Creative & Festive

In the spirit of the season, Princeton Magazine invited local artists and garden clubs to fashion holiday wreaths or centerpieces in their own style. The following one-of-a-kind pieces show just how diverse and eclectic a wreath can be.

Photography by Jeffrey Tryon

Iliana Okum, West Trenton Garden Club

Iliana Okum is a retired educator/administrator who loves roses and gardening and making floral designs with roses and flowers. She has been a member of the West Trenton Garden Club for six years, and is part of a committee that is decorating Drumthwacket for the holidays. Iliana is also a member of the West Jersey Rose Society where she is a consulting rosarian and certified horticulture judge. She invites the public to learn more about both organizations through their websites: www.westtrentongc.org and www.wjrs.org.

Jennifer Fenton, The Garden Club of Princeton 

Jennifer Fenton is a wife and working mom of three from Princeton. She has been happily indulging her passion and talent for floral arrangement and design since 2010, and is presently the floral design chair for The Garden Club of Princeton, an organization founded in 1911. For more information about The Garden Club of Princeton, please visit gcprinceton.org.

Kathleen Hurley Liao

Kathleen Hurley Liao is a mixed media abstract artist who incorporates rhythm, automatism, and expressionism in her work. She was the recipient of the West Windsor Arts Council Award for Outstanding Artist of 2015. Kathleen is an artist partner at Visual Stream Gallery Collective in Lambertville, and maintains a studio at Art Station Studios in Hightstown. To celebrate the holiday season, Art Station Studios will be open to the public Sunday, December 9 from 11am-4pm. Kathleen’s wreath is constructed of nails from the studio of a sculptor friend, and is dedicated to the art of sculpture and carpentry. More examples of her work may be viewed at www.katliao.com.

Leon Rainbow

Leon Rainbow is an artist in Trenton who creatively combines graffiti, street art, and other artistic forms into innovative projects and events. He reaches out to a wide audience, from galleries to the walls of inner cities. Leon continues to evolve his art by taking lettering into dimensional media, as well as fashion. His knowledge of graffiti art history remixed with new materials and styles alters the perception of this art form to present a positive message.

Katie Truk

Accomplished artist Katie Truk has exhibited throughout New Jersey and the surrounding region. She appeared on News 12’s On The Scene as a fresh, emerging artist, featuring her award-winning pantyhose-and-wire creations. In her role as a multimedia art teacher, Katie has won grants to lecture and teach children and adults in New Jersey schools and art centers. She has also curated, judged, and juried events for schools, clubs, and organizations in the state.

Kate Eggleston, “Shibori Wreath”

Kate Eggleston is a multidisciplinary artist, with a focus on hand-dyed textiles and soft sculpture. Her work serves as a catalog of her experiences as a mother, exploring gender roles, and balancing home life and art making. Beyond her studio practice, Kate has over 13 years of experience teaching artists of all ages. She lives in New Jersey where she exhibits her work, teaches art, and lives with her husband and daughter. Visit kateeggs.com and @kate.eggleston on Instagram.

Joy Kreves

An Illinois native, Joy Kreves has been a New Jersey resident and exhibiting artist for 32 years. Her mixed media work focuses on the textures of our natural environment and expresses gratitude for its riches. Moss and cedars have been hand-picked and preserved on this wreath. She works in a second floor studio at Hopewell Design Farm. Visit www.joykreves.com, Instagram at joykrevesart, and find her on Facebook as Joy Kreves Art Studio.

Leyla Ahun-babaeva, “Aylamada”

Leyla Ahun-babaeva is a beginning artist, still in the process of exploring and experimenting to find her own style. She says, “In one of my experiments with depth, I created this unique piece which I named Aylamada, which literally means ‘in the circle.’ It is made of foam and cut geometric forms, all combined together. It made me think about the endless motion of the circle and how light playing with shadows creates different patterns, changing the look of it from inside and out.”

Becky Urban

Becky Urban has enjoyed playing with the creations of nature for her entire life, whether the creations be flowers, fibers, or gems. After 26 years of teaching middle school in Hamilton, she began a second career as a designer for Green Haven Garden Center, also in Hamilton. Her favorite part of the winter holiday season is working with a wide assortment of greens, natural berries, dried flowers, seeds, pods, and pinecones to create wreaths, sprays, swags, and tabletop arrangements. This wreath has a grapevine wreath base with hemlock, red western cedar, Japanese holly, and Japanese cedar. Also included are preserved eucalyptus, wild thistle pods, and handmade dried palm roses.

Tasha O’Neill

Longtime Princeton resident and fine art and nature photographer Tasha O’Neill has spent summers on Mt. Desert Island, Maine since 1984. This year, Tasha devoted herself to collecting seaweed. When dried, their shapes were transformed into interesting sculptures. Some arrangements she then enhanced with flowers, berries, even the blossoms of hops. The exhibit of her interpretations and celebrations of seaweed may be seen at the Millstone River Gallery at the Merwick Care and Rehabilitation Center, Plainsboro, from March through May 2019. Her art may be enjoyed and purchased on www.tashaphotography.com.

Jeffrey Tryon

Jeffrey Tryon is a graphic designer and photographer with a background in life sciences and architecture. Jeffrey was a founding member of the West Windsor Arts Council, and is currently involved with the West Trenton Garden Club, and the Central Jersey Orchid Society. Jeffrey has acquired a large collection of houseplants, orchids, cacti, and South African succulents in recent years. The living wreath above is composed of a mini Phalaenopsis orchid, Bulbophyllum orchids, Cryptanthus, and various Tillandsia air plants.