Concrete wall becomes a nature scene
A colorful mural in clay has been taking shape on the concrete wall outside a private house at 2426 W. Pikes Peak Ave.
The roughly 100-square-foot, tile-section creation is by Sherry Bennett, a former Florida resident, who started the project as part of a continuing effort to depict the natural wonders she's found in the seven years she's been in Colorado.
The scene (with a touch of artistic license) shows Pikes Peak, its shoulders, forested foreground hills and even close-ups of pine needle clusters.
Bennett thought the formerly plain block wall was “the perfect spot” for the work, but confessed to being “a little worried at first” as to how the neighborhood would like her effort - especially with the house being next door to the Old Colorado City Library. But she's happy to report that “people seem to enjoy it.”
Bennett and her husband, Robert, have lived in the house for five years. The time has given her opportunities to hike to scenic spots, consider improvements to the house and think about how to channel her non-stereotypical pottery talents.
“I have a passion for it,” she said. But the largely self-taught artist doesn't have much interest in throwing pots nor in laboriously drawing up plans. What she likes is sculpting tiles with her hands, taking on big projects, translating into clay the pictures in her mind from the places she's been. This was how the mural came about. “My husband and I hike a lot,” she said. “A silhouette of the mountains came into my head, and that gave me an inspiration.”
The materials were slab-rolled clay tiles, with the picturesque relief built on top of them. Before mounting them on the wall, each of the tiles was high-fired “to withstand freeze and thaw,” Bennett said.
If she'd had a customer, she might have created the mural somewhere else. But at the time, “I didn't have anyone else interested, so I did it on our own home,” explained Bennett, who has smaller tiles she's made on display in various area shops.
Another example of a mural idea that resulted from an outing was the time that she and Robert came across a bright field of flowers while hiking at Crestone Needles. “It blew me away,” she recalled. “I had to put them in.”
Their replication can be seen in the custom-made gate that allows entrance to the Bennett front yard. The gate is in the middle of the property, with walls of the same size on either side of it.
Did someone say another wall? True enough, Bennett is already envisioning a compatible mural on the other side of the gate. “I'm thinking about a forest scene,” she said. “It will have a few animals -wolf, elk or bear.”
She just hopes the neighborhood understands.
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