Kelly Bledsoe is a writer and photographer for the Denton Orator and gardens in Denton, N.C.

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Super-Sized Sculptures
by Kelly Bledsoe    

Sculptures trigger feelings and emotions, so it is important to determine which sculpture fits into which garden.

Throughout the years, I have explored and taken pictures of lots and lots of gardens. I am always amazed and intrigued by the personal touches gardeners add, and lately my eyes have been drawn to selectively placed, oversized sculptures.

These super-sized sculptures seem to have a calming effect and perhaps this is why I am so drawn to them in my perpetually chaotic life. These larger-than-life sculptures strategically situated in the garden, without distraction from nearby plants, structures or any other elements, have captured my interest and a good bit of my spare time.

Super-sized sculptures can be manipulated by adjusting the closeness and distance through garden design. The impact of the sculpture depends on angles and distance.

Garden sculptures, when chosen and sited carefully, not only enhance a garden, but also emphasize design and plantings throughout the seasons. One of my favorite pastimes is to take a path less traveled when searching for unique garden art. It is fascinating to discover unusual displays of metal and ceramic art that provoke responses such as respect, pleasure, beauty, awe, humor, reflection, mystery or surprise. And isn’t that what we as gardeners do in our gardens … strive to elicit emotion?

I especially love the overly exaggerated pieces that literally stop you in your tracks and make you contemplate the piece and everything around it. A sculpture placed in the exact right position focuses, intensifies and animates the environment around it. It relates to weather, light, and the close and long-distance views that enhance and personalize your garden.

Positioning sculptures is just as important as selection. A properly placed sculpture will automatically draw one into the garden.

Sculptures, no matter how large, must coexist with the natural setting.

Gardens and sculptures relate together so intimately that even subtle changes in lighting can offer a different perspective on pieces in different seasons.

In a garden, a sculpture relates to everything around it – weather, light and vegetation.

Meadows or expansive stretches of lawn are ideal locations for bold pieces of art. The negative space surrounding such a sculpture perfectly complements it, allowing the viewer plenty of time to peacefully take it all in, and to think. It’s the scale and proportion of the art combined with large and open spaces that work so well together.

In addition to grandiose works of art, incorporating any amazing art piece will bring a unique and inimitable flavor to your backyard. An essential principle to remember when adding art to your garden is to not overdo it at any point. Your backyard is a space where you still want nature to play the lead role. Whatever you add to this setting must complement the serene, or perhaps the spectacular, green canopy. But that is all it can and should do. Never clutter your garden with too much. Sometimes a single art installation, such as an interesting statue or super-sized sculpture, will do.

Many sculptures are placed on plinths, platforms or supports to secure them permanently in place. Because of the large size of garden sculptures, once set down they are rarely moved.

Choosing a sculpture with a particular garden in mind determines or reinforces the theme and feeling of a garden.
Abstract or realistic … the sky is the limit when searching out garden sculptures.


A version of this article appeared in Carolina Gardener Volume 26 Number 8.
Photography courtesy of Kelly Bledsoe.


Posted: 10/04/18   RSS | Print


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