Garden Sculptures


I've always had a fascination for them, stone sculptures that I would find at roadside gardens in Laguna, sold as garden ornaments together with plants. What I loved about them is that they would look better as they aged, as moss starts growing on the stone. I wondered how anyone could shape figures out of such hard river stones, and admired the artistry of Filipinos.These, I thought, could compare with the artistry of the traditional stone sculptures of Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia. I dreamt of one day playing a role in propagating this Philippine art form. So I went in search of the Laguna stone sculptors. It took me several years to find them.

When I did, I found out from their stories that work was scarce, because there was no demand for their art. To make ends meet, they would take on odd jobs as construction workers, gardeners, truck drivers, whatever they could find.
     smile sculpture

So I started a community project at the Forest Club in Bay, Laguna to help them out. My simple goal is to develop the talents of the local stone artists of Laguna, by challenging them to create new designs, and by helping them develop a bigger market for their art in Manila.

We started with the traditional themes that are familiar to our local artists...frogs, lizards, turtles. Then we challenged them to create more complex works, specifically the Marian Series. I am quite pleased with the results.

 

MARIAN SERIES

 milagros sculpture    

 
This Marian image was patterned after a palm-sized original that I gave my wife Mila when I was still courting here, about two years before we got married. That is why I named this statue Milagros in honor of the image that Mila loved and treasured so deeply.

Milagros was sold last 25 February 2007. It will adorn a garden of a school in Quezon City, hopefully to quietly reassure the children of the constant love of the Mother of God and Our Mother for each and every one of us.

Because we are a Catholic country, the only one in fact in Asia, I believe that every home with a garden should have the image of Mama Mary. Just as Thai gardens are adorned with the image of buddha, ours should be adorned with the image of Our Lady.

 

Deinar Inc. has agreed to carry the Marian Series of our Garden Sculptures at their Quezon City workshop and outlet store, and has consequently become our first dealer in Metro Manila. Yehey!

Deinar Inc. makes high quality, hand made, religious products such as altar statues, desk size statues, desk triptychs, crucifixes, elegantly framed reproductions of religious paintings, etc. for homes and parish churches. I have been their customer for more than 15 years, and it is such a privilege to now have a business relationship with them.

I turned over 2 Garden Scultures from the Marian Series to Fina Navarro, Managing Director of Deinar, last 13 February 2007.

The Marian Series complements the product line of Deinar. Fina and I hope that the stone sculptures will appeal to the tastes of Deinar's existing customers.

The sculptures are now on display at the front lawn garden of Deinar Inc., 11 Hilltop Street, Horseshoe Village, Quezon City. Tel: (632) 705-1186.

 

 HOW THE STONE SCULPTURES ARE MADE
abe at work
 

Two short mallets, a measuring tape, and an improvised array of chisels (I counted at least a dozen of them in his arsenal) that are made from recycled steel, specifically, the discarded metal leaf springs of old trucks and jeepneys. These are all that Laguna stone artist Abe Sandoval needs to create one of his stone masterpieces.

   1. The first step is to carefully select the right sized and the right shaped stone that will be used in order to create what the artist has in mind.
   2. Next is to choose the side of the stone to carve
   3. Then the general shape and form of the sculpture is made, using heavy strokes on the large chisel.
   4. This is followed by shaping the head, and the features of the face, starting with the eyes, the nose, the hair, the lips
   5. It is only when the general contours of the face are recognizable, that work on the other details of the statue begins.
   6. Once the sculpture is completed using the hand tools, the artist now shifts to using sand paper in order to smoothen out the finer features of the art piece, and remove the marks of the chisel.

Yes, Virginia, these sculptures are made by hand from real stones, and not shaped with molds using cement.

 
FIRST SALE!

 
February 22, 2007 is an important milestone in our young project's life: We closed our first sale, and made our first delivery to the Alabang residence of Cherry Osmena.

Cherry is founder and owner of a party specialists company called Clowning Around (www.clowningaround.com.ph).  They were pioneers in the industry when they started organizing children's parties 20 years ago in 1987, when party organizers, event organizers and wedding planners were professions that were still unheard of.
     frog sculpture

Cherry bought one of the frog sculptures.  She told me that she wanted the frog in order to help her share with others one of her most important life lessons:  That you need to kiss your share of frogs, before you can finally find your prince charming. So we have christened Cherry's sculpture as the "Frog Prince".

It took four people to carry the Frog Prince to the center of Cherry's back garden.  When we finally placed it at the center of the garden, Cherry kidded me and said that she'll name the frog "Wawel" instead.  "How appropriate", I thought to myself, "because I certainly do not look like a prince!"

Cherry is very supportive of our little project, and is helping me spread the word around to more people.

Thank you, Cherry, for your generous support.
 
OUR LATEST PROJECT
 
 lamp sculpture    

 
These Stone Lamps are the first in what will be a series of stone carved Garden Furniture that we are developing at the Forest Club.

The first collection of stone lamps now surround our swimming pool at the Forest Club, brightening up the pool area for our guests who enjoy the mineral hot spring pool in the evenings.

Just last weekend, one of our guests who stayed for the evening loved the lamps so much, that she ordered five of them for her weekend home in Antipolo.

As Fred Flintstone would say

..."Yabadabadoooooo!!!!"
The all-weather Garden Sculptures are individually hand carved by Laguna artists from Pagsanjan river stones.

Originals may be viewed at the Forest Club in Bay, Laguna or at Deinar in Heroes Hill, Quezon City. Available FOR SALE at reasonable prices. E-mail wawelmercado@gmail.com for price list.
 
To view more pictures of our Garden Sculptures, please visit our multiply site

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