A Man Named Pearl. Garden Art Workshop!

Charleston South Carolina African American Gardens

Pearl Fryar topiary in the Philip Simmons Garden. Photo ©Steve Lepre

WORKSHOP! August 15, 2012. Charleston.

Pearl Fryer, from Bishopville, South Carolina, is one of the rare ones. He creates magical shapes as topiary and continues a tradition of African American yard art in his spiritual and symbolic garden. His story is told in the delightful movie, A Man Named Pearl.

And this is your chance to meet this gentle and magical man. He will be teaching a workshop on August 15th through the Philip Simmons Foundation. Register HERE for a $25. discount of the $75. workshop fee.

August 18th, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
The Philip Simmons Foundation, Inc., will sponsor a Workshop with Mr. Pearl Fryar, the self-taught topiary artist from Bishopville, SC. The workshop will be held in the Topiary Heart Garden of the Simmons Garden at St. John’s Reformed Episcopal Church, 91 Anson Street in Charleston. Entrance to the garden from Menotti Street is through a double heart wrought iron gate designed by Philip Simmons and crafted at his shop by Carlton Simmons and Joseph Pringle: his nephew and cousin.

The workshop will consist of a demonstration by Fryar cutting a design in a plant in the Simmons Garden; Question and Answer Session, and one-on-one consultations with participants who bring a plant.
Reservations: $75

Pearl Fryar wanted to win the “yard of the month” in his neighborhood. He visited a local nursery and was shown various topiary designs in animals and other objects. He was inspired, taught himself the art, won the contest and the rest, as they say, is history.

Born in Clinton, NC, Fryar moved to Bishopville, SC forty years ago. While employed full time, he mastered his craft by working after hours and weekends to create the landscape he envisioned. Through his work, he has achieved wide recognition as a master topiary artist in this country and abroad. His three-acre garden, on the grounds of his home, is the major attraction of Bishopville. He has been featured on television: Making it Grow. Victory Garden, Martha Stewart, B. Smith and SCETV. Photographs of his unique topiary garden have appeared in most garden magazines in the country, including Southern Living, Veranda, and Garden Sign. Most recent, Pearl is featured in a John Deere commercial and in “A Man Named Pearl,” a full length film about him that is playing in movie theaters around the world and ocassionally on Oprah’s OWN’s Super Soul Sundays.

Pearl Fryar was commissioned by Spoleto Festival USA to design the plantings and walkways for a permanent installation at the Philip Simmons Garden in Charleston. This site was included in the Human/Nature Exhibition during the 1997 Festival. The South Carolina State Museum in Columbia also commissioned him in 1998 to design and maintain the topiary pieces at the entrance to the museum.

Pearl Fryar lectures around the country about his art to prestigious groups and continues to find the time to mentor to the youth in his community. He is married and lives with his wife and son in Bishopville, SC.

I was called to be an artist. And as an old old midwife said to me "If the Lord wants you to do something, you won't have no good luck' til you do." So, here I am, sharing what I love, longing to illuminate the work of art, which is everywhere.

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Posted in architecture, art, Arts & Culture, beauty, Charleston South Carolina, creativity, Gullah, Poetry, travel
5 comments on “A Man Named Pearl. Garden Art Workshop!
  1. michael hutson says:



    • Michael, thanks! If you haven’t seen the movie, it is a must! Cheers, Cousin Charlotte :)

      • Thank you for posting the workshop on your blog. Pearl is magical. And just think — all he wanted to do was win the yard of the month in his neighborhood! You can’t beat this inspiration.
        Yes, I have seen the movie. In fact, I took Mr. Simmons. He admired and respected Pearl for his talent and his humanity.
        We can’t thank the Spoleto Festival for bringing Pearl Fryar and Philip Simmons together to produce the Philip SimmonsHeart Garden at St. John’s Reformed Episcopal Church — Mr. Simmons’ church.

      • How wonderful! I wish I could be there for the workshop! And I can’t wait to see the garden. Thank you so much, Rossie!

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What’s this?

Welcome to my blog about the Lowcountry of South Carolina, a place proud with beauty, history and art. Sometimes we feel a call, to be, to go, to do. I was called to be an artist, and as an old midwife from Alabama said, “If the good Lord wants you to do something, you won’t have no good luck until you do it.”

So here I am writing about what I know, about the 'under glimmer' as the poet Basho, says, the way I have learned to see, to notice. I am inspired by, and talking about the history and art and culture of this place that has called me to herself. By the ancestors.

My background includes a degree in fine arts from a small private college in Florida, and before that, four years of all girls' boarding school in Asheville. I worked as a professional photographer, helped my children grow up, and now and I love seasoned things, good food, better conversation, beauty, my beloved and beautiful Italian Greyhound, Beau. Moved by the sacred places and stories of this beautiful historic land called the Lowcountry, I am here in spirit and I hope to infect you with my love of this place.

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