What was once a small garage, host to the plant truck Tulita, is now home to the plant shop and exhibition site, Tula Plants & Design, located at 59 Meserole Ave.
Tula is known for its unique selection of plants. The owners have carefully curated their collection after spending years developing relationships with unique growers. If you visit the Tula website, you can see the great care and instruction that goes into the wellbeing of each plant.
The trust that the Tula owners have established with their plantsman has made it possible for the neighborhood to have access to beautiful, distinct, and well-loved plants.
In addition, Tula has been exploring the relationship between plants and their vessels. DFLAT, which stands for “Design For All Living Things” is a series of exhibits which explores a Tula-centric ideology: “A belief we hold close at Tula – that design can allure as well as educate when a symbiotic relationship is built between nature and the objects we make.”
Their most recent endeavor, STILL, LIFE, is in collaboration with ceramic artist Erin Clancy. The exhibit is running from August 11th to September 12th.
STILL, LIFE highlights the beauty of life and the human made objects which are responsible for providing a home to that life.
Erin Clancy has a special method for creating her beautiful works. Oftentimes she will put her pottery through the kiln multiple times and then begin etching various designs. With reclaimed stoneware, Clancy recycles the clay back into a mix of stoneware before layering it with a pigmented porcelain slip to prime, and then uses a sgraffito technique to create a design. Clancy then glazes the pottery and fires it in the kiln multiple times at 2232 degrees.
While she does not usually work with plants, Clancy does typically create home-related objects such as jars, coasters, and all sorts of tableware. Clancy was initially introduced to the creatives at Tula through mutual friends from the bar and restaurant, Rule of Thirds, where Clancy makes dishware.
Clancy credits her inspiration for these receptacles to both the Tula space itself and to the widespread optimism experienced this past spring. While she acknowledges that our understanding of the pandemic has since changed, and that the spread of the virus is still rampant, there was a moment in the spring when things seemed to be looking up. The sign of life, the sign of hope, and of motion; the city opening back up again stimulated this inspiration.
At the exhibit, Tula offers a booklet which features writings that uplift the DFLAT narrative. Clancy’s artist statement in particular goes as follows:
“Joyful embraces and re-remembered social graces. The movement of time through seasons while we pause to recollect our connection. Vignettes of unpracticed gestures blossom around us, filling our senses with summer’s fruits.”Erin Clancy
In conversation about finding balance in this time, Clancy told me, “We need deadlines. We need collaboration. We need each other.”
Though the name “STILL, LIFE,” conceived by Clancy’s husband, Solomon Olmstead, was likely intended to represent the reverence of life which exists quietly, in context, it also feels appropriate to acknowledge that STILL, LIFE could also represent that we are “still living”, in some capacity, despite it all.
The plants on display are available for purchase, but those involved in the STILL, LIFE exhibit will not be available for pick up until the exhibit is over. To see more of the fabulous plants featured at Tula, visit the Instagram page, @tulahouse.