Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sacred Spaces In the Garden

My garden offers shelter to quail, rabbits, skunks and deer that wander through our 1/2 acre of Manzanita, Bitterbrush and Ponderosa pine near the city of Bend, Oregon. I've put out mineral salt licks, bird feeders and water features to support the wildlife. As you can imagine, I don't have much in the way of animal proof flora. What one animal doesn't eat, another one does. Mint and Shasta daisies resurface annually as none of the animals like them (except us -- we get great tea from our mint). It's ok with me -- I love watching the animals at the feeders and feel connected to supporting their presence in the continually developed surrounding lands.

Decorating my garden with art that can make it through the Bend, Oregon winters is tough. Metal and concrete make it through the extreme weather, so I use them to adorn the garden. During my trip to Oaxaca last February I found a small store that sold recycled aluminum recast into garden pieces. Made in Northern Mexico, the large pieces are light enough (compared to cast iron) to make it back home in my suitcase. I bought this 20" high aluminum cast Guadalupe.

When I got home I primed the piece with spray paint, then painted it in oils. My friend, Terry Scoville, an artisan woodworker mounted it on vintage panels she shaped and cut. My husband just hung the Madonna on the side of the house near the entrance to my studio and I adorned it with a shed horn and seashells I found along with some clay pieces my daughter made. My painted cast metal Guadalupe is a Retablo, presented on the wood panel in the Hispanic tradition of sacred art known as a Santos. See other examples of my ex-voto and santos style retablos on my website.

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