Monday, February 27, 2012

Visitations: First Week in March

At our garden’s edge
A screech owl makes its castle
In a hollow tree

Monday, February 20, 2012

Visitations: Fourth week in February

A red shouldered hawk
On watch high atop the tree
Run little mouse run

Friday, February 17, 2012

Poetry and Art Just for Kids at the Joyful Jewel

Sunday March 4th from 3 to 4 PM
Pittsboro NC
Contact: Mariah Wheeler

Artist, writer and speaker Dr. Forrest Greenslade ( ) will read Haiku poems from the book Haicooo: Little Poems for Children, written with his daughter Kathryn Armstrong at Pittsboro’s Joyful Jewel ( ). Haicooo was inspired by the birth of his granddaughter Nicole. Greenslade wrote the poems and Kathryn illustrated the book with charming cartoon-like animals. “This is a great way to introduce poetry and art to
children,” Greenslade asserts. “We have a great time when we share these poems and pictures with kids,” adds Armstrong. “Haicooo is the first book that Nicole read.”

This father/daughter team has collaborated for years. When Forrest worked as a scientist and executive in the health care industry, Kathryn designed presentation and educational materials for him. Her first professional designs were produced at the age of 10. Greenslade is now retired from all that, and works full time as a local painter and sculptor. Armstrong works as designer and social media expert at Lehigh Valley Hospital In Allentown PA, where Nicole was born, with a bit of drama. The hospital neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) responded, and Nic is now thriving. The book of poetry for kids is dedicated to the NICU, and a portion of profits is donated to it.

In addition to presenting his little poems to kids, Greenslade will lead them in creating haiku of their own. Parents and grandparents are invited to bring their little poets and artists to the Joyful Jewel to enjoy this exciting creative experience. The Joyful Jewel is a community of over 90 artists in historic downtown Pittsboro.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Visitations: Third Week in February

A male cardinal
Flies into low pine branches
Igniting my soul

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How to Build a Bird

The Forrest Dweller Sculpture Garden is home to many large avian sculprures created in concrete and steel. Here is how I make them. Click on the photos to enlarge them.

Working from a very rough sketch, I calculate the sizes of metal components that I will use. Using a band saw, I cut pieces of rebar and angle iron to form the armature or skeleton of the bird. Using a cutting torch, I cut wings from cold rolled sheet steel. These elements are welded, using a stick welder, into the armature.

I then cover the armature with chicken wire. This is important to the concrete adhering to the armature.

I mix a concrete composit of cement, peat moss and acrylic fortifyier into a mixture that looks and feels like clay that you would dig from a river bank. My procedure is published on my website ( The concrete is pushed into the the chicken wire to sculpt the shape of the bird. I make eyes from half marbles, and affix them into the bird's face.

The entire sculpture is them coated with a surface treatment. Here, I used a bronze metal coating from Sculpt Nouveux. The surface was then tarnished to produce a somewhat antique appearance.

These pieces are very heavy, so I often engineer them in more than one piece to be assembled at the display site. For this sculpture, I created a concrete rock to serve as the standard for the bird. First, I welded a strong armature.

Then, I sculpted a rock with holes to accept the feet of the bird.

Such bird sculptures are among my favorites to create.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Visitations: Second Week in February

First sip of coffee
First light through naked branches
Sycamore sunrise

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Visitations: First Week in February

Helebores blooming
A Carolina winter’s
Joyful jewelry