Sometimes spirit essence expressed through human form, can send out a subtle message that carries the beat of a higher resonance. Visionary work is not always a bluntly noticed thing. Evolved consciousness tends to flow within the gentler, quieter rhythms of this planet – usually for very good reason; to support stable human growth. We focus today on the husband and wife pioneer-artisan team of Beverly and Pablo Solomon. Aside from a lifelong dedication to the arts in one form or another, their work continuously emotes the messaging of our connection to Earth.
Stone bench blended with natural stone and other Pablo Solomon sculptures.
Over many months of querying designers for natural home decor tips and suggestions, and in noting his penchant for incorporating nature into home, we sent a few special questions over to Pablo Solomon. We wanted to find out what it was like to be carving life designs out on the edge of a fence, when most others of decades past had become fascinated with polymers, plastics and other man-made creations. Blending nature into home decor can be a genuinely satisfying and creative DYI endeavor. If one has ever visited a gem or mineral show – it’s crystal clear that Earth provides an endless supply of absolutely stunning, one-of-a-kind creations. Quoting Pablo:
“Stones have spirits. If you listen they tell you what wonders they have seen, what lessons they have learned. The stone has waited countless centuries to show the world the beauty hidden within. Like a surfer riding a wave, I never fight the stone. I allow the flow of the stone to guide me. I never remove any more material than the stone wants me to.”
View of a 160 year old restored courtyard–all stone, with a salvaged Mexican wood gate.
What did it feel like to be on the pioneering – Eco friendly front decades ago when it was not in mainstream awareness back then?
Believe it or not, back in the 1970’s being Eco friendly was not just far from popular, it was met with open hostility. Unfortunately as we were coming out of the turmoil of the 1960’s some people associated being Eco friendly as being a hippie, being a communist, being anti progress, being anti business, etc. And to be fair there were and still are elements of the environmental movement that are anti capitalist. However, from square one I always felt that to get anything done required cooperation between business, private groups and government.
What was your environment of youth?
I grew up in a multicultural home in a very poor neighborhood just blocks away from what may have been the most polluted waterway in America–Houston’s Buffalo Bayou which is the upper end of the Houston Ship Channel. While Houston is 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico it is the 2nd biggest port city in America. A channel lined with chemical plants and oil refineries was dredged over the years. When I was a kid it was not unusual for the Bayou to be bank to bank with dead fish and the water was often so polluted that the surface would burn. I could contrast this with stories my father told of when his family first came to the US years earlier that they would swim in and catch fish from the Bayou. However, with some federal regulations, a lot of concerned citizens and a committed business community, Buffalo Bayou has been cleaned up in a remarkable if not miraculous way. The Bayou is used for recreation and wildlife has returned.
Also in the early 1970’s was the first ‘Earth Day’. National Geographic featured me on the 40th anniversary in an article by Mark Anderson. At the time, I was actually teaching Earth Science, working at the Houston Contemporary Dance Theater and loading trucks while struggling as an artist and designer. It is ironic that I got so much coverage in National Geographic as all I did was basically draw some posters. I think this is because so many of the real big shots eventually ruined their lives or went in various unrelated directions.
Solomon with some of his sculptures
How did you merge a marriage and business successfully? And how did your visionary ideas then manifest in your work?
My wife Beverly and I got married in 1975. Before she got her big break with Diane von Furstenberg, she was modeling and working in communications for a big petro chemical company. Not as bad as it may first sound, as the owner was one of the biggest art collectors in the world. He would rotate great art –Picasso, Cezanne, etc. from museums to his office buildings. Her office had Persian rugs.
From day one of our marriage, we had a business furnishing cafes with antique furniture and collectibles. We were not beyond collecting furniture off the side of the road and from junk stores. Even back then, we used rocks and fossils for décor. In fact in addition to Beverly having been drop dead gorgeous, one reason that we were married two months after meeting at one of my art shows was that she loved to collect rocks and arrowheads. The first time I went to her apartment and she showed me her collections, I knew I had the right lady.
We still love to collect natural objects to use in our designs. We also love to build with stone and to incorporate it into landscape designs. Luckily we live on a historic 1856 ranch in the Texas Wine/Hill Country. We are in the middle of great rock and fossil hunting. Just down our road and over some hills behind our house is the tallest water fall in Texas at Colorado Bend State Park. (the property was once owned by Willie Nelson but he deeded it to the state in a legal settlement with the IRS).
Beverly Solomon, Owner and Creative Director of Beverly Solomon Design
How did you introduce your clients then, to try new and different things other than what the common trends were of those days?
Good design always sells itself. We were and are lucky to have clients that want design that is not only great design, but design that works with Nature and not against it.
How does today’s decorating trends parallel with Eco efforts of pioneers of past decades?
Now the pendulum has swung as far to the Green end as possible. In fact, it has almost gotten silly. There are people selling and suckers buying anything that is promoted as ‘Eco friendly, sustainable, Green, etc.’.
What kinds of Eco friendly products do you notice your customers asking for now?
Rocks, minerals, fossils, salvaged architectural materials and décor, etc.
Pablo, Beverly and Beloved Feline Garden Guardian, Miro
Known for making the phrases ‘Green Freedom’ and ‘Vertical Greening’ household terms, Solomon has been featured in 29 books, dozens of major magazines and newspapers, TV, radio and film. He and Beverly live on a 1856 historic ranch in the beautiful Texas Wine Country near Austin. Their ranch was nominated for the highest award in Texas for Land Stewardship and Beverly was honored by the State of Texas for her work in Eco tourism. Thank you Pablo for sharing part of your journey with us! Visit them and view more of their work at: pablosolomon.com and beverlysolomon.com.