bride and groom both garden, so it wasn't a stretch to use simple natural elements as decor on the trees and tie to other decor for the wedding. It was also a theme in keeping with the autumn season at hand.

THE SINGULAR tree shown in this post combines photos from both of the trees done for the wedding. Because marriage merges two families together, this tree is symbolic of the union between the bride and groom and their respective families. 

Each frame was simply made from pine cone pieces surrounding a laser photocopied picture mounted to thin cardboard—creating frames that harken back to history, having a "tramp art" look to them. Thin brown satin ribbon formed the hanging loops.

All the handmade photo frames for both trees. The idea for the frames was modified from instructions found on the Martha Stewart website here.

At the base of the modern clay container for the tree (a wire Easter tree from this past season's Pottery Barn line) photographed for this blog, a small pot of moss, a wooden box, some leaves, pinecones and a silver bird add just the right touch of earthy whimsy.

©2012 DARRYL MOLAND | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED photography and styling by Darryl Moland; pine cone photo frames hand-crafted by Darryl Moland and Devin Borden