Glass ‘bottle trees’ According to Wikipedia, orginated in Northern Africa during a period when superstitious people believed that a genii or imp could be captured in a glass bottle. Legend had it that empty glass bottles placed outside the home could “capture” roving (usually evil) spirits at night, and the spirit would be destroyed the next day in the sunshine. African slaves took this practice to Europe and North America.”
Although intrigued by the history behind the bottle tree, I found most of the bottle tree designs to be very stifled. I spent some time and created bottle trees of my own that actually would follow the rhythmic growth patterns of trees.
On Monday I installed several trees in my front garden bed in and among the fall color. I hope you can stop by on Saturday to enjoy the art and flowers!
The day this little bugger climbed into my hand I decided there might be some validity to that nickname. Obviously searching for his hole, I tried to push him closer to the home that I have seen many chipmunks pop in and out of over the past few years. I nudged and nudged but each time he would either jump back into my hand or run up my pant leg. Quite contented in my hand, I sat there and talked to him for about an hour while I pet his sweet little head. He napped as the horribly vicious Mosquitoes bit me! Worth every single bite though..
Most of the summer so far, (for obvious reasons), I have found myself humming this tune by one-hit-wonder Buster Poindexter. Although the heat in my shop tends to make me downright angry, my plants are in sauna heaven! While I wilt by noon, they seem to be at their peek. My snake gourds, hyacinth beans and cypress vine are all weaving around my sculpture at rapid pace. I am cutting off trashcan loads each week trying to keep them tame as they slither in and then squeeze around one another like a boa constrictor. I know if I linger too long in the one flower bed I will be sucked in like a scene from a b movie, never to be seen again! The snake gourd is so aggressive, it actually wormed its way up to my office window and attached itself to the screen. I promptly removed it as I swore I heard whisper…“Feed me Seymour.”
So here are a few pictures of the living wall of vines in all their summer glory! Please try to come and see them in person this Saturday, at my Artist studio and open garden tour, so that you can enjoy the art and flowers as much as I do every day.
Yesterday, as I busily worked to prune and weed the garden for my show here this Saturday. I discovered a whole crew of new helpers! The praying mantis sack hatched that was ironically attached to “Elvis Angel” the resident protector of the garden.
Elvis was a gift I made my Mom for mothers day about 15 years ago. He was lovingly named Elvis because of his high collar made from a plow blade that flares up behind his head and also because he is just pretty darn cool. He stands over 15 feet high with at least a 6 foot wing span. Last year my Mom gave him back to me to showcase at my studio garden shows. Now he is covered with sweet pea, honeysuckle and morning glories…and hundreds of baby praying mantis. Get busy little buggers you have your work cut out for you!
In the spring the plants push through the surface of the earth making my mind whirl with all the new creations that I must make. This year was particularly inspirational as I created a line of flowers from the many years I have spent in the garden.
The idea of incorporating recycled glass into my metal sculpture has always been very appealing to me. Since I am part magpie, anything shiny seems to drawl me in. Shiny and full of color can almost make my head explode! Each flower I have made seems to take me off on another tangent.
Here are some pictures of the bounty as of yesterday..there will be many more to come as the garden grows!
No matter how mild the winter the birds welcome spring with their enthusiastic chirping. I can feel their excitement as they flit around busily building nests. Their expressive calls fill the air. I may not understand bird language, but they are clearly happy yet very serious about tasks at hand. It is their energy that fuels me as I begin to create new pieces for the garden.
The garden has always been my muse, but this year I notice that the birds may be just as much of an inspiration. While working in my shop with my garage doors open the shop becomes an extension of the garden. Plants make their way into my shop and metal makes its way into the garden in a cyclical pattern. Over the years the birds have gotten so used to me walking about that they allow me to get alarmingly close. The robins, the first to enter the bird bath in early March, will land within a few feet from me. They follow me around grabbing at worms while I am preparing the garden for my shows. I have heard that they can live up to 8 or 9 years old and given their comfort level, I believe it. No matter the age, I glance out the doors all day watching them happily content in my garden.
The birds and I hope that you will come enjoy the art and flowers starting April 28th!
Sinatra plays loudly through my speakers, breaking the silence in between the noise of my shop as I work. I have been on a steady Sinatra kick for about 3 years and holding. Sinatra, BB King or the blues of course. Today is no different except for the early and eagerly anticipated spring in the 70 degree air.
I work with my doors wide open, music playing and surrounded by my gardens and all the new growth bursting through the soil. The robins are splashing in my birdbath and the birds are chirping at the top of their lungs. I cannot help but sing Sinatra’s “The Second Time Around” all day as I make these sweet little birds. They are a new commission; a wedding gift for a friend’s father who was recently remarried. They make me laugh and smile all day as I create them. I hope they can feel this in the piece..
Love is lovelier the second time around…and to this I can relate.
It had not been much more then one year in it’s new home when “growing” got caught up with the wrong crowd. He fought a hard fight, but in the end needed to come to “spa sandy” to rejuvenate. Don’t you worry dear friend, this time I will reinforce you. Those guys can jump on you all they want and only get bruised ribs..
The Cork sculpture was an exciting project created for the Pennsylvania Wine association unveiled at the Farm show in Harrisburg, January 2012. The concept was to create a piece that incorporated corks from several different Pennsylvania vineyards and wineries in the Association. The theme of the installation was “there’s a story behind every cork”. The effort asked wine lovers to share their Pennsylvania wine stories and read some of the many tales submitted by other wine lovers. For every story submitted, the PWA added another cork to its growing collection and donated one dollar to the NCFL, an organization that inspires and engages families in the pursuit of education and learning together. In the end they mailed me boxes of corks they collected and I turned them into clusters that were hung off a sculptural vine structure.
After creating two bike racks for the NKCDC, I fell in love with the concept of creating this kind of function art. I started to seek out other areas that might want an artrack. At this time, The East Falls Development Corporation (EFDC), in Philadelphia, PA sent out a call to artists to create several eco-art fish to install through out the area. This made me immediately think BIKERACK! I called straight away to see if a bike rack would fit into the criteria of the project. They loved the idea so I started plugging away to get a proposal together for them.
Catfish bikerack proposal: to create a linear sculpture that incorporates a variety of scrap metal pieces, including farm equipment, pipe and rebar.
Like all of my work, Catfish is about creating a fluid movement with lines that directs your eye around the sculpture. My goal is to not only to be a source of function but my hope is that I might show people, children especially to recycle. I also secretly dream that catfish will entice the people of East Falls to ride their bikes to work or to the park so that they can use something that I made just for them. I envision kids chaining their bikes and climbing on him. (please don’t fall, ok? i only want happy smiling people around catfish.) I love the idea of beauty found in the mundane concept of a bike rack.
One hot summer day in July, Peter Peacock was born. Penelopy Peahen was created right after making Peter to woo his lonely heart. A scavenged blade guard off of a sickle bar mower was the piece that inspired the creation of Peter. The sickle guard had been filed away in my scrap pile (titled bird beaks) for several years. I randomly came across the part and just knew it needed to become a Peacock. One sickle guard is ceremoniously cut in half to make Peter and his mate Penelopy. I love the ironic symbolism! In turn it makes it very difficult for me when people do not buy them as the life mate pair that they were born to be.
The Picasso sculpture is my most challenging and rewarding piece to date.
Loic Barnieu, The owner of the Picasso restaurant in Media, Pennsylvania, commissioned me to make the piece as a sculptural room divider separating the bar from the more formal dining area. Since the piece was going into the “Picasso” restaurant, I decided it would only be fitting to pay homage to the man.
After some research, I was reacquainted with one of my favorite paintings, Girl before a Mirror, 1932. Picasso’s sense of continuously moving line in this painting is everything I hope to have emulated in my very loose interpretation.
The “Growing” bike rack was the first rack I created for NKCDC (New Kensington Community Development Corporation) as part of their ongoing effort to create links between local artists and revitalization efforts. The “Frankford Avenue Artsrack Project” is an economic development initiative to promote biking, local artists and local businesses. Part beautification, part economic development, these functional pieces of public art add to the Frankford Avenue Arts Corridor experience.
“Growing” incorporates 2 recycled wheels and scrap metal pieces. A variety of pipe, construction rod (rebar) and other bar stock steel are incorporated as the structure of the wheel sculpture.