The most compelling pieces of rustic furniture showcase a craftsman’s imaginative use of organic forms found in nature. The raw materials for these creations are typically the durable parts of woody plants: twigs, branches, trunks, branch collars, bark, cones, seeds, bracts, roots, burls and vines.
A skilled rustic artisan is able to integrate the intriguing shapes, colors, sizes and textures of these plant parts into a harmonious design.
The creator of this alluring rustic planter excelled at doing just that.
Made in France in the early 1900s, this planter (21” wide, 17” deep, 38” high) succeeds at being simultaneously utilitarian and decorative.
The open case is roomy enough to hold a robust display of plants. The bottom of the case has a fitted metal tray to protect the wood from water. The interior sides are lined with green painted canvas, which also creates a moisture barrier between the wooden case and the plants.
While the interior of the planter is designed for practicality, its exterior is all about decorative impact.
The elaborately ornamented plant case has a scalloped upper edge formed by 14 gracefully rounded segments that extend upward from the rim. Those segments are separated by scooped curves, so in total the edge design creates a pleasing interplay of positive and negative space.
That dynamic is accented by contrasting bark cladding—the background of the tall scalloped edges is dark bark, while the areas beneath the low scoops are covered in lighter color bark.
The wave-like motion of the undulating edge is further enhanced by sinuous outlining of each dark and light panel with pliable twigs or vines. Slightly thinner supple twigs bent into semi-circles also create delicate scalloped edging along the bottom of the case.
Each panel of the case also has raised flowers created with pine cone bracts, and the darker panels also have flatter, lacy flowers made from bark cut-outs.
The design motifs on the case are echoed on the base of the planter, which also has contrasting light and dark bark panels with twig outlining, pine cone bract floral decoration, and a graceful, curving perimeter.
The sturdy central pedestal of the planter is formed from the trunk of a small, vine-encircled tree turned upside down, so that the spreading roots are at the top where they form supports for the case. Side branches are applied further down on the trunk, and the bottom of the pole is encircled with root burls, completing the illusion that this is an upright, branching tree.