Friday, January 29, 2010
THE WORLD OF WOODLOFT
As I mentioned in the "One World One Heart" contest post (please scroll down to my January 25th post if you would like to enter the contest and haven't yet), my sparkly, moving sculpture of a car, B-dazle, has been my mechanical companion and workhorse for the past few years. B-dazle is a great icebreaker and has often been the subject of questions from my fellow citizens. Most want to know how long it took me to complete her and how many beads are attached. She has 23,000 beads, and bangles and took me 6 years to complete. Many also ask why I decided to create her. In part, B-dazle was an experiment I undertook to explore my interest in sculpture through a novel and unfamiliar medium. On a sadder note, however, her creation was also something I used to entertain my mother as she endured the relentless decline caused by Alzheimer’s Disease in her later years.
If you were here on a Saturday, you would likely find B-dazle and me on the local farmers’ market where I sell my sculpture and other artwork. (Everyone knows exactly where I am set up each week: all they have to do is find the most outrageous vehicle on the street, and there I am!)
Our little market is wonderful. We have an authentic European bread store, On the Rise, a chocolate shop to beat all, Chocolate Paper, and the new Taubman Museum of Art, a cultural edifice that has received national attention for its striking design.
And you’d love the flavorful, fresh produce our farmers bring to the market as well as the superb arts and crafts you’d find there. (If you are interested in reading more about the Roanoke farmers’ market, just click here.) After we finished touring the market, I’d invite you to climb into B-dazle and I’d whisk you off to visit my home, Woodloft, nestled in the woods of Virginia’s Roanoke Valley near the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Our first stop at Woodloft would be my studio. I have to warn you though, I am almost sure it is haunted. It must be, because every time I drop something on the floor, it disappears!
Once inside, you would see heads, arms, bodies and other body parts interspersed among the other detritus of my work.
You would see beads hanging absolutely everywhere.
And there are always sculptures in various stages of completion and stacks of just about everything imaginable.
I find a lot of my materials at our local flea market, Happy’s. When I see something I think I can use eventually, I buy it immediately and store it for future use. Unfortunately, that use sometimes does not make itself known for years, so I have to live with constant clutter. Funny that whenever I finally clean the studio, I can’t find anything for weeks afterward. It’s those ghosts, I tell you!
From the studio, I’d take you to my kitchen to begin showing you some of the finished artwork I’ve sprinkled throughout Woodloft. Here are my kitchen canisters for sugar, flour etc. Have you ever seen any like these before? I love to incorporate sculpture into the items I use in my everyday life. It seems to me that art, at its best, is an integral part of our lives.
While we are in the kitchen, I’d offer you a slice of the most decadent dessert you will ever taste. It is called Le Gateau Sans Rival, and was given to me by my mother-in-law. It is absolutely delicious. (If you would like the recipe, please click here.)
From the kitchen, we’d go to the main living area. There are mirrors everywhere at Woodloft.
And there are doors and windows that lead only to places in your imagination.
Mosaics abound here as well …
and there’s even a “fantasy art chair.” Sometimes I find friends sitting in it, and other times I find my dolls have claimed it for themselves.
One of the techniques I learned and came to love during a class in Italy was fresco. I used what I learned there to create the three angels, Strength, Wisdom and Love. They now occupy a wall at Woodloft.
They have other paintings and sculptures to keep them company. I like to think of Woodloft as part home and part private museum.
In my largest recent project, I’m remodeling a two-bedroom suite that is to become “The Tuscany Suite,” a nod to my love for Italy. It will house students for a class this summer. There is still a lot to do, but one of my sons-in-law, Lewis, a superb stonemason, has almost finished the arched doorways.
Just across the hall from The Tuscany Suite is my wine cellar. It was once just a closet under the stairs. I found an old iron gate and had it cut down and brazed to fit the doorway. Now if I could just keep the cellar filled with wine …
Finally, I would take you outside to show you the Woodloft gardens. There, mirrors reflect the water pond and the gong, ...
for meditation, there’s a 7-circuit labyrinth,...
and there are planters at nearly every turn.
When you tired of touring Woodloft, I’d invite you to come back soon. B-dazle would be waiting to start you on your way home. I’d say, “Ciao for now!” -- and in the meantime, come back to my blog anytime.