Posts Tagged ‘wind’

Truly Fall

The day is blustery and seasonably crisp. There is a frost warning for Plymouth County tonight. Yesterday brought warmth and a steady offshore breeze for a perfect fall beach walk at Humarock beach.


Normally uneven and rock strewn,  the ocean at low tide provided a smooth, wide swath of lightly packed sand like a freshly paved road.

The wind whipped and curled the modest waves which beguiled a couple of surfers. 



A bicyclist rode by. We exchanged hellos and nods to other couples. And a few dogs.


Afterwards, we gleaned late season tomatoes from our friends’ garden since they’re traveling in Southeast Asia. It is truly fall.

18 Steps to a mirror in the garden

I discovered an outdoor art installation in a Paris park that inspired my garden mirror. The art was well-integrated into the context of the outdoor setting, not separate from it. I liked that. My idea was to hang a full-sized mirror in the garden that would reflect back on the garden. Read the story, see how to do it! Read the rest of this entry »

Sarabande: Kinetic Garden Art

Sarabande is a mobile – kinetic art made from copper, bronze and aluminum, standing six feet tall with a six foot radius. She was conceived to replace a withered dwarf maple that once stood in the center of the garden. Whimsical wind mobiles, like garden sculptures, provide vertical and horizontal contrast — plus movement — to the surrounding perennials.

A Garden Dancer Comes to Life

Named for the courtly dance and musical movement from the Baroque era, Sarabande is the work of kinetic artist, Vladimir Barsukov (Perpetual Mobiles) from whom I took a mobile-making class in November, 2009. You might think of Alexander Calder, an American mobile artist whose work is in the Guggenheim Museum (NYC).

Sarabande was almost a year in the making because Barsukov had to experiment with ideas and materials that would scale to larger proportions and perform well outdoors – wind mobiles can have a rougher life. Barsukov invented a sturdy pivot to give the mobile the needed “degrees of freedom.”

Besides freedom of movement, a mobile requires precisely balanced elements that communicate with each other, and sensitivity to slight, animating air movements.
Outdoors, a mobile must maintain its responsiveness while coping with extremes of wind, weather and elements; it must float on gentle breezes and ride out coastal gales. And do it all gracefully.

Installing the Mobile

I saw the first prototype at Barsukov’s Cambridge studio in July, 2010. While the artist completed the final design, I had to figure out how to keep a mobile garden sculpture permanently straight and plumb.  Googling

Install flag pole” gave me a suitable plan — I used: a post hole digger, gravel, concrete mix, wooden brace, with a carpenter’s level to set the holding tube in a solid base, and… voila! I had a stable home for my mobile (a mobile home?).

The dwarf maple stood leafless in its last years. Stark and twiggy, it became a favorite perch for small birds. Chickadees and humming birds would alight on the end of a tiny dead branch to rest; it was our snag tree. It toppled of its own accord just before Sarabande’s installation on October 30, 2010. Sarabande was too broad for that spot so we installed her farther back, overhanging the dwarf mountain laurel (kalmia latifolia v. ‘Elf’), Alberta spruce (Picea glauca ‘Conica’) and daphne. Originally a backyard patio idea, Sarabande moves gently and more subtly far away, where her long arm and large sweep complement her surroundings.

Reflections on Sarabande

As a foray in garden art, Sarabande makes quite a statement. A captive prima ballerina, both  sturdy and lithe. Across the garden stands Tin Man looking on. In the spring, when the woods behind fill in with green, I may install a reflective background to highlight Sarabande’s dance-like movement.  Here’s one idea I’m thinking of, using mirrored window panes:

With Sarabande, Tin Man now has a garden partner.Tin Man - by Peter Beals, Kingston MA
What moves your garden? Share the vision.