I grew up in the South where the beauty of landscape is legendary and story-telling is a way of life. My earliest memory is of creating miniature, magical worlds on tabletops, in closets, and out of doors under great big trees and then guiding my playmates (both real and imagined) through my kingdom. More recent memories are of larger magical worlds on tabletops, in flowerpots, and out of doors under great big trees and then guiding my playmates (sometimes known as customers and fellow artists) through my kingdom (my 12 foot tall copper gazebo peopled with Green Men, Faeries and other Mysterious Creatures!)
My husband Clark & I have lived in Missouri for 15 years. We own two historic houses (1868 & 1890) in Hermann, Missouri - a wonderful little town on the banks of the Missouri River. There's a beautiful historic district in Hermann with many 19th century houses.
I also have a very vivid memory of one early spring morning in the South. I was about eight and a friend and I were walking near a magnificent old white house that sat in the middle of a city block. The morning was misty and cool. As we walked by we were drawn into the garden: I can still smell and see the wisteria branches that arched over our heads and the azaleas that towered over our heads and lined the path in shades of pink, white and deep rose. I felt I had entered fairyland!
I am inspired by Dance, by Southern Landscapes, English Gardens, and Ancient Forests; by Folktales & Folk Traditions; by Archetypes and Comparative Mythology; by Artists Who Create Mythic Landscapes (from Shakespeare and William Faulkner to Howard Finster); and by Poetic Fiction, Painterly Films, and Narrative Painting and Sculpture.
I studied Literature and art at Columbia and USC and have a doctorate in English from USC. I did post-doctoral work as a Lilly Scholar at Duke University in Religion & Literature and had a National Endowment for the Humanities grant. More recently I have taken classes in metals and enameling at the University of Missouri and have done workshops with Deborah Lozier and Barbara Minor. I am taking further classes this summer in enamel painting, patination, and metal forming.
The whirling movement of dance, the take-your-breath-away beauty of color-filled gardens, the glow and colorability of copper — all these inspire my sculpture.
Imagine a small girl in a pale green silk tutu with green ribbons in her hair, whirling and dancing through a misty Southern garden filled with wisteria and azaleas. The light filters through the ancient oaks and gleams on her copper curls as she imagines she is a faerie princess dancing for the Queen of Faerieland. This was me at age six and is still the inner dancer of my dreams, the source of my inspiration. I am driven to convey the wonder of this seminal memory and the profound delight I experience in every dance and theatrical performance I see through the dancers I create from copper. I do tiny gesture drawings during each of the many performances I attend and then work on the details of the dancers hands and feet when I return to my studio. Once the drawing is complete, I form the figure from copper (the perfect metal for making my life-like garden dancers), adding my signature copper curls.
Is there anything more magical, more joyful than a child of any age dancing in a garden?
And is it any wonder I had to choose Copper Curls as the central element of my artistic expression, as my trademark, and as my website name?
GardenDance is the electronic, virtual version of Ace of Spades Garden Art, my real world business. I love the name of my website because all of my artwork is either inspired by gardens or by dance. And each of these - the Garden and the Dance - is a rich source of image, symbol, and myth. I also just like the image of Dancing in the Garden.
Ace of Spades Garden Art is the name of my real world business. ACE stands for Alice Calhoun Enterprises and Spades is the Garden Art Division. I'm not sure what the other divisions are. I sell my artwork from my studio in Hermann, Missouri and at Art and Garden Shows in the Midwest and South.