The Prettiest Plants and Pots You’ve Ever Seen
A year and a half ago, we brought news of an exhibition at Chariots on Fire, a tiny shop in LA, that blew our minds. Called A Tale of Plant & Pot, it was a collaboration between a Japanese plant whisperer we had never heard of, named Kohei Oda, and a longtime Sight Unseen favorite, the ceramicist Adam Silverman. Together they had made a series of potted cacti that were amazing in their complete and total eccentricity. The partnership didn’t stop there — it continued throughout a second series of exhibitions in Kyoto, and it comes to its conclusion in a beautiful photographed, recently released book from August Editions called Grafted. It’s a beautiful book, treating the plants like they pieces of art that they are, with full-page close-ups that allow you to revel in the details of the prickly thorns and knotty glazes (or make hilarious associations like I did with my 4-year-old, like “That one looks like it’s giving you a high five.”) There’s also a nice intro by Museum of Arts & Design curator Glenn Adamson that explains the project a bit further:
“Oda is Japan’s leading (and perhaps only) plant sculptor—a term I use in preference to other possible options, because he is a practitioner of neither traditional ikebana oral arrangement nor any other readily identifiable genre. He lives in Hiroshima, speaks no English, and, despite his country’s ongoing love affair with ceramics, has no existing relationship with the medium. His concern is primarily with the personality of plants that he coaxes into unexpected and expressive shapes, typically by grafting two or more succulents into a single, hybrid organism. Many of his specimens are recovered from the waste bins outside large commercial nurseries, which have discarded them as too irregular. Silverman, a Los Angeles–based potter, was initially skeptical of the idea of working with this stranger and his weird creations. ‘My instinct is to say yes to anything [Chariots on Fire owner] Tamotsu suggests,’ he recalled recently, ‘though a voice inside me was saying: my being a potted plant guy is not necessarily going to get me to the next level as an artist.'”
He was wrong, of course, as the photos in this story suggest. Read on for a serious dose of plant porn, and click here to buy a copy of your own.