This April marks ten years that the fountain with three little birds dancing in the water have reappeared in front of the ceramic Earthsongs sign. Every October, the fountain is put away for the winter; only the stones remain, and the area takes on winter quiet. But come April, amid the tulips and daffodils, the columbine and periwinkle, the area regains its lively spirit…those little birds reappear. And they have a story…
The sign and the fountain were initially installed in August, 2001. My initial plan was to have a small flat ceramic slab over which the water gently bubbled. Nothing more: very unassuming, very unobtrusive., something that would surprise people only if they looked. Nino, of course, made my plan actually work: installed the electricity, designed the hidden water container, found just the right kind of screening to support the ceramic slab, secured the proper flexible piping.
And when all was done, nobody ever noticed because it was just too modest!
The next year, he set it up so that the water shot up higher…more noticeable, but not very elegant.
Friday, September 24, 2001, I had scheduled a “Meet the Artist” at What’s the Scoop, the new ice cream parlor that just opened the previous summer and allowed me to exhibit my work. Out of the events earlier that month, I decided to include an opportunity for all who visited to engage in clay therapy…fashioning their personal response to 9-11 with clay. Mike Patterson, the owner, further agreed to have the “Fountain of Peace” into which I formed all of those responses in the front of the store. I added a clay base to hold water, and three birds of peace as a cap. It gurgled there as a reminder and a sign of hope for an entire year.
When I finally dismantled it, not wanting to destroy any of the parts, they were stored in our garage. During the Spring clean-out the following year, I non-chalantly placed the birds on my clay slab fountain…SATORI! The birds completed it. They were what was needed all along. They were the perfect addition.
Now, with the water playing over them, the birds continue to bring a spirit of tranquility to a very busy street in a very busy area. Children in strollers beg to visit ‘the little birds’…and older children confide how they “loved to see those birds anytime they drove or walked by since they were little”.
Art creates community. We share images. They shape us. And three hopeful little ceramic birds continue to be a source of bonding for those in Metuchen, NJ.