Greetings dear readers!
First I must apologize for my website being down for such a long time. It needed some upgrades and they took unexpectedly long to resolve. It is GOOD to be back!!!
The chance to catch up and share exciting news has finally arrived and there is sooooo much to share! Let’s dive right in with the first announcement since it is time-sensitive.
The really BIG news (and why you’ve not heard from me for many months) is this: in early June I was given an incredible opportunity by the New England Botanic Gardens ( https://nebg.org/ ) just outside of Boston to help them create a magical fairyland experience in their newest garden which is called The Ramble. The space is very magical already – a 1.5 acre forest garden especially designed for children to romp and play. The exhibition is now up and running and is called “The Enchanted Forest”. This is the largest public display of my work thus far. https://nebg.org/enchanted-forest/
When they contacted me about the project I of course said “YES!” without quite realizing what a monumental task I had just agreed to undertake. What followed was 10 weeks of the hardest, most continuous creative work I’ve ever done before. It began with a trip to their garden to meet the team, explore the garden and make a plan.
Next, I needed to order a mountain of supplies, tools and more supplies! The parameters for this exhibition were quite challenging. Every house had to be weather-proof and able to withstand anything the changeable New England weather might dish up in the fall months – which can include the tail end of hurricanes like we will have this week! Also, each house had to be fully lighted with special LED lighting suitable for outdoors use that would plug into their system. Battery-powered lights were kept to a minimum for ease of maintenance.
The houses needed to be of varying designs and needed to hold the attention of both adults and kids with lots of detail, color and variety. I needed to use as many natural materials as possible but also had to incorporate a lot of faux materials too to ensure that the houses would look fresh for the entire 2 months of the exhibition AND not be attractive to wildlife that might be visiting the gardens at night. Wilted flowers and half-eaten pumpkins on day 3 were just not going to cut it!
The houses had to occupy a wide variety of placements: some on the ground, some at knee height, some head height and some hanging overhead. Finally, the houses needed to be larger than I generally make because the scale of the space required good sized sculptures for best visitor viewing experience. Phew!!
Oh… and all 20+ needed to be made from scratch and be delivered in just over 2 months. (it usually takes me 4 weeks to make just ONE house) NO problem!!!
What followed was 10-14 hours of work every single day with no days off till delivery was made at the end of August. Then a week of installation with the crew (more on that in another post) then whisk back home (I live 5.5 hours from the garden) to finish the last 4 sculptures and get them delivered ASAP. There have also been several publicity interviews, publicity photo shoots that were up to me and an important interview for an article in the Boston Globe to let folks know about the exhibition. You can read the article HERE if you want. (it has been re-printed by kind permission)
All the houses were designed for certain places in the garden. The garden has many special features within it for a delightful visitor experience all on its own but some of the features particularly inspired me. (more on this in later posts, hopefully) One feature that grabbed my inspiration was what they called a “rock stump”. It was a sculpture made of stones that encircled an empty space so it looks a lot like a rotted out stump. All surrounded by a layer of packed stone dust with a final circle of cut and polished granite blocks. Yes I could imagine this as a rotted tree stump but to me it looked like a miniature volcano!
The image is a bit deceptive because the enclosed circle here is about 18 ft in diameter. The interior space within the “volcano” was about 24 inches across and deep. I have always wanted to make a fairy house dedicated to the elements of Crystal and Fire. This seemed like a perfect place to try something far outside my comfort zone. After much research and experimentation, I found a way! I used epoxy resin to create sheets of clear materials which I could then cut into panels like stained glass. I could also pour crystals of my own color choosing.
However, the sculpture needed to be rock solid stable but UP and out of reach from curious kiddos. I hired the local blacksmith to create a spiraling tower to invoke the feeling of rising smoke and designed the house to perch (very securely) on top.
Now you can get a better sense of scale…. the tower is over 6 ft tall. But it is the “house” in top that is really special. It does have a sparkling entrance door-space with stairs and tower “rooms” but this is for the Fire Fairies so naturally it has to look a bit edgy and dangerous!
and it ALL of it had to be lighted, of course!
This is just one example of the many unique sculptures I have created for this garden.
If you are able, I urge you to come and visit the gardens as soon as you can to see the display as well as the other incredible features they have in other parts of the entire complex. It is a stunning place and well worth a day for visiting. The whole experience is magical and a great outing for people of all ages. I’ve heard nothing but positive reactions from the staff at the gardens who have said this is wildly successful. Here again is their website for more details: https://nebg.org/planyourvisit/
If you are able to visit and want your book signed, or want to pick up a copy from their gift shop and have it signed, I will be there on Friday October 7th from 1-3PM at or near the gift shop on the main level.
I hope to see you there!
The show lasts until the end of October. I hope you have the chance to get there and see it!
In future posts I will let you know about the latest calendar that is now out and additional media from the show. We did a 25 minute interview with a local web-tv producer and it will be great to share that once they make it live.
Also, I AM planning on have a sale of some of my sculptures for this holiday season. Some of the houses from this exhibition may be in the sale…. stay tuned!
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