October 20, 2012 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
I didn’t like Pomegranates when I was a little girl because it was such a messy ordeal extract the seeds. I now like to sprinkle the bright red seeds on vanilla ice cream–but admit to buying them already seeded. Pomegranates have grown popular in recent years as people have become enlightened to the fruit’s health benefits, with numerous products appearing made from the fruit or bearing its image.
Pomegranate motifs are common in religious, especially Judaic, art and decor such as Michael Aram’s gold salt and pepper shakers, above.
In Tucson last week I spotted a dwarf pomegranate bush and a larger pomegranate tree. Before that, I had only seen them at farmer’s markets and in the store. A great ornamental shrub for courtyards and small gardens, the Dwarf Pomegranate Bush grows three-inch miniature pomegranates that can be eaten fresh, squeezed into juice, made into jelly and jam, or–as is quite popular now–used to make a number of creative cocktails.
Throughout history, pomegranates have been linked to health, fertility and rebirth, and as such are featured in religious lore, art, and literature. Ancient Egyptians were buried with pomegranates to ensure a second life. The prophet Muhammad adored the fruit, and there are pomegranates in Islam’s gardens of paradise. In the Old Testament, Moses led the Israelites to a land of pomegranates, while in many paintings of the Virgin Mary or the infant Jesus one will find them holding a pomegranate. Homer’s Odyssey mentions Pomegranates and Juliet tells Romeo, “It was the nightingale, and not the lark/That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear/Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree.”
Nature Meets Design
With such a rich history in myth, symbolism, art, religion, and medicine, it’s no wonder the ancient pomegranate is a fruit that has inspired artists, writers, designers, and chefs alike.
I love the rich, juicy texture of this felt bowl from Felt Gallery.
Gorgeous blue velvety ceramic pots by Blue Room Pottery.
Botanical paint from Glob, above, is made from the natural pigments of fruits, vegetables, flowers, spices–and as in the color above, Pomegranates. I love how the packaging is made to look like a seed packet.
From the garden sprouts lots of design inspiration, like for this felt bag made by Kovács Gabriella, above, and the Pomegranate motif fabric, below, from Osborne and Little.
Crafters too have made a stab at the historical fruit’s shape in a crocheted wire version, below. Wouldn’t votive candles be great inside these?
And toss a Roddy and Ginger pillow onto your sofa or chair…
One of my newest and favorite finds is Du Verre Hardware’s Pomegranate collection of knobs and pulls, one of the company’s many collections of nature-inspired designs.
Designed by Heinz Pfleger, one of North America’s master metal craftsmen of note, Du Verre has taken the mighty pomegranate’s wonderful natural texture and created a beautiful range that makes it easy to add natural texture to drawers and cabinets doors.
Made from environmentally-friendly recycled aluminum and available in Brushed Nickel, Dark Antique Brass, Matte Brass and Polished Aluminum, each piece is made by hand in small batches using a traditional sand-casting method, then painstakingly finished, cleaned, and polished by master craftsmen. As a result, each piece has a unique feel whose small variations give them a one-of-a-kind quality.
DIY Dresser Transformation
Find a flea market or garage sale dresser, give it a fresh coat of paint (perhaps a dull metallic), then replace the old knobs with some cool textural ones, like the round Pomegranate knob in Satin Nickel,below.
Design-Driven and Green Initiatives
Du Verre Hardware works with highly respected designers from all aspects of the design world to create its unique design-driven collections of precision die cast decorative hardware. The company moved its manufacturing away from the sand casting process to die casting in respect for global concerns about sustainability and the responsible use of resources and materials. Shifting technologies, they feel, has benefits for both consumers and the environment. Du Verre manufactures its die cast hardware using post-consumer recycled aluminum compatible with LEED objectives. This reduces the generation of air and water pollution by 95% and requires only 5% of the energy that would otherwise be used in production of new metals and generates a small fraction of the greenhouse gasses normally expelled in this process. Check out some of Du Verre’s other great nature-inspired designs.
Easy Pomegranate Seed Removal!
Did you know that every pomegranate has exactly 840 seeds? Had I only known of this easy pomegranate seed removal gadget years ago…
Like I already mentioned, I never wanted to spend a greater part of my day picking the seeds out and ending up with red-stained fingers. So the Arils Removal Tool (ART) from Shoham fits the bill for making this process clean and easy. The tool, tested and approved for food contact according to EC and FDA standards, is made up of a collection cup, grate, and cover.
After splitting open the fruit, set half of it on a grate that sits above the collection bowl, cover it, and tap the top with a heavy spoon to release the seeds from the arils (the seed itself and the red, fleshy sac it sits in), frees them of the pith, and them them to pass through the grate into the collection cup. The whole thing takes about two minutes and the tool is dishwasher safe too.
Urban Gardens would like to thank Du Verre Hardware for its generous sponsorship of the Modenus London BlogTour which made possible my participation in this special design event and visit to the London Design Festival.