Wowhaus Goes to Town


One of the wonderful things about having a rural home and studio is that going to town is always pretty thrilling, even for a long day of Wowhaus project-related meetings, as is occasionally our charge. Ene and I gussy up a bit, put on our shoes, pack up and head south, catching up on the news along the way. Yesterday, we spent the morning pouring over local historical archives in the City of Richmond’s Public Library, doing visual research for an upcoming public art project for which we are delighted to be finalists. Most of our public projects are urban by nature, and we find our new-found rural perspective helps us to maintain a fresh outlook on the challenges of the day; the contrast between the two enables us to keep them in balance. We do keep a small studio in Oakland, and dream one day of having more of a dual residence.


Late 19th century map of Oakland showing major creeks

We proceeded to a meeting with Kristen Hathaway and Leslie Estes of the City of Oakland’s Watershed and Stormwater Management Program to brainstorm how best to articulate a system of Watershed Markers for the City, which we have been commissioned to design. We were excited to compare maps from the past with the contemporary geography as we navigate the process of siting the markers for optimal impact, looking for converging natural and cultural features in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic.


‘Grumpus Bumpus’ is hollow, with a resonating aperture on the bottom, so doubles as a musical instrument when a stick is dragged across its back.

After a late lunch at Vik’s Chaat House in Berkeley, our final stop was at Berkeley’s Artworks Foundry to inspect the patina on our bronze sculptures for the Sunnyside Conservatory in San Francisco. The patina looked great, and the sculptures will be ready to install upon approval by the City of San Francisco’s Arts Commission, who are funding the project. Once installed, we will be hosting a neighborhood workshop in the fall when people gather in the park for their annual pumpkin carving. The neighbors are eager to depict our Sunnyside Menagerie creatures as jack-o-lanterns, which will be the perfect welcome to their final home.