The Flying Leaves at Texas Lutheran University

The Unveiling Ceremony

“The Flying Leaves”

Texas Lutheran University

Student Alumni Center
November 14, 2014

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Dr. Stuart Dorsey President, TLU

Dr. Stuart Dorsey
President, TLU

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Mr. Rick Roberts, Vice-President for Development and Alumni Relations

 

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Comments by Marika:

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the debut of The Flying Leaves.

Creativity flowers in the doing, in the experiencing of life, and in having community.  Over 30,000 years ago, artists connected their communities by creating art on the walls of caves.  Since, the methods of artists have changed while the impulse to connect has not.  “The Flying Leaves,” are a perfect example.

In commissioning this Bas-relief wood sculpture, the TLU Development Office called upon the creativity of our community to make a statement out of a piece of American walnut.

As a great force of nature capable of spreading beauty and understanding, this piece of wood pictures the clear channel of spiritual communion between the university and the students.  Thank you TLU for giving us the opportunity to connect with you through a state of creative grace and a sense of the sublime.

I would like to pay tribute to a friend Dr. Evelyn Streng who left us today.  She was a constant inspiration in the making of the leaves.  She did not handle mallet and chisels but truly she had a hand in fashioning the message of the sculpture.  In September she told me that even if she is not present for the unveiling ceremony she will be there with us.

Having you here today is a truly humbling experience.  So allow me to end now by thanking each and every one of you for celebrating the arts and for being part of this community.

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The Flying Leaves American Walnut H 24" W 108" D 2"

The Flying Leaves
American Walnut
H 24″ W 108″ D 2″

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Detail

Detail

 

 

 

 

 

Plaque for  “Flying Leaves”

The TLU Development Office project begins with straight-forward design specifications of a tree and leaves for the artwork.  From there, the idea flows into the realm of visual artistry.  The rendezvous of ideas and art leads to a tree with a strong trunk deeply rooted to a rich landscape.  Carrying the essence of the concept into a Bas-relief wood sculpture, a locally harvested American Walnut, gives birth to “The Flying Leaves”.

The symbolism behind the tree and the leaves is the interconnectivity between the university and its graduates.

  • The tree with its many limbs, represents Texas Lutheran University;
  • The flying leaves are the graduating students who after a period of learning boldly leave the university with the mission of “Live to Inspire”; and
  • The landscape is the journey ahead into the greater community.

The wisdom of the narrative resides in the harmonious cycle of this interconnectivity.  The seeds of knowledge germinate, the leaves spread the news and the world becomes a better place.

The artists

Marika (Marie-Carmel Bordes) a Seguin artist, originally from the Caribbean Island of Haiti, is the official sculptor of “The Flying Leaves”.  With a wonderful moment of celebration in mind, she leads the concept of the Bas-relief sculpture with the assistance of Howard E. Crunk, a TLU graduate in the arts, class of 2007.   Together with mallet and chisels, they testify to the indelible legacy of the alma mater and the alumni.

Dennis Martin and Marika Bordes

Creating Sculptures with Marika: The Video

The Sculpting Process

Sculpting wood is a time-consuming and labor-intensive effort requiring imagination and discipline. This brief video gives the viewer a window to the sculptor’s arduous journey from a piece of raw wood to a finished work of art.  Join the sculptor as she creates the following sculptures:

Plenitude

The sculpture is a commission to celebrates the birth of a first grandchild.

The Little Prince

Marika made this sculpture as the center piece for her solo exhibition at Bihl Haus Arts.

 The Flying Leaves

The Flying Leaves, a work-in-progress, is a commission for Texas Lutheran University.

 

The Guadalupe Regional Medical Center: The Artist Wall

The Guadalupe Regional Medical Center: The Artist Wall

Sculptures by Marika and photographs by Dennis Martin are on display at the Guadalupe Regional Medical Center Artist Wall through December 2013. This is your opportunity to see sculptures that are on public view for the first and possibly the last time; they are on loan from private collections.  Also, The Contortionist is on view for the first time.  In addition to the Artist Wall,  the medical center has two of Marika’s sculptures in their permanent collection.  Maternitree is at the entrance to the Birthing Center and the Cross of St. Bridget is in the chapel.  We hope you enjoy the exhibit.

The GRMC Artist Wall

The GRMC Artist Wall

The Arts And Community: The Bird Sculpture Sanctuary of the Seguin Walnut Springs Park

This article by Marika appears in The Third Dimension: Newsletter for the Texas Society of Sculptors 1st Quarter Issue of 2013

Seguin: A Bird Sanctuary City

Seguin: A Bird Sanctuary City

The Arts and Community: The Bird Sculpture Sanctuary of the Seguin Walnut Springs Park

The seeds for The Bird Sculpture Sanctuary of Walnut Springs Park were  sown  years ago.  In the1920s, Robert Hugman, who would design the San Antonio River Walk, approached the city with plans for the park and it was completed in1941.  Then the park fell into disrepair.  In 2006, the citizens approved a bond issue and the park was officially reopened in 2011.   The recently rejuvenated park in the heart of the city won two prestigious awards: The Texas Recreation and Parks Society Lone Star Legacy Park designation and the Texas Downtown Association President’s Award for Best Public Improvement.

View of Park

View of Park

The other part of the story begins in the not so distant past with a Seguin Garden Club project tasked with making Seguin a bird sanctuary city.  Although, the city received the designation, little was done with the idea.  There are two signs announcing the bird sanctuary city as you enter the city from the east.  One is on US Highway 90 and the other on US Highway Alternate 90.  After moving to Seguin in 2005 and seeing these signs, sculptor Marika Bordes kept this knowledge in the back of her mind.

When Marika and a fellow member of the Seguin Oakwood Art League (SOAL)  discussed the need of more visibility for SOAL they realized an excellent way was to enter the annual Holiday Stroll Parade.  The concept of a bird sanctuary city gave flight to her imagination and she suggested creating bird costumes.  SOAL went on to win awards in this and other parades using the “birds” concept.  The birds stayed with Marika.  After many walks through Walnut Springs Park, a bird sculpture sanctuary took form.  Conferring with her students, volunteers and community members, the decision was made to approach the city.

Preparing for the First SOAL Parade: Grackle and Owl

Preparing for the First SOAL Parade: Grackle and Owl

The team soon realized that besides creating sculptures and receiving approvals,  the project would require raising funds.  By the time, Marika and her team presented the project to the city council, the Department of Parks and Recreation recommended approval of the project and the Seguin Chamber of Commerce awarded a Help Seguin Shine grant.  The City Council, not only unanimously approved the project but to the surprise of some, provided funding.  The work began to sculpt eight  birds and raise the additional funds.

Marika and three students, Barry Duncan, Howard Crunk, and Jimmy Schmidt, set out to design and make the sculptures in wood, metal or a combination of the two materials.  They selected birds native to the area: the  hawk, roadrunner, heron, owl, and scissor-tailed flycatcher.  This was a team effort and was most especially seen in the making of the primary sculpture for the park, the hawk.  The body of the hawk is made of bois d’arc* and the wings of metal.  The team had to develop an internal mechanism to prevent the movement of the wings from damaging the wood during high winds and to secure it to the entrance column to the park so that literally, it would not fly away in a storm.  Many hours were spent just in the designing and engineering of this sculpture.

Measuring the Hawk

Measuring the Hawk

Fundraising events and in-kind contributions were key.  Volunteers came to the rescue to raise additional funds during a key fundraiser, “Art for the Park” held during Seguin’s annual ArtsFest.  The fundraiser offered donation levels, such as, a poster signed by the sculptors, placement on the donor plaque, and “adoption” of a bird or a family of birds.  Most of the food, beverages, and entertainment were donated.  There were also proceeds from the silent and live auctions of art.  A local steel fabricator donated materials and technical knowledge and the city installed the sculptures.

Installation of the Hawk

Installation of the Hawk

The artists and associates set out on a mission to create a masterpiece for a public space in Seguin.  Their vision was a cultural landmark and an economic engine for the city, businesses, and the community.  They wanted to give the community the first major work of public art done by local artists.  They envisioned a bird sculpture sanctuary that would enhance visitor appreciation of the park and its flora and fauna.  Their art would add a dimension of beauty that would be another incentive for people to visit and enjoy Walnut Springs Park and Seguin.  They also saw that by  strengthening Seguin as a bird sanctuary city, those interested in birds and public art more people would visit the the park.  Also, the birds would be an attraction for children and add to their education and appreciation for wildlife.

Community Support

Community Support

The sculpture sanctuary came into being because of the vision people had for the city nearly a century ago, the dedication and support of a community, and the tenacity and dreams of the artists.  As marika said “We had to believe in the results.  Faith is to believe in what one does not see.  Yet the artist sees what she believes is there.  The dedication of the Seguin Walnut Springs Park Bird Sculpture Sanctuary was on September 18, 2012.

  • Other names for bois d’arc include osage orange and horse apple.
The Hawk

The HawkThe Arts and Comm

The Owl

The Owl

The Cross for The Road to Emmaus Seventh Installment

 

 

From the beginning, the creation of the sculpture revolved around the question “Who is to hold the cross?”  We tend to see the death of Jesus through Michelangelo’s Pieta, the portrayal of  Mary, the mother, holding the lifeless body of her Son.  But in the reality of this journey, we are closer to the weaknesses of Mary Magdalene than to the holiness of the Mother of Jesus.


Walnut Springs named a Lone Star Legacy: Future Home of the Bird Sculpture Sanctuary

Congratulations to the City of Seguin and the Department of Parks and Recreation!  

From the Seguin Gazette

Walnut Springs named a Lone Star Legacy

Bob Thaxton | Posted: Friday, March 2, 2012 12:00 am

 

The Texas Recreation and Park Society has presented the city’s Parks and Recreation Department with an award designating Walnut Springs Park as a Lone Star Legacy Park.

The award presentation was made Wednesday night during opening ceremonies of the society’s 2012 Institute and Expo held at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center.

Seguin was represented at the presentation by Tim Patek, director of parks and recreation; Crystal Miranda, parks superintendant; Mary Jo Filip, Main Street director; and District 6 City Councilman Steve Tschoepe.

The group attended the event and then drove back Wednesday night.

Patek said the city submitted its application for the award in January and was among 13 cities that applied. Of those, nine were chosen for designation this year as Lone Star Legacy Parks.

“A Lone Star Legacy Park is a park that holds special prominence in the local community and the state of Texas,” TRAPS says in its description of the Legacy Park program. “These parks have endured the test of time and have become iconic to those who have visited, played and rested on their grounds. Designation as a Lone Star Legacy is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on a park.”

Legacy Parks must be at least 50 years old, designated as a public park and must meet at least one of the following four criteria: Representing distinctive design and/or construction; be associated with historic events or sites; be associated with events specific to the local community or state; and be the location of unique natural features.

Applications were evaluated by a panel of seven judges who applied points for each criterion. Points were tallied and applications with the highest scores were awarded the Legacy Park designation.

All parks designated as Legacy Parks will be featured in marketing materials including rack cards, the society’s website, public service announcements and other collateral materials. “These materials will be used to promote the parks and their communities as a part of heritage tourism,” TRAPS said.

Patek said city officials are hoping to have a plaque installed at Walnut Springs Park describing its designation as a Lone Star Legacy Park.