His name kept coming up…David Hess…a multifaceted artist whose imagination could embrace the concept the design team was exploring…to create a park where sculpture was an integral part…not stagnant pieces of art to watch but rather sculptures that children could climb and explore. They were imagining a wooden sculpture reminiscent of a ship that would embody Pierce’s love of the water and sailing. David was a perfect fit.
Over several months, there were many design elements that were explored and rejected. Others were embraced and further developed. Pierce’s love of poetry — how to demonstrate that? How to make it interactive? David and the design team wanted everything to have interactive and educational components. The wooden ship was rejected in favor of a metal sculpture that would be a monument to Pierce and his lifelong work with machines and transportation. David came up with three sculptures, each of which were towers of earth and metal with a steamroller or a construction vehicle or a plow on top. But, they didn’t seem right. David took the comments back from the design team — knowing that it had to capture the feeling of the man, the strength and the poetry within him and at the same time it had to be something that could inspire children to explore.
This process eventually evolved into a stainless steel marvelous blend of huge undulating sculptures that remind us of the ocean where children will climb and slide — that adults will watch in amazement. Something reminding us of a double horn that is both conical and eliptical. It was forged in Ohio by a company that manufactures food processing equipment — it took six months!
DELIVERY OF THE SCULPTURE
FABRICATION OF THE FENCE IN THE STUDIO
A stainless steel fence that will glisten and shine, it’s height broken with 150 dazzling steel balls that create a graceful pattern. Originally added to keep toddlers from running into traffic, it’s become so much more. It’s made of 5,000 linear feet of stainless steel tubing weighing 10,000 lbs — it took 10 weeks to forge this in his workshop in Phoenix, Maryland where he keeps three craftsman working full time.
From left to right: Eric Trudel, David Hess, George Hess, Aric Wanveer and Alex Larsen
DELIVERY OF THE FENCE TO PIERCE’S PARK
DIGGING FENCE HOLES
WELDING AND POLISHING
From Left to Right: Alex Larsen, David Hess, Jessie Reid, and Aric Wanveer
The gate latch is a handmade stainless steel “Butterfly Latch” . Its called this because each wing can function as a lifter to allow the gate to open in or out.
A musical fence built with aluminum sound tubes is shaped like three large bow ties, echoing the shape of the large sculpture. Each instrument incorporates both pentatonic and diatonic scales and can be played by both children and adults.
Three large, rolled, curved, triangular stainless steel plates will have the donors named laser cut into them — with the sun reflecting off of them like sails on the water, all those who have worked hard to create the park will be forever remembered on these sculptures.
A 40,000 lb boulder, the willow tunnel, four ponds and the berms are all integrated into the final design.
Finally, the poetry that Pierce loved so much will be forever treasured by everyone who walks through the park as they read the homophones scattered throughout the paving…seller / cellar…knight / night….chaste / chased…and hundreds more. Because, how do you pick a poem for a man who was always discovering new works?
By allowing each person to create their own poetry! Every visit to the park will be a unique experience because no two trips will include the same light reflecting off the ponds or the sculptures. Each visit will include a slightly different route on the path with the pavers…different sets of homophones will jump out at you!
Billy Beall surveys his project with deserved pride
After months of hard work and effort, the work on Pierce’s Park is finally coming to a close. For more than a year a whole team of multi-talented and dedicated individuals have labored to make this project a success: plans were planned, funds were raised, sculptures sculpted and the earth moved, shifted, and tweaked just so in order that the park would look its very best.
Winter has come to Baltimore and the park’s show-piece Willow Tunnel is in a dormant state, but spring is sure to arrive soon and with it will come the park’s official opening and ribbon-cutting on Sunday, May 6th at two o’clock in the afternoon.