Floral Symbiosis at Casa del Herrero

By Hattie Beresford   |   August 24, 2021
Guests visit the ceramic garden, which blooms colorfully at the foot of the historic allée
Lynda Weinman, left, and Joan Rosenberg-Dent collaborated on “The Ceramics Garden” for Casa del Herrero’s exhibition entitled “Symbiotic”

When ceramic artist Joan Rosenberg-Dent was invited to create a sculptural installation for the gardens of Casa del Herrero as part of a contemporary exhibition entitled “Symbiotic,” she immediately thought, “Well, of course, — abstracted flowers.” What followed was a unique collaboration between Joan and Lynda Weinman, who utilizes 3D clay printing techniques in her art. 

At a small recent gathering to celebrate their contribution to the exhibit, Rosenberg-Dent and Weinman explained their individual processes. Joan, a graduate of the Cranbrook Academy of Art, exhibits nationally, and her work is included in many museum and gallery collections. She works mainly in natural, unglazed porcelain, whose translucency allows her abstracted forms to dominate while light and shadows add subtle depth. Lynda, after a career and business in graphic arts, has rediscovered an old love of ceramics and finds that designing on the computer and executing the pieces on a 3D printer is both challenging and rewarding. Her artwork is driven by curiosity, and she is constantly challenging herself to learn new techniques and explore new ideas.

The collaboration between the two artists has planted a colorful ceramic garden at the foot of the watercourse’s allée. It also exemplifies the theme of the exhibition, for the symbiotic relationship between the artists has created an interesting artistic tension between the organic and the structural, resulting in a heightening of affect. 

Abstracted organic blossoms in the foreground are by Joan Rosenberg-Dent
Weinman had to tweak each computer program to create variety in the shape of the flowers executed on the 3D printer
Rosenberg-Dent created “The Garden” for the entry courtyard to the exhibit

The entire exhibition features seven contemporary sculptors in the gardens of the historic Casa del Herrero, which is one of the finest examples of Spanish Revival architecture in the United States. It is a National Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places and was designed by one of the most popular proponents of the style, George Washington Smith. Contemporary and historic may seem like contrasting concepts, nevertheless, a synchronistic relationship exists between the elements of the historic gardens and the contemporary sculptures, thereby creating a rich intersection that strengthens both.

Rosenberg-Dent also created the installations for the entry courtyard of Casa del Herrero, “The House of the Blacksmith.” Wanting to reflect the work of the shop and that of the gardens, she created pieces representing both. For “The Shop,” she included tubes of her signature natural porcelain; for “The Garden,” a dead tree limb found on a hike on the property became the frame for colorful porcelain flowers.

Stylized calla lilies by Joan Rosenberg-Dent at the foot of the historic allée.

The two artists found that the collaboration was beneficial and enlightening for each, and the guests at the small reception were delighted with the results. Most of the work in the exhibit is for sale as are all the ceramic flowers in the garden, with a portion of the proceeds going to support the historic estate.

Other artists in the exhibit are Robert J. Emmons, Isaac Anguiano, Victoria Hendler, Béla Bácsi, and Pattie Porter Firestone. Casa del Herrero and its gardens have recently reopened for tours on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm. COVID-19 guidelines are in place to ensure safety. Reservations are required, the cost is $25, and only six visitors are allowed per tour. Access casadelherrero.com or call
(805) 565-5653 for reservations.


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