Crafter Deborah Phillips of Warrenton is known locally for organizing community events, including Farmer’s Christmas and Craft Day, that feature vendors from the local area and beyond.
After the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to any hopes of 2020 activities, Phillips is ready to resume the fun this spring with a small-scale Plantapalooza to be held from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, May 1, at 217 Brehon St., Warrenton. The rain date is May 2 with the same hours.
Carrying on the plant theme, the event will feature a number of organic heirloom and rare plants and seeds: tomato, pepper, eggplant, squash, cucumber, melon, alpine strawberries, medical and culinary herbs, greens, decorative garden and house plants, summer sowing seeds, cat grass and catnip toys for kitty.
In addition, Michael Ring, formerly of Warrenton’s Burger Barn and Robinson Ferry Restaurant, will feature his bonsai creations — Japanese and native deciduous and conifer bonsai.
Plantapalooza will take on an additional artistic flare with handmade crafts that will add a colorful touch to the garden, yard or home. These creations will include Phillips’ Fit of Pique mosaic garden pots and Goofus Garden Glass yard art.
Phillips, who was in the antiques business in Washington, D.C., for around 30 years, focused on porcelain, china and glass. She loved the history, colors and designs of the antiques, but inevitably wound up with some pieces that were broken or chipped.
Phillips hated to see these bowls, vases and other articles end up in the trash, so she began to use these pieces — nipping or cracking them to the perfect size for her design — to lend an artistic touch to photograph frames. She enjoyed being able to combine her love of antique and vintage articles with her creative talents, but she had to give up the activity for some time after injuring her hands.
However, Phillips moved to Warrenton from Arlington, Va., in 2005 and resumed her mosaic creations five or six years ago. She continues to use broken or chipped antique and vintage china, porcelain and glass that would otherwise be headed to the trash, once again nipping or cracking them to the size she needs for her design.
To these, she adds “do-dads” such as buttons, broken vintage jewelry and shells to add additional flair to photograph frames, mirrors and flower pots.
Phillips’ yard art includes birdbaths, feeders and “flowers” crafted from Victorian and vintage glass. Some of her creations incorporate works of Goofus Glass, which was produced mainly between 1897 and 1912, with some pieces produced as late as the 1920s. Phillips was introduced to the designs through Oakley Hall Antiques & Art in Warrenton.
Goofus Glass refers to pressed glass which is painted, but is not fired in a furnace after the paint has been applied. By today, the paint has worn off or chipped on many Goofus Glass pieces. However, Phillips said that examples with paint still intact are stunning, with bold colors and intricate designs.
She credits her family with sparking her interest in both antiques and crafting. Phillips recalled that her mother was a jazz pianist and oil painter. Her father, a physician, was also an expert cabinet maker.
“He loved antiques,” Phillips said. “We would go to auctions together. That is where it was planted for me the love of old things and the love of craftsmanship.”
Those attending Plantapalooza are asked to wear facemasks. Phillips hopes that the event will be the first of several arts and crafts events this year, but she will continue to monitor COVID-19 trends in order to determine future plans. For more information about the event, visit the Plantapalooza Facebook page.