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Did I Find the Perfect Succulent Pillow?

Recently I embarked on an intensive, two-day hunt for the perfect succulent pillow. I wanted it for the love seat in my home’s 5×5 entry, where I keep 40 small, low-light succulents in a dozen containers. These are shades of green, bronze, brown, terra-cotta, and rose.

Small euphorbias, gasterias and haworthias thrive in the entry, out of direct sun.

Little did I realize how many succulent pillows are out there. Stores such as Pier One, TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Joanne’s and Cost Plus World Market have more than fulfilled my 2016 prediction that items themed with succulents would soon be commonplace.

From Pier One’s website.

I bought seven pillows and two area rugs, and charged about $500 on my credit card. No biggie, I was going to return all but one pillow and one rug, right? Well, yes, but an embroidered and beaded cactus pillow from Pier One was a keeper regardless. Only $40!  (I have a thing for throw pillows.)

I figured just about any multicolored succulent pillow would work. The walls are tan, the trim cream, the floor concrete gray, the door and wrought iron brown, and the seat cushion dark blue-green. Hoping that a rug would add punch and help pull everything together, I bought a 3×5 one striped in brown, green, blue and beige. But—I should have known this, being a Pier One fan—the colors were so crisp, they made everything else look shabby. Also, when I saw it in situ, I realized it really needed some orange-red.

The first go-round: The pillow is a bit too small for the love seat. The rug, though the right size and a nice texture, lacks colors necessary to unify the design.

So back the rug went. Next stop: Cost Plus World Market, where colorful cacti greeted me from Melamine plates, shower curtains, and even nifty metal buckets. Watch the 50-second video I made while there.

I model a fabric shower curtain at World Market.

I found a pillow with a watercolor of a cactus garden that seemed the right shape and size: rectangular (“lumbar”) and bigger than Pier One’s for less money. Score! Or so I thought.

Cactus pillow and rug at World Market.

Back home. Aargh. No pillow with a white background looked right. There’s no white in the entry, and they all screamed “bedroom.” Yet while at World Market I’d also bought an orangey-red rag rug trimmed in blue-green. It looked great! All along it wasn’t the pillow that mattered most, it was the rug.

My Dorothy-in-Oz moment: I had the perfect pillow all along.

I quickly went shopping in my own home, grabbing a pillow with the right colors from the living room sofa and two stretched canvas prints of agaves from the hallway. (Both prints are from my online Zazzle store.) None of the succulent pillows ended up in the entry. But I did keep two. One is now on my bed, the other on an armchair. The entry pillow has a bird on it, but hey, I’m into birds.

Cost: Two pillows that I kept despite not needing either one: $60. Rag rug from World Market: $40. Total: $100. Plus a day and a half of my time, but it was fun, so I can’t complain.

Do you, like me, need to hunt, gather and try things on before everything clicks? If so, you probably agree that the hard part—and hopefully you’re better at this than I am—is taking things back.

Now (drum roll) my pup Lucky would like to show you “his” new entryway.

Lucky demonstrates “downward dog” on his new yoga mat.

He’s probably meditating on his breakfast.

The love seat is ideal for cat-watching.

Lucky resembles the entry’s whimsical metal watchdog. At left are a pair of Talavera “shoes” and a frog pot atop a larger container. In the square pot are ‘Pink Blush’ aloes.

Items opposite the love seat include Gasteraloe ‘Green Ice’ in bloom.

Gasteria sp.

Related Info and links:

My stretched canvas agave prints:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See more of my succulent art pieces at my online Zazzle store.

Articles on this site:

April 13, 2018 — Cactus as a design element is trending, popping up on pajamas, place mats, wallpaper and more. As awareness of the plants grows, cliche images of “cactus” as saguaros and prickly-pear will give way to… [Continue reading]

Succulent Art, Decor and Gift Items
May 29, 2016 ~ We’ll see stylized succulents used more and more in art, home decor, clothing and gift items. The way succulents are trending, they’ll soon become the “new florals” for…[Continue reading]

If you enjoy gardening, you’ve no doubt experienced how it can be a form of meditation and a treat for all the senses. But have you considered how simply looking at certain plants induces a feeling of serenity? You can discover this simply by enhancing a sitting area with succulents that incorporate geometric patterns and spirals…[Continue reading]
Dec. 27, 2017 ~ Long a pariah plant, cactus is becoming cool. The first edition of my book, Designing with Succulents (Timber Press, 2007) showed few cacti—mainly golden barrels. A decade later, the completely revised second edition devotes 15 pages to numerous varieties of spiny succulents in gardens large and small. [Continue reading]
 

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How Three Designers Express Their Love of Succulents

I’m pleased to share with you three artist-designers whose work delights me. Dyana sells in art galleries; Mike hosts in-studio workshops; and Tari has a bright new Ebay store. See if you don’t agree: Each celebrates succulents in fun, appealing and creative ways. (Photos used with permission.)

Tari Colbry of Reclaim-It 

No two of Tari Colbry’s succulent-planted squares are exactly alike, yet each highlights the geometry of succulents. She suggests showcasing them as table centerpieces for homes, weddings, and other social events.

Made from reclaimed wood, moss and wire, Tari’s squares individually are great for small garden spaces—I have six on my deck—atop tables and grouped on walls. Spritz the moss every few days (depending on the weather) and keep them in bright shade or dappled sun. Tari also makes lovely wreaths and hanging succulent balls.  Visit her new shop.

Dyana Hesson, botanical artist

Arizona artist Dyana Hesson‘s paintings of succulents are colorful, detailed and realistic; her style, sophisticated and skillful. The luminosity with which Dyana conveys the soul of a succulent results from thinly applied, layered, and blended oils.

Painting, she says, gives her a way to express aspects of the natural world that she’s unable to do via photography alone. Visit Dyana’s website.

Mike Pyle, Hunt Collective Ltd. 

In his Orange County design studio, Mike Pyle designs furniture, succulent planters and more. Several times a month, Mike crafts ten or so similar containers from pallet wood, then hosts a workshop during which attendees plant one to take home, enjoy a fun social event, and learn about succulents.

Mike, who will soon launch a line of Midcentury Modern furniture, also does landscape design and consulting. In fact, a photo of his studio garden graces the cover of the second edition of Designing with Succulents (shown below). Visit Mike’s website.

Do you have a favorite succulent artist? Send me a link!