Slow Garden Days – Slow Art Day

by Linda Wiggen Kraft

There is no official Slow Garden Day like there is an official Slow Art Day, but hopefully that will change.  This year Slow Art Day is April 28th. In St. Louis it takes place at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and in over 65 cities worldwide, all on the same day.

For Slow Art Day, people gather to spend a few hours at an art museum or gallery to look at art s-l-o-w-l-y, taking ten minutes or more viewing one piece of art, and then moving on to view another piece of art, until five pieces of art are seen and felt in a new way. Then the group gathers for a casual lunch and to share experiences. The experiences are profound.

Really seeing art, or for that matter gardens, is not something that is usually done in public spaces. In a study of how people view art, it was found that the average time spent looking at one piece of art in a museum was seventeen seconds. Imagine the difference in really seeing, between seventeen seconds and ten minutes. Imagine spending ten minutes in one spot in the garden looking at one or a few plants. The effect would be stunning.

How often do we really see a garden, or individual plants?  How about those amazing spaces of public gardens?  There is so much to see, that we don’t really see much of anything when a mere seventeen seconds, or less, is the usual time looking at one scene.

There are ways to have a Slow Garden Day on your own. This can be done at home or in a public garden. Instead of trying to see it all, pick a small area, with about five or fewer plants to focus on. Sit comfortably, perhaps there is a bench nearby or maybe a blanket can be put on the grass.  Looking closely is the beginning.  Become aware of what is happening with all your senses. Open up to the full experience. Take time to look, at least ten minutes.  A journal can be used to sketch or draw in your own way.  No one has to be an artist to make marks, just let a few marks be reminders of what is seen.  Use the journals to describe what is seen and felt. A poem can be written. Spend ten minutes or more in one spot and move on to a few more areas to s-l-o-w-l-y know the wonder and beauty that may have been unseen before.

And if a Slow Garden Day seem like a way to spend part of a day enjoying a public garden in St. Louis in the fall of 2012, please send me an email: Linda@CreativityForTheSoul.com.  To find out more about and sign up to participate in Slow Art Day visit: www.SlowArtDay.com.

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a mandala artist and garden designer who uses the wisdom of many traditions in her work. Visit her webiste & blog: www.creativityforthesoul.com/blog or (314) 504-4266.