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Yard Art Day

Okay friends. I’ve been bombarding you with STEP AWAY FROM THE SCREEN for almost 2 months now — over fifty different designs — and I have yet to show you any of the things that I’ve done when I actually stepped away from the screen. Soooo, wanna see some? Oh good — I hoped you were going to say yes!

I’ll start with my favorite so far.

But first, some background:

A few months ago my friend, and amazing photographer, Deborah Triplett had a dream.

“It is my dream that for one day people remember that child within them that likes to play creatively without any judgment or restraint. And to show the world that Charlotte is so much more than a banking town. And for us all to get insight into the city in which we live — to cross neighborhood boundaries. To be inclusive. Art can do this.”

She decided to call it Yard Art Day. And it got people excited. Very excited. So excited that over 200 homes in and around Charlotte participated by creating some art for their front yard. And on Labor Day, we all yard crawled around town to see everyone’s creations.

As soon as I heard about Yard Art Day, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. And since it was going to be in our front yard, I felt like it should be a whole-family project. So Bob and I started talking. And sketching. And talking. And sketching. We have a history of making things out of reclaimed palette wood, so we knew that was the medium we wanted to work in, but beyond that, our ideas were as diverse and all-over-the-place as they could possibly be. Eventually we settled on a basic concept: reinterpret a picket fence.

So Lucy and I went out to find reclaimable palettes, and Bob and Zoe started working on breaking them apart and cutting them into different lengths.

Then we “sketched” a layout with the garden hose — making curvy waves along the length of our yard — and placed the boards on the ground, following the curves.

Then we started pounding the boards in the ground.

And then it started raining. But we kept pounding.

Then. After all the boards were in the ground, we got out the spray paint.

Last but not least, we put in some signage. So the neighbors would know what the heck was going on in our yard.

And voila: Our finished Yard Art Day project — What’s (Y)ours Is…

The basic concept is this: a picket fence is intended to separate “ours” from “yours.” This side of the fence is ours; that side of the fence is yours. Our picket fence, instead, was intended to draw you into our space, not to separate you from it. We were inviting you to walk along it, wander with its curves, explore the space around it. As such, the fence was both ours and yours. A term we coined (Y)ours.

Here’s a quick video I made which also explains the basic concept of the piece. It’s just shot with my phone, so it’s nothing professional. But it enables you to see the whole fence, which is fun. And I explain a little more about our thought process, if you’re interested.

Our goal for Yard Art Day was to create something that we were proud of. Something beyond just decorating our front yard. Instead we wanted to create something interactive and interesting to look at that was also thought provoking. We were all four very happy with how our piece turned out. So happy that, in many ways, this project launched my whole Step Away from the Screen initiative. That’s why I wanted it to be the first Step Away project I showed you.

Do you have any yard art? Would you put art in your front yard? I’d love to hear.

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PS. We kept the art up for a few months. But eventually the grass grew too tall around the boards and we had to pull them up. This pile of wood impelled us to build a fire pit in our backyard and we invited friends over to make s’mores over our yard art with us. All in all a perfect project!