Most artists will tell you that, once inspired, it’s almost impossible not to create. The Saints Preserved™ series began with Fiacre,
patron saint of gardeners. As with so many of us, my garden is my refuge. Not only is it a place of peace and beauty, it also allows me to take out frustrations…nothing like digging, yanking out weeds and hauling manure for stress relief! And, unlike housework – wash the dishes and all you get is clean dishes for someone to get dirty again – garden work rewards you with beauty and bounty that only gets bigger and better every year….
We often put dried herbs and flowers in with the packing of the pieces. (A good use, I think, since I’m not in the pot pourri or herbal business…even if I wanted to be…I’m not that great of a gardener!)
When I first tried my hand at Fiacre, I was working as executive editor for a regional women’s magazine and had just about reached a breaking point with the publisher, whom I had come to realize was not only unscrupulous, but also unkind. (It was the mid-90s and print media was beginning its big decline.) It was difficult to just up and leave as I had invested much of my heart and soul (and money!) into it. So my stomach was constantly in knots, the staff was calling me late at night in tears…you get the picture…..It was not a pretty one and I needed to get out of it.
When I can’t be in the garden, I read for my “great escape.” And my taste in literature is eclectic, to say the least. I happened to pick up an old volume of Butler’s (hadn’t seen it since I was a child) and was immediately drawn to the stories. The ideas started coming…I’d never heard of Fiacre, but I knew I wanted him in my garden….I learned about Expeditus and knew he belonged there, and in my studio, as well…I read about Gertrude and thought, Wow! I know plenty of people who would like to have an image of the patron saint of cats somewhere around their homes…and then there was Ivo, a lawyer who seldom charged fees and once even gave his bed to a beggar while he himself slept on the steps… ….Brendan, who embarked on a major ocean adventure in a small boat at the age of 80….
…so, as most artists will understand, finally I reached the state where I had to do something about it…. So…
<Ben, my first employee, on guard in the garden