Client: Creative Alliance Manitou Springs
Location: Manitou Springs, CO, United States
Completion date: 2023
Artwork budget: $40,000
Design, Fabrication and Installation
Farris Wheel Studios, LLC
Dierk Van Keppel
Rock Cottage Glassworks
“Wild Contemplation” was commissioned by Creative Alliance Manitou Springs and then donated to the city. Standing in Fields Park in Manitou Springs, “Wild Contemplation” is inspired by the Colorado state flower—the columbine—which can often be found growing wild along the many trails that crisscross the mountainous terrain around Manitou. It stands about 12 feet tall on its pedestal and features 3 columbines in full bloom. It is crafted from stainless steel with a shiny patterned finish that gleams in the sun. The petals of the flowers feature thick glass in purple and blue tones that let sunlight stream through and cast colored shadows on the ground. At the bottom of the sculpture, the leaves of the columbine are designed to be benches so that visitors can sit and enjoy the natural surroundings of the park it adorns. This piece stands not only as a visual ode to the columbine and its deeply rooted connection to Colorado but also to honor the immense beauty of the natural landscape of the area. It invites you to reflect upon our responsibility to our ecosystems and the delicate balance between human creativity and the awe-inspiring wonders of the natural world.
Project goals were to expand the public art diversity and presence in the city with a piece that represents the culture of the community. Wild Contemplation was chosen for its celebration of native flora and fauna and its representation of the value placed on the natural environment by the Manitou Springs community.
The piece was a collaboration between designer and sculptor Amie Jacobsen and glass artist Dierk Van Keppel of Rock Cottage glassworks. The design by Amie Jacobsen required custom cast glass panels to be created. Amie's fabrication shop worked with Rock Cottage Glassworks to create custom molds for the glass to be cast in, and to choose a color pallet for the glass.
The molds are then turned over to Rock Cottage then casts the pieces using a "confetti" method to color the glass. Colored glass is blown into thin bulbs that are then broken into smaller shapes, much like confetti. The pieces of colored glass are layered into the bottom of the mold, and hot clear glass is poured over the top to form a cast panel with a watercolor like effect in the colored glass.
Once the glass is cast, it is placed into a fabricated framework designed to fit the petal shaped glass. Steel fabrication was done in Amie's fabrication/studio.