Sunday, June 28, 2009

Yard art defines the home

Telegram Staff Writer

From flamingos to toilets, all sorts of things decorate the lawns of Bell County.
The six-foot metal daisy, the gnome and mermaid statue: It could be homemade, store bought or a reminder of years gone by.
Each has a different story about why it came to be.
But they all have one thing in common: They make a place a home for their owner. Wishing well
Laverne Adams has a wishing well in the backyard of her Temple home.
Her husband Bud made it before he died.
'He was in the process of Alzheimer's when he started the work on it,' Mrs. Adams said. 'He cut all the wood pieces at the bottom to make them look like bricks. He drew the shapes, and he did a good job.'
It's not sad for her to look at it.
'He was excited to make it,' she said. 'He picked out the pattern and planned everything out. It was something that brought him a lot of joy, and I'm glad I was there for it.'
Little star and angel ornaments hang from the roof of the wishing well.
'I have to remind myself that those corners are sharp,' Mrs. Adams said. 'They make you walk around it instead of up next to it.'

Colorful critters
There's a giant spider and dragonfly in her front yard.
They've got to belong to Chris Lesinski of Mound. They're painted in a rainbow of colors, just like the tie-died shirts she always wears.
'This stuff is an extension of me,' she said. 'They represent different things about me, things I find funny and beautiful.'
The lawn ornaments are also products of her imagination.
The insects, for instance, she created from garbage and recycled farm supplies.
'And to put it together after I taught myself how to weld,' Ms. Lesinski said. 'It's a four year hobby, and it gets better day by day.'
The six-foot spider sits in the middle of her yard.
'It's ugly but that's part of its charm. It's so ugly it's cute,' she said. 'Its eyes are vents from an old motor home, the body is a barbecue pit I found on the side of the road, and the rest of it's made of mattress springs, old exhaust pipes and metal conduit.'
She didn't have a pattern when she made it.
'I just started welding and painting,' Ms. Lesinski said. 'And this old spider is what I came up with.'
The seven-foot dragonfly in the back has the body of an old sugar maple bucket from Vermont and the head of a plastic pumpkin. Its wings are strips of painted tin.
Inside the barn, Ms. Lesinski's working on a 10-foot dragon.
'I'm getting the welding done now,' she said. 'I have an idea of what I want it to look like, so I add this here and that there. Sometimes it works, sometimes doesn't. And that's OK. If it falls apart, I just start over. The fun is in the doing of it.'
That's why she's making her welded zoo.
'I want my home to be a place that has a lot of projects going on,' Ms. Lesinski said. 'I like looking forward to going home, so I can get to work at something I love.'

Private park
The Temple yard of Mary Lew and David Quesinberry looks like a personalized roadside park.
It's got a mile-long walking path that winds through ponds, vegetable gardens and vacation souvenirs.
'David did all of the rock work, dirt and granite,' Mrs. Quesinberry said. 'He's from Arizona, so he made it look like a desert.'
Around the first corner is a bunch of buzzards.
'They came from Llano,' Mrs. Quesinberry said. 'It adds to the desert look. Kind of like Big Bend.' Toward the back of the first lap, there are some wooden bears chasing a honey pot. The couple gets a new one every time they pass through New Mexico.
The main attraction is the wacky man band. Wire silhouettes of a group of thin men with crazy haircuts are playing the piano, guitar and fiddle. Various flowers and vines are growing around the wire frames.
'One day we might rig up the electricity so we can play music out here,' Mrs. Quesinberry said. 'We've got a nice bench out here. It might make a nice outdoor theater.'
But these are just a few of the items that give life to the couple's yard.
'There's so much fun and whimsy out here,' Mrs. Quesinberry said. 'I love it when people come out here and walk. They always see something unexpected. It's a fun little surprise and you get a smile.'

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