Take thou these songs that owe their birth to thee,
and deign around thy temples to let creep
this ivy-chaplet ‘twixt the conquering bays.
Virgil, Bucolic: VIII 11-13: (Translated by J. B. Greenough. Boston. Ginn & Co. 1895.)
Trees of various kinds and their leaves or flowers play important and sacred roles as symbols in various cultures. Many of us are familiar with the laurel leaf of the bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) whose limbs and foliage were and still are entwined to form crown-like wreaths. Laureate means “crowned with laurel”. Worn on the head as symbols of victory, glory and notable achievement, this adornment comes to us from antiquity.
The ancient Greek god Apollo’s tree was the laurel and in his honour victors of Olympic, military, poetic and literary competitions were awarded laurel wreaths. Adopted by the Romans, their victorious generals and emperors were crowned with laurels.
The laurel motif in its myriad forms continues to endure across time and space and is a fitting symbol for Garland’s monthly observance of a work or works deemed of great value and distinction.
Every month, we share an object made recently that we think is especially wonderful.
Story Curator – Vicki Mason
David Ray ✿ Four Treasons - Our June laurel is awarded to David Ray for his Four Treasons series of figurines that update the bucolic Staffordshire genre. Lara Salous ✿ Palestine at home - Our May Laurel goes to Lara Salous, a furniture maker in Ramallah whose woollen screen brings Palestinian culture back home. Lucia Nieves ✿ You have blooms - Our December laurel goes to Lucia Nieves in Puerto Rico, for watercolours that she applies to mobile phone cases. It's refreshing to find local colour on this everywhere and nowhere device. Pippa Dyrlaga ✿ Precious pangolin - Our September laurel is awarded to Pippa Dyrlaga for a wonderfully intricate papercut that reflects the fragile condition of the pangolin species. Bren Luke ✿ Life at a distance - Our August laurel is awarded to Bren Luke for his poignant animated illustration of a streetscape in Japan, which invokes the concept of ma, negative space, to reflect the era of social distancing. The Last Kai ✿ A Moana renaissance - Our June laurel goes to an epic tapa recreation of da Vinci's Last Supper painting. Tui Emma Gillies shares the journey of its creation. Julie Paterson ✿ Equanimity trees - Our November laurel is bestowed on a fabric printer in the Blue Mountains who produced painted objects where thoughts could dwell during the pandemic. Ozioma Onuzulike ✿ Woven in clay - Our October laurel goes to Nigerian ceramicist Ozioma Onuzulike for an epic Nigerian prestige gown woven out of hundreds of small clay beads. Mel Douglas ✿ Latitude - Our September Laurel is awarded to Mel Douglas for a majestic duo of glass vessels that seamlessly capture the motion of making. Punk Rocks ✿ The Hope Pebble - Our August laurel goes to Objects of Mass Distraction, a Singapore collective whose series Punk Rocks features precious jewellery made from found materials Jane McKenzie ✿ Play of light - Our April laurel goes to Jane McKenzie, a ceramic artist whose work reduces modernist architecture to human scale. Madhvi Subrahmanian ✿ Pandemic Pills - Our March laurel goes to Madhvi Subrahmanian for ceramic objects that offer ritual release for the mental restlessness accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic. Azadeh Yasaman ✿ A disorderly beauty - Our February laurel goes to Iranian weaver and fashion designer, Azadeh Yasaman, who seeks to give new life to the ancient beauty of her culture. Sophie Carnell ✿ Gnat orchid - Our December laurel goes to a jeweller based in Bruny Island, Tasmania, for a silver sculpture inspired by the gnat orchid, whose elegant form clings to the land. James Tylor ✿ Kaurna tool kit - Our November Laurel goes to James Tylor for his re-creation of the Kaurna tool kit, reflecting the revival of cultural skills across the wider world. Asif Shaikh and Aziz Murtazaev ✿ A dialogue of print and stitch - Our October laurel goes to Our October laurel goes to an eloquent collaboration between Indian embroiderer Asif Shaik and Uzbek ikat maker Aziz Murtazaev.an eloquent collaboration between Indian embroider Asif Shaik and Uzbek ikat maker Aziz Murtazaev. Roseanne Bartley ✿ be in touch - Our August Laurel is awarded to artist-jeweller Roseanne Bartley for a process of making signal rings that embody common thoughts around our current condition. Shohre Fakhrejanali ✿ Chadorshab waist wrap - Our June laurel goes to Shohre Fakhrejanali, a weaver from the village of Qasem Abad in the Guilan province of Iran, on the Caspian coast. Khosro Mahinroosto tells her story. Paola Moreno ✿ Healing plus - Our May laurel goes to Chilean textile artist Paola Moreno for a beautifully woven yet simple message of positivity for our time. Fishing for future love in Laos - In keeping with the "craft of love" theme, our March laurel goes to a Lao fisherman, discovered by Samorn Sanixay, who crocheted a net for a future wife. Bridget Kennedy ✿ A fragile beauty between the ashes - Our February Laurel goes to Sydney jeweller Bridget Kennedy, for a ring that reflects the tragedy that engulfs Australia in 2019-2020. The ring evokes the geometrical beauty of the beehive, while acknowledging the devastation wrought on the climate by use of fossil fuels. Helen Ganalmirriwuy ✿ The magnificent gunga mat - Our November laurel is bestowed on Helen Ganalmirriwuy, who has produced a magnificent mat from gunga (pandanus). She shares the excitement of seeing this work grow over the month of weaving. Zoë Veness ✿ Wayfaring - As our September Laurel, Zoë Veness applies the most delicate of muslin textile to hard metal and produces a texture of trails that weaves a landscape in brass. Kukuli Velarde ✿ A mi vida - Our August laurel goes to Peruvian-born ceramic artist Kukuli Velarde for her poignant effigy, A mi vida. This object reflects the culture of her birth, her maternal love and concern for child victims of anti-immigrant campaigns. Saeed Arzegan ✿ Love whisper - Our May laurel goes to an Iranian artist who reflects his culture's mastery of wood inlay and crafts a story about standing up for the victimised. Shlomit Bauman & Abed ElJaabari ✿ The earth we share - Our February laurel goes to Israeli artist Shlomit Bauman for her collaboration with Palestinian potter, Abed ElJaabari. Their combination of traditional pots and cast modern goods is a compelling use of clay as a common language. Wanda Gillespie ✿ Abacus - Our January laurel goes to Wanda Gillespie's gorgeous abacus. She takes mathematics on a detour. Andile Dyalvane ✿ uTyityilizi - Our December laurel goes to the South African ceramicist Andile Dyalvane for his powerful vessel titled, uTyityilizi.