Tell us about PS. 81

The idea for PS. 81 is my first step back into working out my creative ideas. I make concrete planters for a variety of succulents. The long term goal is to be comfortable enough working with concrete to make my own molds and larger scale projects.

Where did you come up with the idea for PS 81? Inspiration behind the name?

I have never worked with concrete and I thought it would be a fun medium to try. I am obsessed with all types of plants so I wanted to combine two of my interests. The name came from P.S. 81 Thaddeus Stevens School in Brooklyn. I live across the street and saw that they started a gardening program through Grow to Learn NYC: the Citywide School Gardens Initiative. I believe in redistribution of wealth and think every profitable business should be required to give back.


What inspires you to create?

What inspires me to create is the constant need to be busy / building / creating / working. After graduating from SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) I was creatively tapped out. After a few years I was able to take time for myself and the ideas started coming back. Once I was able to develop new ideas, the fun / relaxing aspect of creating something came back.

How did you learn to create the planters?

I learned to create concrete planters by simply trying it. I have a general idea of how concrete works / dries / knew it wouldn't adhere to silicon molds. Then it's all trial and error, and still some pours don't come out perfect and I have to trash them. But it's more fun to guess the ratio each time rather than have exact measurements. I'm still learning how concrete works so it's exciting.


Why plants? What do plants mean for you?

I paired concrete and plant because my family owned a plant store for 26 years. I grew up making flower arrangements for weddings and funerals, I have always had a green thumb. It's super fulfilling to be able to keep plants alive, and its even more thrilling when they do well and grow! Succulents are relatively easy to care for as they don't need loads of attention just a sunny window. This means that I can share my excitement for plants with other people who normally are unable to keep plant babies alive.

How did you decide to donate a portion of proceeds to schools?

I decided to donate 10% of all proceeds to Grow to Learn NYC: the Citywide School Gardens Initiative because I believe in redistribution of wealth. In my opinion all profitable businesses should be required by law to donate a percentage of their sales. Grow to Learn NYC was the start of this whole idea its a way to give back because I am unable to give my personal time to the cause. I think that gardening is also a great way for children to learn responsibility and how to care for something. Too often schools don't teach useful skills and I believe gardening is a skill most people do not have and they should.

Nash AzarianComment