Crisp smells of apples, evergreens and lavender perfume the autumn air surrounding a West Linn garage. Inside, Margie Watt fiddles and perfects wreaths using organic plants and fruit.
Since the summer, Watt wrapped her hands around 50 or so wreaths. After a small sale in her front yard, she realized the popularity of her circular creations and the interest from her neighbors. From a simple display she ended up decorating her street.
'I wasn't marketing to my neighbors. It was just so funny how many of them (came and) bought a wreath,' says Watt. 'I sold 11 that day.'
Now that autumn has arrived in West Linn, Watt switched her color scheme from bright summer flowers and fragrances to more rustic earth tones - and everything in between.
'I find more seasons than four; there's late summer, fall-Christmas,' Watt says. 'I like changing (wreaths) so often that I find reason to have more seasons than four.'
After relocating from Arizona to Oregon just over a year ago, Watt says the new landscape motivated her - green trees, pine cones, colored leaves.
'I get inspired by colors and texture,' says Watt. 'I like organic rustic, sort of shabby chic (wreaths).'
Watt's previous art studies and experience with department store merchandising taught her how to bring a variety of mixed materials together. Her 12-inch and 18-inch wreaths unite unique elements into a cohesive display.
'The circle (shape) always traditionally draws your eye to it. It's such a great accent for so many things - for a window, for a door,' she said. 'Sometimes when I'm driving around I notice how many houses would look (just great) with a wreath.'
When doing custom designs, Watt takes note of the front door paint color of her clients and creates a wreath that will accent it. And since most of the products used are preserved, the wreath should last through a few seasons.
'Fall is harvesting anything from the summer that's been growing, and the changes that happen in fall are so beautiful,' Watt says, 'like the turning of leaves - anything that dried and has a whole new look and smell to it.'
Freshly preserved apples and pears are complemented with dried leaves relevant to the season. She sometimes sprays wreaths with glitter to add a little sparkle.
Watt says that soon she hopes to start a business selling her wreaths, but in the meantime is having fun displaying them at local festivals and meeting new members of the community through word of mouth.
Her wreaths will be available at the 6th annual Art in the 'Burbs taking place Nov. 2 - 4 at Calvin Presbyterian Church in Tigard. The festival supports local artists and donates profits to charities, such as Habitat for Humanity, Oregon Food Bank, Emanuel Hospital and a firehouse in New York City affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Since moving to the area, Watt says she has enjoyed involvement opportunities locally. She says she purchases all her products from Portland-Metro wholesalers.
'The fun part I've learned about Oregon is that people appreciate local here. (My family) loves it here for that reason,' Watt said. 'There will always be a wreath on my front door - and probably a couple more inside.'