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Crafting an Art for Garden Decor

March 8, 2010

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Turlock, CA | Jeff and Michele Jaggers refer to themselves as “upcyclers,” and for good reason. For many years, they attended Country Folk Art Craft Shows to admire the work of talented artists, and to bring home a few crafts. When the Jaggers bought a bench from a vendor who assembled purchases on the spot, an unplanned commerce to up cycle antiques and collectables into garden décor soon emerged.

“By the time we got home,” Michele said, “all the pieces were lying in the back of our pickup. Jeff said, ‘“You know, I think I can do better than that.”’

Michele had already been collecting salvage items to which she added a little whimsy with paint and flowers, and then sold them at the floor-covering business she and Jeff own. When Jeff took an interest in re-crafting antiques and collectables into charming, well-built garden décor, Michele began filling the garage and side yard with treasures.

Late at night, while most people are sleeping, Jeff’s creative gene awakens him with ideas to convert Michele’s finds into flowerpots, benches, window boxes, vintage carts, wagons, birdfeeders, and much more. “Sometimes Jeff’s ideas turn into something different than what he started out doing,” Michele says. “It’s like planning a garden. You lay out the plants and you think, Yuk. Then you do something totally different.”

Jeff and Michele’s Goldendoodle, rightly named Mr. Doodles, checks on Jeff while he works in the garage.

 

No item is complete without Michele’s special touch. Oftentimes she shocks Jeff with “out-of-the-box” colors, such as pink with black polka-dots. However, Michele knows what people want. Her arty style makes them an easy sell as they are first to go. Regardless of how Jeff and Michele’s creativity flows (by trail and error, day or night), each finished product is one-of-a-kind.

Most homeowners, whether he or she is a gardener, has at least one outdoor spot where nothing grows due to poor lighting, heavy pet traffic, or water problems. Structures, such as Jeff and Michele’s vintage garden décor, bring life to dead spaces. More importantly, they are functional. Seasonal annuals and vegetables easily thrive in the Jaggers’ potting benches, wheelbarrows made from old fruit boxes, or galvanized tubs. “A lot of people like the fact that these have wheels and can be moved all around the garden,” Michele says.

Using an antique bike wheel makes this wheelbarrow moveable for carting items. Michele painted it red to add color to dull spaces or to showcase flowers planted in the tub. 

 

It’s no surprise that these “upcyclers” soon attracted a large following for their colorful, yet useful antiques and collectable garden décor. When it was time to expand, Jeff and Michele decided to take their work where inspiration first began, at the Country Folk Art Craft Shows. Although, the Jaggers book engagements at other shows, selling where they were first attracted to incredible crafters and antiques is like going home.

For show dates and ideas for displaying the Jaggers’ antique garden décor in your yard, contact Michele by email at mrdoodles@ifn.net or by phone at 209-668-8861.

 

Above:  Michele and Jeff with one of their potting benches inspired by an antique bathroom window on top and an antique freezer basket on the bottom shelve.  Below left:  Old enamelware is converted into a planter.  Right:  Jeff and Michele turned an antique radio flyer wagon into an attractive planter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2010 © Dianne Marie Andre

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One comment

  1. What a fun post. I am a bit of a yard decoration collector too. I enjoyed seeing your upcycling. My husband has a lot of old rusty ranch items that are begging to become yard sculpture. Your post has recharged me.

    Like



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