Exploring Austin’s Sparky Park mosaic wall

March 02, 2021

At Austin’s Sparky Park, craggy, curved partitions of karst limestone and blue slag glass show mosaics of seashells, ceramic tile, petrified wooden, and different discovered objects, all original into fantastical timber and photo voltaic methods. Rock arches join turret towers bejeweled with blue and silver gazing globes, making a fairy-tale atmosphere. It’s all a part of a public artwork set up within the North College neighborhood.

As a artistic re-imagining of an outdated electrical substation (the place sparks as soon as flew throughout thunderstorms, in accordance with legend), Sparky Park was constructed by means of a public/non-public partnership between the neighborhood affiliation, the Metropolis of Austin, and an organization wanting to put in a cell tower on the location.

To cover the eyesore of the cell tower and different mechanicals, native artist Berthold Haas (former co-creator of the enchanting, shell-studded Stone Palms backyard) was commissioned to assemble his fantastical wall.

An indication from 2008 lists the constructing supplies he used: karst stone, metal, mirror balls, varied stone, aggregates, masonry, petrified wooden, fossils, seashells, ceramic and located objects.

It’s a whimsical murals for the neighborhood and a sightseeing attraction for all of Austin.

Neighbors add to it by leaving little treasures, like this Frankenstein toy and lighter, within the karst cavities.

Listed here are somebody’s keys!

Late one afternoon in early February, I visited Sparky Park for the primary time, curious to see this place I’d examine over time.

A younger couple arrived on the identical time to take some selfies below the arches, so I explored the outer edges till they had been performed.

Is that this “tree” beaming messages to faraway galaxies?

How about this one? Is it a vase of glass-ball flowers? Or an otherworldly plant?

Past the stone arches, individuals had been picnicking on the garden and enjoying with their canine. This was in the course of the heat week earlier than the Texas snowpocalypse, and flowers had been blooming in a fairly backyard down the road.

As I wandered round, I out of the blue felt like I used to be being watched. Who are these blue-eyed, bug-eyed creatures?

It’s great to see outdated industrial websites like this changed into parks and artwork installations for neighbors to get pleasure from. Sparky Park is actually a spot to spark the creativeness.

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Digging Deeper: Information and Upcoming Occasions

New to central Texas? Find out about native Texas crops and gardening ideas in “Gardening for Newcomers,” a digital class on the Woman Fowl Johnson Wildflower Middle on March 6, from 9 to 11 am. Price is $35, with a reduction provided for members of the backyard.

Be part of the mailing record for Backyard Spark! Hungry to find out about backyard design from the consultants? I’m internet hosting a sequence of talks by inspiring backyard designers, panorama architects, and authors a couple of occasions a yr in Austin. (Whereas in-person talks are at the moment on hiatus as a result of pandemic, I plan to renew once more as quickly as attainable.) Talks are limited-attendance occasions that promote out shortly, so be a part of the Backyard Spark e-mail record to be notified prematurely. Merely click on this hyperlink and ask to be added.

All materials © 2021 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized copy prohibited.

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