The Owl House

In Nieu Bethesda we visited The Owl House, the home of artist Helen Martin. For the last 25 years of her life (starting at age 50 in 1945), Helen created a cement and glass sculpture garden in her back yard. The sculpture garden is world famous as an example of Outsider Art, but I was more interested in the interior of her home, unchanged since the time of her death. Each room is a fantasy of light, colour, texture and eccentric details. Photos of naked women peer over green haired trolls. Her pantry is filled with the ground up coloured glass she used to cover the walls. I felt right at home!

On the stoep of Dani’s trout Fram, Mila explained about Helen Martin’s glass covered walls:
She got hundreds of glass bottles, and smashed them, so they were all about 2mm long on each side. Sometimes colors were mixed together, but mostly they were separated into just one color (see left hand photo below). Then she stuck the glass on the walls, with the pieces of glass very very close together. In the entrance hall she made a colorful sun on the roof! I wonder how she got it on the ceiling?

Helen must have felt a bit scared living there, because there was quite a big chance she’d bump into something (I do that all the time!). Or if you’re angry you might hurt yourself, because there’s so much glass, and when you’re angry you don’t really think about what you’re doing. And anyway she wasn’t that careful because she went blind from getting too much glass dust in her eyes – she could have worn goggles.

(p.s.) It wouldn’t have been that amazing if she’d made it out of glitter, because anyone could have done it, but you have to be brave to do it with glass.

Bea and Mila catch me posing like a moody twit (smile).

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