My day with Bobbe ~ She had me at hello.

A sample of Bobbe Pearson's miniature natural dolls that she has made over the years. Much of her work was given away freely and was not documented.

A sample of Bobbe Pearson's miniature natural dolls that she has made over the years. Much of her work was given away freely and was not documented.

A Garden For All: A day with Bobbe

By Janit Calvo
August 11, 2009

She was all decked out in dress made of sea kelp and a hat made of fungus. Tiny embellishments of seedpods with little bits of clamshells and glitter worked into the bow.

A mischievous face carved out of an avocado pit that peeked out from under it. All on a wee handmade doll not four inches tall. Her niece’s red hair was used for that one.

A dead hummingbird in a tiny leaf basket on the windowsill – kept for the bones.

I love it.

This is perfectly normal in the Pearson household. And I love the eye candy, the inspiration and the stories that go along with it.

I don’t like things I can figure out right away. I think that’s why I love gardening so much, because you can never know enough about enough. Gardening is a constant learning curve full of twists and bumps and dips – and if anyone tells you otherwise, they are full of organic compost.

So, to take nature and make art from it ~ my two loves blended it into one ~ is heaven to me and Bobbe Pearson had been doing it all her life (I have been doing for half that time – but still all my life!).

Bobbe (pronounced “Bobbie”) is the granddaughter of Samuel Welch, who homesteaded near Welches Creek in the Mount Hood corridor in Oregon in 1882. Bobbe grew up surrounded by forests, hugged by the mountains and has been a mountain woman all her life.

Bobbe and her husband, Bob, had a naturals business back in 1981, in which they collected all sorts of seedpods and natural materials from the mountains, forest, deserts and seashores of the great northwest.

They created a thriving catalog mail order company and would exchange bizarre looking seedpods with fellow nature lovers as far away as China and Indonesia. The stories they tell of their adventures of climbing all over the northwest with their three daughters in tow are just wonderful.

Eventually the USDA’s rules and regulations were too much for them to work under, and they closed the business in the mid 1990s.

But their love for nature has never ceased. Bobbe has continued to make her miniature creations and Bob is now an official rock hound, going on excursions with his rock-loving daughters and dragging home buckets of agates, and the like, to cut and polish.

Bobbe loves to create with nature. And I love creating and nature. Stay tuned, because we need to find out what she’s going to do with the hummingbird bones.


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