The Garden of Years Gone By

This quarter, one of my classes was called Creative Strokes.  It was all about embracing hand done type and calligraphy etc. The final product of this class for all of the students is to be a calendar of some kind that evolves from our quarter long experimentation with lettering. I found that I was the most drawn to calligraphy done in languages and with letters with which I was not familiar. This of course stems from my travels. 

Eventually, after much concepting with the class and on my own, my calendar became a representative reflection of my year of traveling. So instead of using a literal calendar to help one plan the future, my calendar is a reflection of the past that is intended to illuminate the present and allow one to move confidently into the future.   


My calendar was to have four windows, Each representing the part of the world that I was in during that season of my travel year. Italy in the summer, Greece in the Fall, Egypt in winter and India in the spring. In each window was to be a hand written story in that country's native language about a life changing adventure that I had there. I wrote out the stories in English then sent them out to my friends around the world to have them translated. At first it was going to be a hanging chandelier like my little model pictured above. 

I wrote all of the stories by hand in their native language then scanned them to shrink them down and print them onto the papyrus.  I had been working on making the little wooden windows for a few weeks in my friend's garage with his power tools. Once they were all built and put together I stained them and was ready to frame the stories in them. 

I could have just been almost finished but I decided somewhere along the way that I didn't want my windows to be part of a chandelier. I wanted them to be in a zen garden to allow for proper meditation. This of course meant that a waterfall needed to be included. This was going to be more than I had signed on for but suddenly I NEEDED a waterfall. First I did this drawing.

Then I colored it in.

Now it was time to make it. I knew it wasn't going to 
be just like my drawing, but it was a good jumping off point.

The wire tree base.

Now here it is with the pump and basin attached.

Twenty pounds of clay later
I had to do a lot of research about how I was going to make this base and how I was going to make it waterproof. I ended up using self hardening clay. I couldn't fire it because of the pump and the wire. When it dried I sealed it with 500 coats of spar varnish and a few coats of Modge Podge. During the whole process I kept checking the pump to make sure that it was working. I stressed out over making this for days. At last it was ready for the water. I poured it in and the PUMP DIDN'T WORK. It was still making noise, it just wasn't pumping anything to the top! I was so sad. Oh well. I knew it was a gamble. I figure the pump got clogged with the spar varnish.

I am still pretty happy with how it turned out. My final critique panel really liked it as well as the idea behind it. It looks really cool with all the candles burning but those pictures didn't turn out. One of my panelists told me that it was a good thing that the pump wasn't working because then it would have been too awesome. 




  1. It still freaks me out sometimes how stinking talented you are. This is amazing, and you are right....I can't handle it. xoxo

  2. Wow! Gorgeous. You could also have made the base by casting it from the clay model. Come over some time and I'll show you how! It's lots of fun.


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