Thursday, August 29, 2013

Only 24 remain a sea!

Coming Home

Blocks are coming daily now and am trying my best to keep up with posts. I want to thank all participants for your wonderful and varied images. Our garden will be awesome!
Only 24 of 92 remain somewhere on the rough seas, sailing their way home (I hope). The Fantastic Harbor awaits you little blocks!


Frank Trueba - Felton California USA

I'm crazy about ginkgo leaves and so for me to consider any garden to be fantastic it must have ginkgo leaves!

Karen Macauley - San Jose, California USA
"There was a squrrel danced, and under that was I born."
-Much Ado About Nothing, II.i (loosely quoted)

Andy English - Ely ENGLAND
The Allium is possibly my favourite flower and one that features in my work from time to time. It was interesting to explore its form through woodcut, rather than my usual engraving, using a mixture of gouges and knives. The two birds are something of a signature of mine and so they are shown flying here, above the flower bed.


Deadline is HERE!!!
Don't spend extra money on expedited mailing, though, but do try to mail blocks this coming week.
As of today, only 24 participants have yet to return their blocks.

Finally, don't forget to send in your image information using the web form on this page, exactly as you would like it to appear on this blog and on the Growing the Garden printed book:

Fantastic Garden Headquarters:

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Flying garden denizens

My neighbors in the Arizona desert

I just know you love all the trivia I've been writing so here is more for you. Arizona and Nevada, although neighboring "desert" states, have vastly different natural flora. This is mostly due to the much colder Nevada winters of the Mojave desert and the higher humidity and rainfall (yes, not a misprint) of the Sonoran desert. Saguaros, the massive cacti that thrive all over Arizona, would croak in a second in the Mojave due to the dryness and the frequent freezing in winters.
Now you know.

Despite some difference, we desert dwellers all have to withstand hot summers and enjoy mild winters. And we do share some similar plants and flying critters that are pictured below. The buzzing fly (nice detail!) was placed on the prickly branches of the Catclaw Acacia, a hardy and prolific bush that can grow the size of a tree. If you wonder why the name, try cutting one of its springy branches sometime and...well, you'll know!

Both deserts also enjoy hummingbirds, the jewels of the sky! and the hummingbirds enjoy the nectar of the Desert Willow. Really a Mojave native, this hardy plant enjoys the Sonoran climate as well and thrives wherever there is scant and deep water to be had in washes and dry riverbeds. This particular hummingbird was very nicely and deeply carved!

Wendy Willis - Phoenix, Arizona USA

Love being a part of the Fantastic Garden. My piece was inspired by a heavier than usual in flux of flies in our area this spring...
Dana & Brenda Diller - Prescott Valley, Arizona USA
Since Arizona loves its hummingbirds, Brenda drew the design and Dana did the carving work. It was a collaboration that we hope will be continued.

Fantastic Garden Headquarters:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

More puzzle pieces to enjoy!

Critters and a Landscape

Today, an octopus in the garden! I swear I can't get that Beatles song out of my head when I look at this lovely creature. Appropriately, I (Photoshop) placed it in the pool so it would feel right at home. Sharron Huffman is an octopus master printer! I met her at the Nature Printing Society workshop a couple of years ago. Every relief printer should nature print some time in their lives.

And two contributions from Canada, a peaceful landscape under the clouds and a darling porcupine. Both were placed in the shade of trees; the landscape under the (very messy) Palo Verde and the porcupine under a mesquite tree, nestled by the (appropriately) spiny leaves of a young Century Plant.

Sharron Huffman - Milwaukie, Oregon USA

The octopus image originated as a real octopus. I made a gyotaku of the octopus and then used that original as the basis of a 8" square encaustic collage, "Octopus's Garden," with inclusions of hydrangea petals and daisy prints. A scan of the finished encaustic piece provided the outline for my block design. I must say it's easier to print an octopus than it is to carve one! But I knew it had to be ... every garden needs an octopus.
Bonnie Baker - Nova Scotia CANADA
Janel Warmington - Nova Scotia CANADA
On to the next batch! Five more came in over the weekend so I have some photographing to do...except it is RAINING!? How cool...

Fantastic Garden Headquarters:

Monday, August 26, 2013

How to get a Growing the Garden book

Growing the Garden

I have had many requests for pre-ordering the Growing the Garden printed version.

You can order one of three ways:

  1. Use the NEW! Buy Now button on the right column on this blog
  2. Send $18 via PayPal to my email address 1000woodcuts (at) gmail (dot) com
  3. Send check or money order to the same address you sent the block; email me if you lost it
Growing the Garden will be a paperback book, approximately 130 pages, full color cover and interior, 8 1/2 x 11 inches size (about A4 size). It will publish around end of 2013 or beginning 2014 through Amazon, will be available at, and also through Kindle. Retail estimated $29.

Contents will be:
  • Full page reproductions of each panel of the Fantastic Garden
  • Full page "map" with participant names and locations facing the previous
  • Detail page for each participant with their block image and colophon/image information as written by each participant
  • Process explanation, musings from the instigator and photos, including the print party
Participants, send in your blocks!!! One week left, aggghhhhhhhhh....
Also don't forget to fill out the info in the Artist Info page on this blog:

Fantastic Garden Headquarters:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Garden growing like crazy!

Must be fall

In the fall the desert revives again, just as soon as the nightly "lows" drop below the high-eighties. Such is our life! Our winters are delightful though. Most of our desert plants will bloom now until the cool mornings set in.

First contribution shows an entire lively garden! Since there were birds in the image, I placed them safely among the branches of an acacia.
The bee belonged among the pods of the sweet Honey Locust. We inherited two huge rows of these trees when we bought the property and most of them have survived. The sweet "beans" in the pods seem to attract many creatures, whether still on the tree or after they have fallen. In the winter, the pods mulch the soil and smell sweet and thick.
Finally the bunny and playful doggie belonged on the mixed grass. We keep a meager lawn for the dogs and to refresh our sight in the green. I figured the bunny had been attracted by the dandelion flower and decided to stop by for a snack. They look happy!

Patrick Armstrong - Thunder Bay, Ontario CANADA
Charles Morgan - Victoria, British Columbia CANADA

Whenever I think of a garden, I always think of the great variety of insects that we should find there. Alas, we have distributed so much poison that the number of insects has been drastically reduced, just in my lifetime. Of particular note is the catastrophic decline in honey bee populations. So, this is my modest effort to populate our garden with this much needed friend.
Bea Gold - Los Angeles, California USA
I love my garden. It is a play place for me and my dog. Go girl go!

Fantastic Garden Headquarters:

Friday, August 23, 2013

More puzzle pieces

Here we go! 

A clever contribution from Ohio placed among the flowering Chaste Tree. This hardy purple flowering fool survives here with almost no water and regales us with blooms during spring, summer and fall.

Next are the lizards! Plentiful in our Nevada gardens, these clever creatures seem to outsmart my cats by crawling into the wood pile. They keep insects in check, grow colorful and feisty, sleep through the winters and frequent fences, trees, and any which where they want to be.

The toadie I had to place by water but this time the pool seemed too...clean? We keep various bird baths hidden under the deep shade of trees and bushes for the birds, the feral cats, and whoever else wants a quick drink in the desert heat. Why not a toad?

Gayle Wohlken - Burton, Ohio USA
Since my puzzle piece was shaped the way it was, I could only see it as a wooden shoe. Therefore, it became just that.
Carolyn McLeod - Reno, Nevada USA

Seven lizards
Ruth Egnater - Michigan USA
Regnaterrn at comcast dot net

We have many frogs and toads living nearby in our wetlands and the last 2 springs they are somehow hatching in our sump pump. I have to run around and catch the little buggers, some as small as a fingernail. And to my extreme horror I learned while picking one up, that toads can SCREAM, LOUD!!!!! So a nice big fat and juicy toad for the fantastic garden is on its way.

Fantastic Garden Headquarters:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Latest arrivals to delight all!


The first peaceful contribution I placed among the cool branches and fragrant pods of the Arbor Vitae. Well watered and properly drained, this evergreen does well in our area and is a welcome sight in our desert landscaping.
The second I again placed in the hardy Oleander (Azalea) which has a knack for flourishing and flowering wherever it is found. Should be all be so adaptable!
Finally, faced with a couple of blocks that clearly belonged in the water, I resorted to floating them in our pool. Not really. I liberally used Photoshop in order to float them in our pool. The flowers in the pool were happily floating so I placed the fish in the water by them. No blocks were drowned in the process, although leaning over the water with my camera on hand could be thought as reckless. Anything for art!

Michael Palmer - Bozeman, Montana USA
I have done soft block printing for many years, but have never carved in wood until now. It was fun and a learning experience! I wanted someone meditating in the scene. Is the person sitting in a fantastic garden or are these fantastic thoughts floating by?
Leslie Halpern - Beloit, Wisconsin USA
William Evertson - Connecticut USA
website - - blog -

Our gardens surround a pond that is home to several Koi. I wanted to share one of these beautiful creatures for the Fantastic Garden.

Fantastic Garden Headquarters:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Waiting for me!


Unbelievably as it may seem, I took my first vacation of the year just this past week. Here I am with my Mami, relaxing a bit after a hearty platter of clams on the blissfull waters of Morro Bay, California, Pacific Ocean, World, Universe.

Seriously now...

Blocks waiting for me

Upon my return, I found these beauties awaiting me! Fifteen, count them, fifteen! beautifully carved and varied blocks added to our garden. I found out that I am not quite used to being back in the heat yet, but nevertheless persevered in photographing the entire lot this morning.
Blog updates coming at you in the next days.


Deadline is a-looming! Two more short weeks until ALL the blocks are s'posed to be here. Don't spend extra money on expedited mailing, though, but do try to get the blocks back to me in the next couple of weeks.
As of today, 54 participants have returned their blocks and I have emails from 8 more.

Finally, don't forget to send in your image information using the web form on this page, exactly as you would like it to appear on this blog and on the Growing the Garden printed book:

The Book

Growing the Garden will be a full color book with all the prints, all the panels, all the information from participants and an illustrated sequence of the process. I am shooting to have it published through Amazon in both printed and ebook formats. The printed book will retail for $29-34 depending on how many pages I end up with.

To pre-order a printed book at author's cost or $18, you can send check, money order, or PayPal anytime before the project ends. Once the book publishes, the early bird deal ends. Use email address 1000woodcuts at gmail dot com for PayPal. I will then put you down for a pre-ordered book and send it once it is published.

As usual, all participants get access to the PDF version after I put that together and everyone receives a summary "map" of the garden with names and locations of all participants, along with their prints.

That's it! Get those blocks in!

Fantastic Garden Headquarters:

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Three more garden puzzle pieces

Enjoy three more contributions!

Two hardy trees in my desert garden are the Aleppo pine and the pomegranate tree. Both have waxy coating on their leaves and thus conserve water and both require deep but little watering. The pomegranate gives us mighty fruit all winter long. So many that I place them in buckets for passersby to pick up. 

Tiny rabbit just belonged under the blooming blue sage, a Mojave native bush that seems to enjoy hot summers and graces us with violet blooms when it feels like giving us gifts.

Guadalupe Victorica - Monterrey MEXICO

I was raised in Baja California México. I always admired ALCATRACES, the ones Diego Rivera painted.  For the first time in my life when I was 28 , I saw ALCATRACES  “in person” in Monterrey, there were two giant vases of maybe 100  of these flowers.  I was in awe and still am when I see one.
Achim Nicklis - Seattle Washington USA

Maria's Comment: I loved the simple carving of this piece!
I balanced under a growing pomegranate...fruit, flower... 
Paul Davis - Corrales New Mexico USA

In my garden rabbits are a persistent plague,
so in the Fantastic Garden
I put the rabbit to sleep
under a magic mushroom.

Fantastic Garden Headquarters:

Friday, August 9, 2013

Skeleton blocks ready and waiting!

Skeleton Blocks

Why do I call them that? idea, they look like skeletons as I carve them, bony and white and waiting for the "meat" to arrive and give the image shape.

The process of carving is just keeping at it, I usually put the blocks together so the image will flow from one to the other. Then I reinforce the characters with permanent marker, oil the block and go at it. Being quite large, I have to keep at it; some areas are easy and just need clearing. For that, I have very large chisels that make quick work of the cherry plywood.

Other areas get to be quite intricate and, there are holes in my way! I have to cut around the empty spaces, leaning on nothing. Quite challenging at times but kind of fun. I purchased some Kevlar gloves to protect me from sharp edges and they work quite well. They actually just have tiny Kevlar dots on them but enough to protect my hands (knuckles, mostly) from scrapes against the sharp wood.

Here they are! Hurry! The garden awaits!!!
The "empty" Fantastic Garden!
Keep an eye on the blog to see it fill up with wonder!

Fantastic Garden Headquarters:

As they trickle in, you get to meet them!

Important Dates and Notes

Only three weeks to go to the deadline! August 31st is fast approaching.
Please send your image information as soon as you know what you are doing via this page:

Three more contributions

Ah, let's see, I placed the wildflower where a Mojave wildflower might grow after a spring of sporadic showers and a bit of luck. Sometimes the desert explodes with an incredible variety of color from the blooms of wildflowers but if you think about an excursion for too missed them! The harsh desert dries them out within days. This one apparently likes the mulch in the dry trunk and the light shade of a Tamarisk tree.

The garden hose I placed in the convoluted leaves of our very natural Mojave Yucca, which sends out shoots with wonderful blooms in spring and throughout summer. Tough little plant feeds hummingbirds and various seed eaters help spread the tasty pods.

And finally, the ladybird beetles are everywhere here too! The clever arrangement reminded me of the prickly pear cactus fruit, so I placed them on a growing leaf under a maturing tasty fruit. Careful with the spines! The Paiute Indians used yucca leaves to both grasp and brush the fruit until no spines remained. The red mature prickly pears are very sweet!

Nancy Osadchuk - Calgary Alberta CANADAI find my eyes are starting to play tricks on me and I don't like that! I chose this wildflower that has more common names than it needs. Prairie Smoke, Old Man's Whiskers, Sleepy Heads, Blood Drops, etc…otherwise Geum triflorum. I grew up in the country and just have to have some wildflowers in my garden and this is one of my favorites; one way to get country into the city! I did not proof it except with rubbing but painted it with ink to make the carving easier to see.
Rich Fowler - San Francisco Bay Area USA
The garden hose never fails to kink or wrap itself around a bush, a clay pot, itself, or my leg. Many thanks to Maria for organizing this wonderful project.

Carole Carroll - Seattle Washington USAThis trio of ladybird beetles will protect the garden from harmful aphids.

Fantastic Garden Headquarters:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Meanwhile, back at the office...

Blog Page Updates

I try to faithfully update the Participant Page to reflect the current status of things so if you wonder where we are in the project, here it is:

Also, the Accountability or Accounting page has been updated to reflect that I ORDERED THE PAPER!
Yay! Hurray! The last big expense is mailing back the prints so I think we will be close to scratch again. Excellent!

Blocks Trickling In!

Your lovely blocks are all coming in now at a furious pace and finding their partners in "the box". "The Box" is simply, er, a box where they all mingle until I am able to place them in their proper places. I am one carving day away from being able to start that process; the last skeleton block is about ready!

36 blocks are in and I have 34 colophon entries. Don't forget to fill out the Info as soon as you have an image on the works.

That's it! More photos of blocks coming soon.

Only four weeks to go to the deadline August 31st!

Fantastic Garden Headquarters:

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Who? And more tiny dwellers...

Important Dates and Notes

Only four weeks to go to the deadline! August 31st is fast approaching.
Please send your image information as soon as you know what you are doing via this page:

Two More Tiny Creatures!

These two contributions from our friends in Brazil are just marvelous additions to the Fantastic Garden. I placed the familiar fairy on the flowering Purple Sage and just under the blooms of one of our Chatalpa trees, a hybrid of the Mojave Willow that is said to take winters a bit better. The flowers are magical, much like the fairy!
The tiny elf under his mushroom had to be placed in the nestling branch of a fallen elm, away from danger and all the big things that lurk in the garden. When I walk my "real" garden I often marvel at what lies afoot under the safety of the canopy.

Fernanda Maria de Castro Solla - Santos, Sao Paulo BRAZIL

Maria do Rosario de Castro Solla - Santos, Sao Paulo BRAZIL


I just can't help myself! The friendly and ever-watchful owl simply sits on the very strange pedestal provided by the Cereus chalybaeus. This night flowering long stemmed cactus is hardy and very big! The strange growths are simply stems that never grew, whether because of freezing, stunting or just a caprice of the plant. This particular cactus started out as a two-inch potted plant in my father's apartment balcony. When he moved in with us, we brought it and planted it in our desert garden. Our memorial Cereus is now 7-foot tall and continues to spread and flourish (are those two tiny hearts in the stem in the background?).

Anyhow, here is Mike Morris and his winking owl.
Mike Morris - Spokane Washington USA
mikemorris877 at

Here, just outside Spokane and facing Mt Spokane, many members of my family have worked to create a colorful, fragrant, bird-filled garden that we love and enjoy throughout the year.  Owls are frequently heard in the neighboring pine forests.  They are special birds.  I wanted to include one that is winking at all the contributors to this international effort.