Thursday, August 11, 2022

Frogue Magazine's Best of 2022


Fine Art Froguery

Frogue Magazine has named its Best Dressed Amphibians of 2022 These resplendent critters will make their debut in September at the North Carolina Botanical Garden at the Sculpture in the Garden show. .In this post, I will show how I make my Frogues from galvanized steel flashing sheets. First, I make a paper template of the frogue shape and mark it in the flat metal sheet.

The metal shapes are cut out with chicken boning scissors.

Using chasing and repose techniques, the flat shape is made into a 3D form.

I cut a piece if wood to fit inside the frogue belly.

The wood piece is epoxy glued into the belly. 

Glass eyeballs are glueed in the head and a metal top of head is added.

The bottom of the frogue is painted with black exterior house paint.

The top surface of the frog is painted using a pointillism technique. this allows the shiny metal to show, giving a sense of light and movement.

In this series, I have used primary, secondary colors and black and white exterior house paint.

Come to the Botanical Garden and select your favorite Frogue.


Saturday, July 30, 2022

Food For Sex

 The Naughty Little Secret of Pollination

Pollination is a complex mutual process that has evolved to insure the survival of animal and plant species. The pollinator species seeking food transfers gametes of the plant species producing offspring. The pollinator receives nutrition while the plant increases genetic diversity in the population

The prototype for this series was a Trillium and a generic bee.

This hanging sculpture, created in galvanized steel and decorated with exterior house paint, now lives with Becky in Chapel Hill, NC.

These sculptures are made from galvanized roof flashing cut out with Joyce Chen chicken boning scissors. They are shaped by chasing and repose techniques. Details are painted in exterior house paint using pointillism to produce a light and motion effect. The series will be on exhibit at the NC Botanical Garden starting in September.

Blue Salvia and Ruby Throated Hummingbird


Hummingbirds drink up to two times their body weight per day. As they move from plant to plant, they carry pollen. They pollinate the native wildflowers and decorative cultivars. Hummingbirds are only found in the western hemisphere.

Moonflower and Hawkmoth

The hawk moth drinks nectar from sweet-smelling flowers, many of which bloom at night. Most hawk moth species have a long proboscis. This hollow, tongue-like appendage is used to access nectar deep inside flowers. Pollen sticks to the moth’s face, proboscis, and legs when it feeds. It then transports the pollen to successive flowers.

Bee Balm and Hummingbird Moth

Hummingbird moths share many common characteristics with hummingbirds. Both of these creatures are effective pollinators of many of the same flowers, and hummingbird moths also sip nectar from many of the same blooms that hummingbirds prefer. 

Dogwood and Honeybee

Honeybees, which came from Europe to North America with colonists, are social insects and live together in nests or hives. Honeybees are remarkable for the “dancing” movements they perform in the hive to communicate information to their fellow bees about the location of a particular food source in the surrounding area. Honeybees are America’s primary commercial pollinator. Plants include almonds, non-citrus fruit and decorative trees, berries, melons, and squash.

Daisy and Bumble Bee

Big fuzzy bumblebees pollinate flowers through a method called “buzz pollination,” a rapid vibrating motion which releases large amounts of pollen onto the bee. In most situations, “buzz pollination” will allow a bumblebee to pollinate a flower in a single visit. They are important pollinators of wild flowering plants and crops. As generalist foragers, they do not depend on any one flower type. However, some plants do rely on bumble bees to achieve pollination.

Vinca and Blue Orchard Bee

The blue orchard bee is a native solitary mason bee in the United States and Canada. It is of great interest for use as a native pollinator of fruit trees and blueberries. Blue Orchard Bees emerge early in the spring and therefore pollinate early flowering species.

Squash and Mason Bee

Another solitary native bee, Mason bees are efficient pollinators of native plants such as pumpkins, beans and squash.

Sunflower and Monarch Butterfly

Monarchs are not the most efficient pollinators, they can and do pollinate some plants. Monarchs are considered a flagship species or a poster species for all pollinators.  Goldenrod, Butterfly Bush, Cosmos, Lantana, Lilac, and Zinnia are some plants that attract Monarchs.

Hibiscus and Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Among the nectar plants of the tiger swallowtail are butterfly bush, cone flower, milkweed, phlox, lilac, ironweed, and wild cherry. 

Poppy and Sulphur Butterfly


This pollinator pairing is inspired by one of my favorite Van Gogh paintings. I saw it on one of my visits to his museum in Amsterdam.

 English Daisy and Azure Blue Butterfly

The Azure Blue is found in North America and Great Britain. It is found in a variety of grassy habitats. The brightly colored males are conspicuous, but females are more secretive.

Magnolia and Lady Bug Beetle

 Magnolias among the oldest of the flowering plants, evolving earlier than many common pollinators such as bees, butterflies. They accordingly developed flowers for pollination by beetles and flies, which were the primary insect pollinators 100 million years ago.

Sculpture in the Garden 2022  
North Carolina Botanical Garden -- September to December
Food for Sex -- The Naughty Little Secret of Pollination -- Forrest C. Greenslade, PhD

The accompanying notes are paraphrased from a variety of online sources without reference. I intend them only to give perspective to my thinking in creating the works.


Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Reflections from the Frog Pond


Reflections from the Frog Pond
A prose poem

As long as I live
I won't forget 
when I first saw it
Just a kid of 8 or 10 

I was seldom indoors
No my natural habitat 
was the woods and creek beds
that edged our little town

A world extended
by intermittent visits 
to the nature section 
of the school library

My niche included rabbits 
blue jays monarch butterflies 
giant tree fungi fossils and minnows 
that I stalked and read about

Then, I found the frog pond
just an old muddy pool 
on an abandoned farm
where cows had drunk in better times

I was attracted by the growing ends 
of cat tails emerging from 
drying and shredded leaves 
at the interface of ground and cloudy water

It was about one foot
from this muddy edge
that I saw the jelly-like mass
that would frame my entire life

There gently undulating 
just beneath the pond's surface
warmed by mid-spring sunlight
was a clutch of frog eggs

I returned to the pond each afternoon 
on my walk home from school
alone so as not to expose my precious discovery
to the clods I otherwise considered friends

They would not understand
They would stomp
splash and destroy
laugh and leave

Alone I observed for the first time 
that incredible first phase 
of every life
embryonic development

I brought the old magnifying glass 
that my grandmother
who was nearly blind
used to see the Sunday funny papers

Through that bulging eye
I watched amazed 
as randomly assorted eggs
white on one side black on the other 

Rotated to position
all of their black halves
capturing the sun's warmth

Over the next several weeks I watched them divide and grow into spheres 
elongate into rippling crescents 
and hatch into swimming tadpoles

Each evening I read about 
amphibian embryonic development 
in the growing pile of overdue library books 
that accumulated in my small bedroom

This nascent glimpse of the connection between
things living now and in the future 
was the point of departure 
for my entire life's passion and journey 

On subsequent visits to the pond
I watched the tadpoles
transform into frogs 
resorbing their tails to grow legs

I began to note new relationships
complex interactions
connecting the embryo/tadpole/frog 
and its pond environment

Looking back, this first glimpse of 
one of today’s most vexing problems
came from my young boy's glance 
of frog embryos and their environment

I began to perceive
mammalian embryos
including human embryos
in their environments

I began to perceive the interrelation between 
the emerging individuality 
of a developing human fetus and 
the individuality of a pregnant woman

I began to understand 
a dramatic tension between 
interdependence and autonomy 
of fetus and mother

I began to recognize 
the incredible responsibility that 
even this glimpse of the human reproduction 
had placed on me

It wasn't until I was a teenager 
that I heard about contraception
It wasn't until I was in college
that I learned about abortion

I worked most of my life
in the turbulent vortex of 
women's health population
and environment

And even these controversial issues 
have always felt like sub-plots 
to that main mystery of 
emerging fetal and maternal life 

Sometimes, when the noise around me
reduces to a level that 
I can hear myself think
this is what emerges 

People who have an abiding belief 
in the sanctity of life people 
who share fundamental beliefs 
in the rights of women

People concerned about
population growth and who care about our planet's future
all have a great deal in common

Yes there are dynamic tensions 
at the intersections of these issues
important tensions 
But there is common ground

I return to that frog pond of my boyhood 
often in my mind
especially when the din of conflict 
rings loudest in my ears

And there with the sun's low glint 
on muddy water
with iris shafts slowly bending 
to gentle surface ripples

With the trill of tree frogs 
or chirps of leopard frogs
or croaks of bull frogs
I see this common ground

And it occurs to me that each of us 
must have such places
deep springs where fundamental values
flow free and clear

And it seems to me that in these times 
with harsh diatribe screaming from the poles
we must each find our own frog pond 
hidden somewhere in memory

And, visit there often.

Forrest C. Greenslade, PhD
Written sometime in the 1990s
Revisited December 2021

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Welcome to Dogwood Alley

My artist friend and neighbor Beverly Crow commissioned me to sculpt an arch over her new garden gate. She created a design inspired by Dogwood branches.

Bev and I chalked a scaled up layout on the concrete floor of my shop.

I used a cutting wheel on my angle grinder to cut several segments of rebar and we began to experiment with the shape of two branches arching together.

Using a Dogwood leaf photo as reference, I sketched leaf shapes on 16 gage cold rolled steel.



I cut the leaves out with a Cobra oxy/acetylene cutting torch 

To test the design concept. we prepared a small maquette blossom from scrap brass. 


Using a Dogwood blossom photo as a pattern. I cut flower petals out from copper

Bev and I experimented with the design by moving the components around on the shop floor. 

I connected the rebar branch segments and steel leaves using an arc welder. 

I assembled the copper blossoms with JB epoxy glue. 

I welded short pieces of steel rod into stamen/pestle elements and attached them on the copper blossoms with epoxy. 

I fabricated assembly units at the base of each branch for insertion into the upright posts of Bev’s garden gate. 

Bev designed a device to couple the two branch units and I fabricated it in steel sheet and rod. 

We assembled the Dogwood branches and Bev used copper tubing to fashion a vine coiling around the branches. I made leaves for the vine and attached them to the assembled arch. 


Hats off to collaboration