Q&A with Donna of D*SIGNS

Q&A with Donna of D*SIGNS
Donna Keyser is a highly trained and inherent artist whose stated prime directive is “to make the world more beautiful.”  Donna's commercial sign business ~ D*Signs ~ and her art studio and indoor garden are on the TwispWorks campus. Did you notice the new signs on our seed racks? Designed, printed and all thanks to Donna. Follow Donna's art and sign projects at @keyserstudios and read on for a brief Q&A about seeds, plants, and healthy eating.

You have a beautiful indoor garden at the D*Signs workshop — it’s early March and you’re already growing lettuce, chard, and spinach! When we visited you back in January to discuss a new sign design for our seed racks, your indoor garden was producing cherry tomatoes. When did you start gardening indoors in the winter? Any tips for those of us who would like to give it a try?

My indoor gardening grew out of my COVID-19 obsession with being healthy and getting lots of Vitamin A. I made carrot juice a couple times a week and did not want to throw out the pulp. I started indoor 5 gallon bucket worm bins with shredded cardboard and carrot pulp. The casting were so rich and fertile my indoor plants flourished. Adding lights (that I found on Libby Creek in the trash) on a timer caused everything to bloom.

Indoor plant starts at the D*SIGNS workshop in TwispWorks using Methow Valley Seed Collective lettuce and herb seeds.

Back to those signs you designed for us — they're perfect, exactly what we wanted but couldn't fully envision ourselves. Can you share more with us about your work at D*signs?

D*signs has three arms. One large scale graphic design for physical marketing, signs store fronts, advertising, information. Two, making art. I travel to interesting landscapes and paint outdoors, and return to my studio to finish. Three, art sales. Laura Karcher and I curate and manage the gallery at Sun Mountain Lodge as well as a gallery in my studio on Fifth Ave behind Little Star. I just bought a dye sub printer which will enable me to make fine art and photography reproductions on a plethora of materials; wood metal, acrylic, glass, fabric etc. 

Donna Keyser's Studio and D*Signs in TwispWorks
What are your plans for an outdoor garden this year?

Bins and stock tanks outside my office. Small plot at home for salad and community gardening with Darlene Salle. Using more mulch and wind breaks and cold frames.

Plants growing indoors at Donna's art studio
Have you always grown from seed, or did that come later in your experience as a gardener?

I have always enjoyed the seed miracle. From collecting seeds in the wild, to raiding local flower beds in the late summer. I used this technique to get mountains of flowers when I had limited money. I swoon under the abundance of seeds.

Donna's art studio ~ plants and art!

Did any varieties of seed in particular stand out in the 2022 growing season?

I love cilantro for its ability to clean the blood, and that it just grows on auto pilot. We had delicious melons from Lorrianne, in Methow. I grew kale, holy basil and tomatoes from you all at the Methow Valley Seed Collective.

What are you looking forward to growing in 2023?

Melons, squash. Getting cold weather plants in soon as I see dirt, use the power of snow.

Any tips or advice for those of us who are new to growing from seed? 

Give them the best environment possible. Lights moisture, heat. Plant too many and eat the shoots to thin. Don't let squash roots find the limits of the pot.
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