DIY garden art

Birthday Sculpture

I’ve been a bad blogger. I’ve not really posted in weeks and weeks. Not much happening in the garden — it’s been in the mid 50s for much of December so far IN BUFFALO! And no snow of which to speak. Snow and cold is coming. I can feel it in my newly old bones.

But yesterday was a significant birthday. As a gift, my wife surprised me with an original artwork created for me by artist, and long-time friend Ken Root. It’s about four feet long and just about two feet tall. It is of Elmwood Avenue, the shopping/dining/entertainment area of Buffalo in which I live. It is made of found objects – screws, pencils, scrap wood, metal pieces, a can lid, bottle tops, medallions, and other items, as well as items my wife provided that are personal to us.

The  panorama of the Elmwood Village goes from Bidwell Circle to Symphony Circle. Ken has created a couple dozen of these sculptures – most of Buffalo scenes, but he’s done others of Toronto and as more abstract pieces. You can find his website here and see samples of his other works. He’s got a great image of Buffalo’s Hoyt Lake in wintertime that depicts the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Rockwell Hall and the Historical Society — all built on top of a metal sled!

Here is St. John’s Grace Church on Colonial Circle, where we were married in 1989. Hidden up in the left is a Graphic Artist’s Guild logo – an organization I joined just out of college in 1984 – where I met Ken Root. The H.B. 50 medallion is something he had on hand – works perfect to remind me that it was my Happy Birthday 50 present!
That’s our house he’s added. Lots of flowers throughout the piece representing Garden Walk Buffalo.
This is the pin I bought for each of my groomsmen in my wedding in 1989.
The airplane is from my wife, a nod to her 29 years as a flight attendant. Tree trunks made of champagne cage wires. The coin on top that makes the sun/moon is a .50 Euro representing our foreign travel and 50th birthday.
Here is one of my daughter’s baby teeth, incorporated into the pink store, “Sweet Tooth” the actual name of an ice cream store that was on Elmwood Avenue.
Symphony Circle – another H.B. 50 medallion and a very small Toro Tapas Bar logo, a logo I designed many years ago with the help of Ken Root. This is also First Presbyterian Church – complete with Rose window!


Ken provided a dimmable light for the piece. It’s in our dining room. It makes a great addition to our colorful house, at one time dubbed the “Cartoon Castle.”

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I have a long-time garden blog, a popular garden on America's largest garden tour, and have co-written a book on garden design titled, "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" When I'm not doing all that, I am an advertising designer always out looking to design things to promote your business. Look me up at #jcharlier.

9 comments on “Birthday Sculpture

  1. What an incredibly cool birthday present. You are a lucky man! By the way, going to Buffalo for the garden walk has been on my wish list for some time. One of these days …


  2. What an incredibly thoughtful and useful gift from your wife! Happy birthday Jim!


  3. Anonymous

    This is great piece, Jim. You have a wonderful wife and friend. Happy holidays to you and your family.


  4. That is SO cool! I had no idea you were so young, though … you're a mere child compared to some of us 🙂 Hope the holidays have been happy for you and yours … here's to a great 2013!


  5. We'll get you here. let me know when you can make it…


  6. I married well.


  7. Happy holidays back at 'ya Donna.


  8. So.. you thought I was older? I'm not sure how to take this! You crack me up. I like to hang out with people older than myself so I feel young. The sculpture is cool – and I know you like your artworks too. Hope you had a great holiday too Cindy.


  9. Pingback: Hearty art for the garden

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