Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Meet Our Community: Jeff Fisher, designer/artist and CRPS survivor

 


Let's get to know each other!


Since we're not able to meet up in person this year, let's meet online. Every week we're introducing a member* of our Fling community here and on Instagram, in their own words. We're excited to see what everyone's talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you'd like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)


Jeff Fisher



For years my primary focus in life was as an identity designer, on an international level, as Jeff Fisher LogoMotives. My work appeared in nearly 200 books, I earned over 700 design awards, and I wrote two graphic design books. For a good portion of that time, I worked out of my home studio in Portland, Oregon, allowing me to step outside and putter in the yard, which evolved into a garden through talks with Mike Smith of Joy Creek Nursery and an initial hardscape design by John Caine. The garden eventually appeared in print and on television. 

But then my life took a dramatic turn. About 7 years ago I had a "silent" heart attack, followed by two angiograms and stent implants in my heart. While in cardiac rehab I developed chronic pain issues. My ability to work at a computer, write, speak at industry conferences, and teach classes in graphic design began to fade away. Five years and 22 specialists later, I was diagnosed with CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome), an extremely painful nervous and immune system malfunction. Throughout those years and since, gardening was my escape and refuge, keeping me sane-ish. Medical professionals constantly encouraged me to play in the dirt as physical and mental therapy. I made gardening work for me the best I could, with an incredible amount of encouragement and support from my husband, Ed Cunningham. 

Writing, including traditional blogging, became a tremendous challenge. Still, I wanted others to know that someone with physical challenges, and without much horticulture knowledge or gardening experience, could find great satisfaction in creating and maintaining a garden. I realized I could express my experiences on Instagram by posting photos of the evolution of our garden, the variety of plants, visits to nurseries and gardens, travel, and more. That led to a Facebook page about the garden, and I’m currently creating a garden-specific Pinterest page. Self-published photo books and other related projects are in the works. 

Gardening has become my passion and best therapy. For me, gardening must be fun. I enjoy finding and using unique plants. As a designer/artist I have great appreciation for color, texture, and shape – all elements conveyed throughout the garden. Dubbed the Fishingham Garden – a combination of Ed’s and my last names – the garden is an extension of our home for cooking, dining, entertaining, and relaxing. By sharing the garden online, I hope to inspire others to create their own unique garden space.



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Thanks for sharing your work and your gardening passions with us, Jeff! You can follow Jeff on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Photographs courtesy of Jeff Fisher.

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