Last year I decided my garden needed a a bit more pizzazz. We have been putting in shade plants for the past few years to liven up what was a very sparse yard. The greenery is coming along, and the space cried out for some decoration to compliment the new life.
I spent all winter imaging and planning something to hang on the fence on the shady patio side of the house. As soon as I could be comfortably out in the garage this spring I began working with some cedar fence boards. Sketches in hand, I pulled out the band saw and got to work.
It took some work to get everything to line up but I am pretty happy with the result.
The first year we moved into this house I began an ambitious clay project.
In the yard, out our front window there is a light-post under the boughs of a spruce tree. The spot reminded me of one of my favourite childhood novels, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, and of the character of Mr. Tumnus specifically.
He’s been done for some time. He’s definitely dry. I have toyed with the idea of having him fired, but because he’s made of thick slabs of clay joined together I am afraid he contains a bubble that will ruin him in a kiln.
I think I have figured out how to make a mould of him so I can cast a copy for firing.
When I start that I will document my process, but for now here’s a timeline of the birth of my Mr. Tumnus.
I bought myself a box of clay from Plainsman Pottery. This project used the entire box of clay.
I decided that I was not at all confident in my ability to make a free standing Tumnus, so settled on a Tumnus seated on a stump (waiting for Lucy of course).
I made the centre hollow to cut back on the weight so that it would be easier for me to move around as I worked on all sides.
Mr. Tumnus has been sitting in my art room since the winter of 2012.
Hopefully this winter I manage to get a good mould of him, cast his likeness, fire that casting, and set him out in the yard where I originally envisioned him.
My kitchen, back hall and front entrance are out-of-bounds as the floor is being ripped out and new tile is being installed. I’ve been pushed out of my usual in-house activities.
My art room is the temporary home of all my refugee kitchen items and pantry staples so painting or sculpting are out of the question. Same goes for sewing – the sewing table is in the art room and the microwave is where the sewing machine should be. I have two needlepoint projects on the go, but I do them in the evening on the couch next to my husband so I already get enough of that.
I don’t do nothing very well. I had to come up with a project outdoors. I didn’t want to give up completely on the garden quite yet and had done all the yard work that our short season would allow until I’m ready to put the garden to bed for the winter.
Puttering around the garden in quiet desperation I noted a thin spot in the hedge around our yard. I have, in the past few years, already filled two other thin spots in the hedge with whimsical fences – the family fence and the deer fence. Obviously, to be consistent, the other gaps needed to be fence-filled. Right?
So while tradesmen ripped my kitchen apart, I bought some cedar and pulled out the band saw. I made a moose.
My husband also suggested two more wood projects and I came up with one as well, so I have a couple more years of cedar fence art keeping me occupied.