Gardens filled with imagination are cultivated at Pathways

If you have any interest in gardening, landscaping, or the environment in general, Pathways is the place to be this Friday, March 24, when the arts organization based at the Chilmark Tavern hosts its third annual Imagined Gardens & Landscapes multi-arts evening.

Featured this time around will be talks by gardening expert Roxanne Kapitan, Native Earth Teaching Farm owner Rebecca Gilbert, and sculptor Bill O’Callaghan. As a special treat, Nina Gomez Gordon will be bringing samples of her homemade kombucha in a variety of flavors.

According to the Pathways website, “All projects imagine sustainable environments and expand notions of engaging with our natural surroundings — imagined or realized.”

Mr. O'Callaghan is known for depicting magical themes in his work. - Bill O'Callaghan
Mr. O’Callaghan is known for depicting magical themes in his work. – Bill O’Callaghan

Roxanne Kapitan, manager of Oak Leaf Landscaping, describes herself as a “professional grower of all things edible.”

“I manage growing of all the plants for Middletown [Nursery] and Oak Leaf,” she explains. “All are grown using organic methods. We use only organic seed and soil.” Ms. Kapitan also offers free gardening classes at Middletown every Saturday during the spring, summer, and fall months.

The title for Ms. Kapitan’s talk is Gardening as if Your Life Depended on It. She will start off her presentation by showing a video on creating a sustainable permaculture garden by New Zealander Morag Gamble.

Then Ms. Kapitan will present 10 sustainable practices that anyone can accomplish in their backyard. As examples she mentions composting, collecting rainwater, using seeds from the West Tisbury library seed bank, and more. One of her favorite suggestions is giving trees to friends as birthday gifts.

Ms. Kapitan met Pathways founder Marianne Goldberg shortly before she died in 2015, and discovered that the two had a similar interest in protecting the environment. Ms. Goldberg launched a number of environmentally themed events at Pathways, and the organization has continued with that tradition of education around sustainability.

Farmer Rebecca Gilbert has made it her life’s mission to teach people ways to mine the Island’s agrarian roots and learn more about sustainable and traditional farming practices. She has been hosting a weekly spinning and knitting group at Pathways since last fall. The group members not only share their fiber knowledge and passion, they also use the meetings to show their support for the Standing Rock protesters and discuss what’s happening there.

Ms. Gilbert will start off her presentation with a talk about natural dyes and the dye gardens at Native Earth. She will be handing out indigo seeds. For the second part of her talk, she will field questions from audience members. Ms. Gilbert has a wealth of information on farming and gardening, and is open to taking the conversation in any direction attendees are interested in, from goatscaping to composting to running a teaching farm. She will also provide information on two natural dye workshops she will be leading at Pathways starting on Saturday, March 25.

Rounding out the evening will be a presentation by potter and sculptor Bill O’Callaghan and his wife Robin Tuck, who will lead a virtual tour of their Story Sculpture Walk. For the past five years, the couple have offered a unique storytime adventure at Polly Hill Arboretum. Ms. Tuck guides families through an installation of Mr. O’Callaghan’s whimsical sculptures while incorporating the artwork into an original story.

Mr. O’Callaghan often draws on his Irish heritage in depicting fairies, castles, and other magical themes in his work. Ms. Tuck explains that she created the walking story series in response to her daughter’s visual cortical impairment. “Because of her particular condition, she has to move around a lot so that she can see,” says Ms. Tuck. Frustrated by the fact that many family-oriented activities required audiences to be stationary, which was problematic for her daughter, Ms. Tuck created this unique mobile story hour, which has proved very popular with people of all ages.

For the Pathways event, Ms. Tuck will tell a story called “The Message of the Butterflies” while showing a video of the sculpture walk.

Pathways’ annual Imagined Gardens and Landscapes, Friday, March 24, 7 to 9 pm at the Chilmark Tavern. Doors open at 6:30. Free, refreshments served.

Basic Introduction to Natural Dyes with Rebecca Gilbert, Saturday, March 25, from 12 to 4 pm at Pathways. Indigo Blues Workshop with Rebecca Gilbert, Saturday, April 8, from 12 to 4 pm at Pathways. Both workshops are specially priced for Islanders at $75 — half of the full-price summer dye workshops at Native Earth Teaching Farm.