Can you imagine driving through the little town of Connell in southeastern Washington (just off Highway 395, population 3,190) and finding flower sculptures towering more than three times the height of a tall man? Recently installed by Jean Whitesavage and her partner (and husband) NIck Lyle, the steel forged wildflowers, wheat and potato are scaled up enough to suit Connell's wide-open landscape..
You might be familiar with Jean's organic-looking metal work from the gates and sculptures at the Adobe campus in Fremont. But with these six new sculptures that refer to Connell's farming heritage and native wildlowers, Jean and Nick have reached new heights. Who besides someone with the sensibilities and talents of Jean could capture the delicate grace of a Shooting Star (Dodecatheon) in a giant metal sculpture??
We have the inspired partnership of the Washington State Art in Public Places Program, along with the City of Connell and the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center, to thank for commissioning "Prairie Flowers, Potatoes, and Wheat". The logistics of how the partners crafted such beautiful monstrosities - the Blazing Star, Fiddleneck, and Shooting Star are 17 feet tall! - in their Whidbey Island studio, then transported and assembled them to the far corner of the state, is mind-boggling. See more images at Whitesavageandlyle.