My Wife's Steel Balls



Garth Woodruff


My wife is an artist more than any woman could be.  And, like most artists her craft

doesn’t always consist of dabbling in the same media but rather is constantly in flux of

creating new perspectives.  New layouts to a home, new ways to present landscape

designs and whether they impact our food, home, her job or dress they may at times

come at me with some surprise.  As did her balls of steel.  Yes, globes seem to be the

fashion and rage in great gardens these days, some as large as me.  However one can

imagine what a steel sphere of designer breed can demand in a boutique shop.  So, with

the help of a DIY (do it yourself) site she found a way to create her own balls.  With less

surprise, last week I came home to these spheres in our front planter.  Subsequently, with

no surprise I came down to my office to find more balls on our partners’ desk.


 Early on in my career the owner of ‘The Pebble House’ introduced me to these notions of

transcendentalism.  Less in the philosophical or religious notions of transcendentalism

but in the practice.  She, the owner of a fine bed and breakfast in New Buffalo, hired me to

bring a fresh design to her inn and a revamp to a large, natural pond in the backyard. 

After meeting multiple times in the home I started to notice all the decorations and

treatments.  She being a lover of design and a cohort in beautiful things took the time to

explain to a budding artist what and why she treated her home.  It wasn’t just decorations

but decorations with meaning.  In every room she had decorations with stone: a tray of

polished black river stone, a series of crystal vases full of colored rock, etc.  After all, she

was the pebble house so each room needed small rocks or pebbles in its décor.  That was

where she expanded her perspectives on transcendentalism.  In each room also, as much

as possible, she incorporated outside nature, live nature and real seasonal nature into the

decorations.  Windows were used as views into outdoor rooms rather than mysteries

cloaked in heavy cloth.  I was comfortable wondering her halls but it wasn’t until she

pointed out what she had done did I realize what was going on.  It felt like I was outside…

while inside.

 With the seasons also come the opportunities for these visual home changes.  We have

small decorative gourds, sunflower seed tops and fall flowers in our gardens.  Many

patrons, including myself, are scooping these up for tabletop ornaments.  Many are taking

it a step further and cutting their Miscanthus or Pennisetum grasses to add to the

arrangements.  And I would suggest that scattering these pieces of fall nature all over our

homes helps us connect to the nature around us in a season where the days are only

getting shorter.  If it’s beautiful outside bring it in.  Even…if it’s steel balls.