■ BY CATHERINE BALLMAN
Kristin Faurest, Ph.D., of the Portland, Oregon Japanese garden, will be presenting her ideas about the Japanese garden to members of the Boca Grande Garden Club on March 6 at 2 p.m. at the Boca Grande Community Center. Her talk is entitled, “Found in Translation: Seeking Nature in a Japanese Garden.”
Dr. Faurest runs the Japanese Garden Training Center. The Center, the only such program in the world outside of Japan, is a recipient of a 2018 Program of Excellence Award from the American Public Gardens Association.
Dr. Faurest’s teaching and research interests focus of the interconnection between landscape and culture. She writes, “… we teach the techniques of the Japanese garden to landscape practitioners from outside Japan. Our method blends learning approaches both Eastern and Western, and we enrich lessons in traditional practices with cultural context and contemporary relevance. It can make us see our own cultural forms anew, because some ideas that might seem deeply, entirely Japanese have resonant counterparts in Western culture.”
The aesthetic of the Japanese garden is designed to ask the viewer to consider the meaning of time and existence. Nothing is used that would not be found in the natural landscape. But the structure is planned very deliberately and created very mindfully, even what’s not there. Referring to “Ma,” or the empty parts of the Japanese garden, she illustrates the concept with a remark by Miles Davis: “I always listen to what I can leave out.”
A major interest is in “… perceiving signs of climate change,” she writes. in 2017, the garden undertook a major expansion; a core element was uniting design with the natural world. Again, she notes the practical attention paid to the details of the design, such as, “… large sliding window walls allow access to light and fresh air, living rooftops made of porous thin ceramic tiles decrease runoff and contribute to the buildings’ climate control, and geothermal-powered hydronic radiant heating minimizes the need for energy to heat and cool the buildings.”
Dr. Faurest completed her landscape architecture studies at Corvinus University in Budapest. She later worked and studied at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England, where she studied at the School of Horticulture and helped maintain the garden’s Japanese landscape. While managing her own design firm for 13 years – designing educational gardens, private urban gardens and corporate landscapes – she taught candidates for master’s of landscape architecture at the University of Applied Sciences in Nurtingen-Geislingen, Germany. She has been with the Portland garden since 2016. Dr. Faurest has published widely and has several books to her credit.
An avid biker and determined non-car owner, Dr. Faurest was a Louisville-based journalist prior to joining the Peace Corps, which is how she got to Budapest. To read more about her garden musings, check out the garden’s website, japanesegarden.org.
Tickets are available at the door for nonmembers for $35.