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5 Shovel Finials by Ralph Gilliam

  • Title: 5 Shovel Finials
  • Artist: Ralph Gilliam
  • Medium: Re-purposed garden implements
  • Size: 6'h x 6.5'w
  • Creation date: 2012
  • Added to collection: 2012
  • Donor: Student Art in the Garden project
  • Campus: Rock Creek
  • Location: The Learning Garden

Shovel Gallery is a grouping of five sculptures all made from shovel parts. I have selected remnants of shovels and either displayed them as they are or in some cases altered or grouped pieces as I see fit. I have gathered these pieces together in a garden gallery to give them attention as sculptural forms.

I am intrigued with the form of the common shovel in all of its variations developed for different purposes. Shovels, like many utilitarian things, can be taken for granted visually and are not usually thought of as things of beauty. I want people to see these shovels out of the ordinary context of using them to dig holes or shovel bark dust. When the shovel is presented in an unusual way, my hope is that the viewer will be caught off guard and see the forms presented with new eyes. I love that these worn implements can now return to a garden in a new role where people will appreciate them solely as the beautiful things they have always been.