Lions of Sculpturedale in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Lions of Sculpturedale (photo: Kathy Diemer)

In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight . . . yet that is not the case at Sculpturedale in Kent, Connecticut, where lots of animals roam and none are sleeping.  As you wander about the beautifully landscaped property of creator Denis Curtiss, it takes little imagination to find yourself in the wilds of Africa, with sounds of elephants trumpeting and lions roaring in the distance.  And not only jungle mammals are represented on Denis’s estate, rather giraffes, elephants and deer cavort with smaller critters such as frogs, bunnies and turtles, while remaining tolerant of the domestic dogs, cats, goats, pigs and roosters. 

Tall Giraffe at Sculpturedale in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Tall Giraffe at Sculpturedale (photo: Kathy Diemer)

When you experience his kingdom, it’s easy to see that Denis has more than an artistic eye.  His sculptures were formed from his real life experiences traveling and living amongst many exotic creatures.  Denis finds giraffes to be interesting yet confusing, asking: “How can something so ungainly be so graceful?”  His visit on the Masai Mara was especially inspiring, as he witnessed a newly born giraffe loping with its umbilical cord still attached.  Having lived with camels for a decade, Denis was able to observe them frolicking about the landscape-but warns that they were just as dangerous as deer when it comes to venturing into the road.   And Denis has a special fascination when it comes to his beloved elephants, sharing this information:

Young Elephants at Sculpturedale in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Young Elephants strolling at Sculpturedale (photo: Kathy Diemer)

“Elephants are one of the most magnificent creatures. I have spent time among both African and Indian elephants, camped in the Ngorongoro Crater near free roaming herds. I have watched working elephants in Thailand, and visited orphans at a Sri Lankan sanctuary. Bringing these images home with me, my studio is surrounded by life size steel elephants now, and these continue to be one of my most popular sculptures with my collectors.”

Playful Goat at Sculpturedale in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Playful Goat at Sculpturedale (photo: Kathy Diemer)

As I wandered amongst this collaboration of skillfully created beasts, feelings of awe and deep respect flowed through me.  There is a deep connection evident between creator/artist Denis and all of his steel pets. Each structure possesses a sense of movement even as it stands solemnly in front of you, and every animal is strategically placed on the lush property to enhance both the landscape and the art itself.  Yet there is a touch of whimsy as well, with goats leaping in the air, greyhounds racing off into the horizon and roosters crowing on high perches. Don’t miss an opportunity to visit this inspirational man and his herd of steel creatures:

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