Be prepared to stare at Steve Hopkins’ sprinklers at Sorticulture next week much like you would fish in an aquarium.
You’ll be mesmerized by the counter-rotating hoops that seem to be changing direction — but it’s just an optical illusion.
What’s more, they’re as functional as they are artistic.
“It’s an effective sprinkler,” said Hopkins, owner of Hoppy’s Garden Arts. “Depending on water pressure, the spray pattern will be about 15 to 30 feet in diameter. They don’t beat up plants if they’re too close. Other than rain, it’s about as gentle as you’re going to get.”
See Hopkins’ sprinklers at Everett’s annual garden arts festival, set for June 7-9 at Legion Memorial Park in Everett. The 57-year-old Bothell man will be in booth No. 148. His sprinklers are one of many gems waiting to be found.
Now in its 22nd year, Sorticulture mixes art with horticulture. More than 150 vendors, including nurseries, landscape artists and gardening experts, will be featured at the free three-day event. About 25 of them are new to the festival, said Lisa Newland, the city of Everett’s cultural arts coordinator.
The festival attracts about 17,000 people each year.
Hopkins has sold his sprinklers at the festival for the past nine years. A self-taught artist, he likes to create functional and attractive things with his hands.
In 2007, he was making wooden trellises with copper accents for the Woodinville Farmers Market when a customer asked if he could turn his copper designs into a sprinkler. He eventually settled on the idea of two hoops holding up a globe wrapped in spiraling copper.
His 4-foot-tall sprinklers stand on a four-pronged steel base that is anchored in the ground. He buys 6-inch globes in a variety of colors and patterns from local glassblowing artists. Water pressure causes the hoops to spin.
Hopkins makes the sprinklers with assembly line-like efficiency in his garage, sometimes with the help of his 16-year-old son, Quinn Hopkins. Each sprinkler takes about an hour to craft.
Hopkins, who’s a job recruiter by day, plans to have 80 sprinklers for sale. He’s not out to get rich off sprinklers, though. It’s more a hobby than a business.
“It’s a seasonal thing that I will never be able to retire on, unless I scale them up,” he said. “I just really like interacting with people and making them smile.”
Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.
This year’s Sorticulture Garden Arts Festival is June 7-9 at Legion Memorial Park, 145 Alverson Blvd., Everett. The three-day event has numerous art, garden and food booths.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 8, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 9, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 10. Admission is free.
Park for free at Everett Community College, 2000 Tower St., and take the free Everett Transit shuttle bus from Student Fitness Center. The bus picks up or drops off every 15 minutes. Limited disabled parking will be available at the park. More about parking and the shuttle service at www.everettwa.gov/GettingThere.
Or ride your bicycle to the festival and let Sharing Wheels watch your bike, helmet and shoes for you.
The featured display gardens are by Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center and Planscapes and Complete Landscape Inc.
Grab a pick-up pass for a suggested $5 donation and Housing Hope will hold your purchases for you while you stroll the festival, or retrieve your vehicle to pick them up.
Kids’ activities will include face painting, art projects and wood carving.
Celebrity gardening expert Ciscoe Morris from KING-TV and KIRO-FM will be the keynote speaker at 2 p.m. June 8; he’ll also answer questions from the crowd.
Live music is scheduled all weekend in the wine and beer garden. Performances by 12 musical acts are planned.
Food booths will be open daily at 10 a.m. until close. The fare will include crepes, funnel cakes, seafood tacos, kettle corn, pizza, gyros and vegetarian fried noodles.
The Snohomish County Master Gardeners and the Snohomish County Noxious Weed Control Board will have informational booths.
Tour the Evergreen Arboretum & Gardens, found at the south end of the park. The arboretum has 10 themed-gardens with sculptures and a gazebo.
For more information, including an events schedule, go to www.everettwa.gov/sorticulture.