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Transcendental Tessellations

Sugar Creek Gardens artist donates a stunning wreath for the Missouri Botanical Garden auction.

The Missouri Botanical Garden has invited Sugar Creek Gardens to once again participate as one of nine florists and garden shops to create and donate a wreath for the Missouri Botanical Garden Annual Holiday Wreath Display and Auction. This year, Sugar Creek Garden owners Ann and Abby Lapides decided to tap the shoulder of Michael Parrett, artist, retail stylist, and plant ambassador at Sugar Creek Gardens, to design the wreath. For as long as he can remember, Michael has been a creator. He received his BFA from Webster University and his MSF from SIU Edwardsville. Michael is an adjunct art professor at Maryville University, and in addition to working at Sugar Creek Gardens, he runs a multimedia art and fine craft studio, GurkenHAUS. Michael attributes his love of materials, fondness of the natural world and passion for working with his hands to his family's traits passed down from many generations. 

Kirkwood City Lifestyle asked Michael, "What was your inspiration for the wreath?" 

Michael Parrett: This year, the Missouri Botanical Garden's theme for the wreaths was nature and sustainability. I started thinking about how hexagons organically form in nature and tile nicely to form a circle. Creating a hexagon-based wreath seemed not only artistic but also natural. A tessellation is created when a shape is repeated over and over again covering a plane without any gaps or overlaps. Another word for a tessellation is a tiling.

We naturally associate the honeycomb hexagon shape with bees' cooperation and teamwork. Community, creation, peace, and balance are just a few of the feelings this geometric wonder evokes, symbolizing peace and unity.

Snowflakes, soap bubbles, turtle shells, six-petaled flowers, and dragonfly eyes are examples of coalesced hexagons represented in this wreath. Except for the dragonfly eyes, which I sourced from a taxidermist, everything on this wreath is made from recycled wood, metals, glass, acrylic, salvaged materials, and found objects. 

The James Webb telescope inspired the inner space of the wreath. 18 gold mirror tiles signify looking back at our history and toward our future. I laser etched a different image representing early religions and cultures on each tile.

Hexagons are everywhere - from nature's structures to human-made designs, reflecting our world's widespread use and appreciation of geometric principles. The inherent efficiency, symmetry, and aesthetic appeal of hexagons make them a fascinating subject of study and application in science, art, technology, and religion. 

A great video on YouTube called "Hexagons are the Bestagons" that explains why hexagons are the best shape. The hexagon's hidden significance reaches back to our species' very beginnings. 

The Missouri Botanical Garden's Annual Holiday Wreath Display and Auction will be on display in the Jack C. Taylor Visitor Center and online at the Missouri Botanical Garden through January 6, 2024. As of this writing, Michael's Transcendental Tessellations wreath has the highest bid. 

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