I’m looking for ideas and sources for garden statuary that do NOT feature religious iconography — like St Francis or the Buddha — but are not kitschy — like gnomes or dinosaurs.
Any ideas for garden art for atheist adults? -Elizabeth
Wow, you’re right. It’s a bit difficult to find garden statues that don’t sway religious or kitschy-as-hell! On my first try, I found that dinosaur-eating-gnomes garden statue, which combined TWO of your no-nos. But really… maybe it is EXACTLY what you’re looking for? It might be the perfect garden statue of all time.
Anyway… I worked hard, tried to stay away from all things “zen” and “gnome,” and rounded up some garden art that adult atheists might actually like!
Any other anti-kitsch, non-religious garden-havers out there? What garden art did you dig up?
Comments on No gnomes or buddhas: Garden art for atheist adults
We have a little guy we brought home from the Sterling Forest Renaissance Faire in New York. His name is Frank and he likes to stick his tongue out at people. We hope to go back soon to get his brother.
I found a link to the creator of the trolls! They are great!
Ok, that is adorable. I might actually get one…
Design Toscano has a lot of cool shit: http://www.designtoscano.com/category/garden+statues.do?nType=1
Oi! I should have read this before I posted!
garden centers and art fairs are great sources for this kinds of stuff. go with animals, flowers, butterflies, bugs, frogs, etc. just look around and see what strikes your fancy.
I’ve been slowly filling my gardens up with items I’ve bought at antique stores. Most are made of cast iron. A little fairy, a turtle, a frog, a leaf man hanging mask/ face thing, etc.
I’ve also liked some of the fairy gardens I’ve been seeing at a few garden shows. They can definitely lean kitschy but a few I’ve seen have been simple and could be tucked into your regular garden.
In my native language, the word for garden gnome is “garden dwarf” so, being a huge geek, I got myself a literal “garden dwarf”, namely a Thorin Oakenshield action figure (it’s made from resin so it’s kinda waterproof – I hope, he just moved outside a couple of days ago). I aspire to get all the Hobbit Company dwarves plus Gimli at some point. 😀
Toscano’s is pricey, but it’s got the best selection of statuary I know about. (I’m not an atheist, but I respect your right to be one.) If you find something there that you like but can’t afford, you can probably google the name of the sculpture and find it somewhere else as well, more cheaply made of plaster rather than their patented resin formula. Although they do have religious statuary of all faiths (and some you might not have heard of) and kitsch (like a cat chorus line) they also have quite a bit, both modern and ancient, of no particular persuasion. Some of the categories available include animals, sports figures, mermaids, lovers, skulls and skeletons, and nudes. Fountains make a wonderful option that adds sound, texture (mist) and bird-attraction; they also come in secular forms more often than not. You might also use natural objects, like small and interestingly shaped boulders. stacked stones, large boughs, or driftwood logs with interesting root structure. I hope this helps you create a garden where you can sigh with contentment!
I have some lovely skeleton lawn flamingos named Fred and Ginger. I used to make them costumes for different seasons.
If you’re into baseball, a few teams have started handing out player, manager, and mascot lawn “gnomes” as mid-week game giveaways. You can find some for sale on ebay, usually pretty cheap. I found an archive of the ones given away so far here, http://www.stadiumgiveawayexchange.com/major-league-baseball-giveaway-fad-garden-gnome/
Check out antique stores. We picked up some garden rabbits and snails a few years ago at a local antique/junk store.
Buying a DIY mosaic kit is another way to go. My mother has one I made circa 1998, using bits of old jewelry. My daughter made one this fall prior to starting junior kindergarten, and we plan on her doing on at the start of every school year.
I’m not sure where you live but stores like hobby lobby have some cute figures and you can get them pretty cheap. I also check Amazon. But lately I’ve just been asking friends as gifts to find me a cute garden creature. I have little dragons, gnomes, turtles, bunnies and birds tucked all around my yard and I love them so much. I also have that dinosaur eating gnomes one peeking out of some plants that makes my guest laugh when they come visit.
I have found that rubbish tips that sell things the workers find can be a source! Workers may also know how to weld and can make cool things from what they find.
You could also try graduation exhibitions of art schools that have metalworking.
I’m am an atheistic agnostic who embraces the kitsch, but my gnomes have style. I’ve been given two copies of the gnome nomming dinosaur, so one lives inside and one lives outside. I have a zombie gnome, a mooning gnome, several battle ready gnomes (with future plans to modify more gnomes ourselves to stage a full gnome battle), a gnome that’s just beheaded a flamingo, and a gnome eating pie and reading a book. They’re an industrious and busy bunch. I also have random odds and ends, many of which I got at sample sales when I worked at HQ for Earthbound Trading Company. I have ceramic creatures and stone globes and obelisks from them. I likewise inherited ceramic frogs and a metal and glass dragonfly from my mother’s garden when she moved. I also have a metal obelisk-shaped trellis that’s a focal point whether or not vines are actively growing on it. Honestly my biggest challenge is to not put out too much yard art.
I have a friend who’s a blacksmith and she makes lovely garden sculptures and furniture: http://bigblackhousedesign.co.uk/products/sculpture-park/
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