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Home About David Slawson Garden Gallery Design Philosophy Publications Project Gallery Evoking Natural Patterns 

Dr. David Slawson is one of America's most highly regarded landscape artists trained in the Japanese garden tradition. During his 40 years of design, writing, and teaching, he has defined the leading edge of how the universal principles of this art form can be creatively interpreted to evoke the beauty of native landscape in North America and throughout the world. He apprenticed in Kyoto in 1971-72 under Kinsaku Nakane, one of Japanís foremost 20th century garden makers. After several years in practice he returned to Japan on a Fulbright doctoral fellowship to further his study of traditional gardens. His book, Secret Teachings in the Art of Japanese Gardens: Design Principles, Aesthetic Values (Kodansha, 1987), is regarded as a classic for its presentation of landscape design principles and translation of the 15th-century garden manual, Illustrations for Designing Mountain, Water, and Hillside Field Landscapes. The book is an amplification of his doctoral dissertation, which won the Esther L. Kinsley Ph.D. Dissertation Award at Indiana University in 1985.

Throughout his career, beginning with landscape creations for the Cleveland Botanical Garden (1974) and Carleton College (1976) up to his recent Garden of the Pine Wind (2000) and Children's Adventure Garden (2007) at Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, Arkansas, David's work has continued to evolve toward his ideal of creating gardens inspired by regional landscape and responsive to the unique attributes of the site, the client's wishes, and the qualities of locally available materials. David's gardens at Carleton College and Garvan Woodland Gardens have been voted in the top ten Japanese-style gardens in America by Sukiya Living magazine. David has worked with Northfield, Minnesota videographer Paul Krause to create the DVD, In Full Circle: The Japanese-Style Garden As a Work of Art in Progress (2004), which uses Davidís garden at Carleton College to explain the aesthetic principles of the art. His most recent film on DVD, Evoking Native Landscape Using Japanese Garden Principles (2012), presents the universal design concepts in an easy-to-understand, visually compelling form, with a wealth of examples to show how the principles can be applied to create contemplative landscape gardens that evoke the natural world. Viewers tell him that his creations exemplify "the true American garden."


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Last modified: 03/03/13