November 25, 2022

Lucy Dorrrieu-Smith, Shell House in Tresco Abbey Garden

photo by Colin Park (July 2011)
licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike 2.0 

About 28 miles west of Lands End, the most south-westerly area of England, is the small island of Tresco (about 3,5 by 1,75 kms),  part of a small group of islands called the Isles of Scilly.

Tresco Island is home to a 40-acre (16 hectares) horticular garden called Abbey Garden, constructed in 1834 by Augustus Smith on and around the ruins of a 12th century Benedictine priory, using the large amount of stones in the ruins of the old priory to make decorative gates and walls.

The garden has thousands of species of plants and flowers from the southern hemisphere and the subtropics, which is almost unbelievable given the island's location in the Atlantic Ocean,

And then, it also includes a Shell House. situated on a hill at the end of the stairway, as portrayed in the above image.

photo by Stephen McKay (May 2019)
licensed under Creative Commons Share Alike 2.0

Lucy Dorrieu-Smith and her creation

This Shell House, a hexagonal structure with a gabled roof and open front, as pictured above, was created by Lucy Dorrieu-Smith 

She is the wife of Robert Smith, descendant of the previously mentioned  August Smith, a wealthy banker who in 1930 obtained the island on a long-term lease from the Duchy of Cornwall, who owns Tresco in private status.. 

The couple lives on the island in their Tresco Abbey home and takes care of the maintenance of the nearby Abbey Gardens.

photo by Oliver Dixon (April 2011)
licensed under Creative Commons Share Alike 2.0

In 1987 a storm destroyed much of Abbey Garden. In the context of its restoration, Lucy Dorrieu-Smith came up with the idea of providing the garden with a shell decoration situated in a structure on the hill. 

She asked the renowned shell artist Mrs Blott Kerr-Wilson for advice and then single-handedly covered the walls of the structure she had designed herself, with colorful frescoes composed of shells found on the isles of  Scilly, a project that was completed in 1994.

As the pictures show, the wall decoration shows in particular a triptych of vases richly filled with flowers, a large one in the middle and two smaller ones that flank the large one. The entire artwork consists of five panels, each of which is provided with two letters on the top, the initials of the first names of Lucy Dorrieu-Smith's children

photo by John Rostron (2010)
licensed under Creative Commons 
Share Alike 2.0

Compared to other European countries, the United Kingdom and Ireland, surrounded by seas and an ocean as they are, have many art environments composed of shells. Lucy Dorrieu-Smith's creation bears  resemblance to the Curraghmore shell house in Ireland, decorated in the 1750s by Catherine de la Poer, part of a wealthy family.

* Article  (October 2019) by Karen Ivy on her website 
* Article ( August 2019) by Rich Edwards on his weblog
* Article (August 2013) by Bonny Bonafilla on her weblog

YouTube has some videos portraying the Tresco Abbey Gardens, but the Shell House generally only gets a few shots

Lucy Dorrieu-Smith
Shell House in Tresco Abbey Garden
Island of Tresco, Scilly Isles, UK
visitors welcome (entrance fee)

November 18, 2022

Vasile Piscureanu, Arhitectură singulară cu sticle de sticlă / Singular architecture with glass bottles

unless otherwise indicated, pictures are screenprints
from the videos referred to in the documentation

In the municipality of Jupânesti in Romania -with about 2400 inhabitants- there is a singular architecture in the form of a set of buildings with walls consisting largely of glass bottles.

Life and works

This art environment was created by Vasile Piscureanu who was born in the early 1950s and became a mason by profession.

When he was in his early 40s, in 1994, his wife divorced him. To deal with his feelings about this, he decided to build kind of a chapel near his house, a special one, with numerous glass bottles incorporated into its walls.

In 1995 and the following year, he collected a good number of glass bottles and when he had sufficient stock, during 1996 he got to work.

this picture courtesy of Tiramisu Bootfighter
entrance of the site

As can be seen in the very first image, over the years it became an ensemble of constructions, both at the front of the house and in its backyard.

His first activity was decorating the porch of the house. Then he built a mini chapel and a bedroom at the entrance of the property

Subsequently, structures with a residential function were built at the rear of the house,

The mini chapel, located near the entrance, has a round shape and the roof resembles a pan lid. 

The pink walls of the chapel include numerous bottoms of bottles, which stand out in black against the pink walls, as shown by the image above right.

When designing the interior of the prayer room, Vasile was inspired by a sculpture by Constantin Brancusi, The Table of Silence,  a round table surrounded by twelve round seats, a monument unveiled in 1939 as a tribute to the Romanian soldiers in the First World War.

The image below shows part of the round table with twelve seats as installed in Piscureanu's small chapel

Other parts of the art environment

Some spaces in this singular architecture present the visitor with surprises.

This goes for the room in the picture above . It has a fairly ordinary look in terms of decor, and there are no bottles to be seen, but wait a minute, the bottles are plentiful as the ceiling is full of them, including bottles providing the lighting, as shown in the picture below.

And then, the image below gives the full picture, Piscureanu standing in the room, looking up at the ceiling with a display of bottles, one of which provides the lighting.

this picture and the next one (2022)
courtesy of Tiramisu Bootfighter
Current situation

Meanwhile, in 2022 Piscureanu has been building his singular architecture for about 26 years and it appears that he has now taken other paths.

In October 2022, for example, he was visited by Tiramisu Bootfighter, who in that period made a tour through Eastern European countries with his Galerie Ambulante. Piscureanu told him that he planned to build a large plane to decorate the entrance of the site.

He also showed another recent project. In the photo below, Piscureanu points to the entrance of an underground anti-nuclear shelter in his garden.

* Article (2008) in newspaper Libertatea
* Article (2015) in newspaper Ziara
* Article (2022) in newspaper Adevarul
* Article (2022) in newspaper Observator, includes a video, which can't be embedded here)
* Entry on the Facebook account Galerie Ambulante by Tiramisu Bootfighter (members only)

* Video (undated, YouTube, 3'09") by TV sudro

Vasile Piscureanu
Singular architecture with glass bottles
Jupanesti, Gorje region, Romania
can be seen from the road

November 11, 2022

Fourteenth anniversary of this blog

picture of a sculpture by Fernand Châtelain
courtesy of Marcello 13 (Flickr)

Bonjour aux promeneurs, Hello walkers,

With above picture of a sculpture by Fernand Châtelain this blog started on November 11th, 2008. 

Existing today, November 11th, 2022, for fourteen years, it now includes reviews of some 590 art environments in Europe made by non-professionals.

As in previous years I will relate here data about numbers/origin of visitors and about most viewed art environments.

Number of visitors

On November 10th, 2022 the all time number of visitors was 1,141.432. On November 10th, 2021 it was 890.062, so there is an increase of 157.562 visitors, or on the average 421 visitors a day. 

Over the period 2020-2021 the average was 257 visitors a day, so the number of daily visitors has increased. This increase has also continued in the past year, because the number of visitors over the past thirty days has been 15.468, so 515 a day.

All time page views by country

As in previous years here is the (extensive) all time rank of countries as regards page-views (as on November 10)
  1. United States 330.000
  2. France 178.000
  3. Netherlands 103.000
  4. United Kingdom 79.400
  5. Germany 73.600
  6. Italy 38.600
  7. Russia 38.000
  8. Ukraine 24.100
  9. Spain 19,600
  10. Canada 11.300
  11. Sweden 10.900
  12. Belgium 7.740
  13. Poland 7.110
  14. Japan 4.530
  15. Unknown 3.760
  16. Finland 3.480
  17. Indonesia 3.140
  18. Hong Kong 1.650
  19. Ireland 1.400
  20. Other 203.000
Most viewed sites all time
    1. Bill and Elisabeth Charge, England, Watford shell garden, 6494
    2. Robert Garcet, Belgium, Eben-Ezer Tower, 6334
    3. Joseph Ferdinand Cheval, France, Palais Idéal, 6081
    4. Jose Maria Garrido, Spain, El Museo del Mar, 5079
    5. Robert Tatin, France, Maison des champs, 4734
    6. Roy McCormack, England, Beach flint sculpture garden, 4675
    7. Bodan Litnianski, France, Garden of shells, 4599
    8. Oreste Fernando Nannetti, Italy, Graffiti, 4535
    9. Chomo, France, Préludian art, 4494
  10. Polina Rayko, Ukraine, Decorated House, 4456

Up to and including no. 7 the above list is the same as in 2021. Nannetti is now in 8th place, at number 9 is Chomo.

On the 10th place is Polina Rayko (1928-2004 from Ukraine. Her decorated house is located in a village on the east side of the Dnjepr River, near the large town of Cherson, which in the war of Russia against Ukraine on March 2022 was taken by Russia, but recently has been abandoned by the Russian army. For the time being there are no reports about the situation of this art environment.

Next an overview of places 11 to 20:

  11. Karl Junker, Germany, Junker's House, 4361
  12. Gustav Nagel, Germany, Paradise Garden, 4313
  13. John and Jo Mew, England, Braylsham Castle, 4213
  14. Abbé Fouré, France, Sculpted rocks, 4230
  15. José Garcia Martin, Canaries, Spain, Sculpture garden, 4203
  16. Joseph Pujiula i Vila, Spain, Labyrinth, 4139
  17, Francisco González Grajera, Spain, Decorated house, 4000
  18. Julius Klingebiel, Germany, Decorated room, 3917
  19. Stephen Wright, England, House of dreams museum, 3962
  20. Erich Bödeker, Germany, Sculpture garden, 3774

New in this overview are Gustav Nagel, as well as John and Jo Mew. Their joining means that Willem van Genk and Picassiette got a somewhat lower place.

Considering the countries that appear in the top twenty, we see that mainly those from Western Europe are represented (France 5x, Germany, England and Spain 4x each, Belgium 1x and Italy also 1x). This year is the first time that an Eastern European country (Ukraine) has entered the top twenty. 

Part of the explanation for the difference between Eastern and Western Europe is that this blog did not focus on Eastern Europe and Russia from the start, but only did so after some years, in 2014.The fact that the phenomenon of art environments is not yet as well known in those countries as it is in Western Europe may also be a factor.

Striking in the list of the first twenty most visited sites is that France and Germany attract an almost similar number of visitors, although the number of art environments in the weblog differs considerably (France 210 sites in the index by country, Germany 13 sites).

So below is an overview of the ten most visited sites in Eastern Europe and Russia:

Russia (number of visitors +1000)

   1.  Alexander Emelyanov, Decorated garden, 2794
   2. Alexander Ladogina, Church, 2103
   3. Sergey Kirillov, Decorated house, 2171
   4. Lyudmila Kneller, Mosaic decorations, 2000
   5. Yevgeny Malakhin (artist name Bukashkin), Paint the garbage, 1820
   6. Petr Zhurilenko, Sculpture garden1735
   7. Ivan Pisarenko, Replicas of Kremlin classics, 1532
   8. Egor Utrobin, Sculpture garden, 1482
   9. Collective of conscripts, Scattered sculptures, 1395
 10. Alexander Alekseeva, The old park in Kabardinka, 1255

Compared to the list from a year ago, there are some changes. The number of visitors of the post about Lyudmila Kneller's art environment quickly rose and resulted in the fourth place. And newcomers are the articles on the sites of Ivan Pisarenko and Alexander Alekseeva, which were added to this weblog in January 2022 and July 2022 respectively.

To conclude, here are data about the East-European countries Czechia, Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine (number of visitors +1500)

Czech Republic
  1. František Rint, Ossuary, 3074
  2. Vàclav Levy, Rock sculptures, 2890
  3. Anežka Kašpárková and Marie Jagošová, Decorated chapel, 1839
  4, Vojtech Kopic, Sculpted rocks,,1710
  2. Martin Sabaka, Replicas of famous buildings, 1601

  1. Bogdan ZiętekInterior with sculptures2638
  2. Felicja Curylova, Decorated house, 1825
  3. Boguslawa Iwanowskiego, Sculpture garden, 1812
  4. Henryk Sawko, Stone park, 1504
  5. Krystyna and Eugeniusz Msciwojewscy, Garden with wooden sculptures, 1502

1. Polina Rayko, Decorated house, 4456 
2. Stanislav Sartsevich, Sculpture garden, 2218
3. Nicholas Golovan, Decorated house, 2222
4. Vladimir Chaika, Decorated stairwell, 1677

Another year is approaching. Who knows what further discoveries can be made in the field where people with no artistic training, but with a lot of passion and stamina, make creations that embellish their habitat.

November 04, 2022

Bartłomiej Kolbusz, Dekoracje w i wokół "Bury Mis" / Decorations in and around "Bury Mis"

pictures (2017) courtesy of Justyna Orlovska, from her 
website "step off the beaten track"

Bury Mis is the name of a café-restaurant in Bukowina Tatrzanska, a village of some 3000 inhabitants in southern Poland, near the border with Slovakia. Owned by Ewa and Bartłomiej Kolbusz, this site has become known because of the large variety of items that decorate it's exterior and interior.

Life and works

Bartłomiej Kolbusz, who added the various items, included the ones he created himself, was born on January 10, 1977. He got a training as a physiotherapist, but he was much more attracted to work as a visual artist. 

In particular he was interested in making works of art from all kinds of remnants of metal and iron. So in 1999, when he was 22, he founded a sculpture workshop focusing on that artistic genre. The studio was called Mała Manufaktura Radykalna Metalmorfozy Złomu (Small manufacture of radical metal- morphosis of scrap).

His artistic production includes a large variety of creations, mostly made from scrap metal. He made small items such as metal jewelry (rings, brooches), but also larger ones such as chairs and sofas, and creations in which various remnants of metal are combined to, for example, an artwork that can be recognized as an animal on legs, but then without reference to an in reality occurring living creature.

The larger creations he made sometimes have Latin names, such as a bull referred to as Taurus Peculiaris Bioindustrialis or a six-seater bench in a park called Ampulum Situlum.

Also, some large creations have mainly a utilitarian quality, such as a machine to remove 120 capsules from a  series of beer bottles in a few seconds, a device he made for an international meeting of employees of the Dutch beer company Grolsch.

Transforming the café-restaurant into an art environment

In 2002 Kolbusz and his wife took over the café-restaurant that for 25 years was run by Kolbusz' parents under the name Miś. The property was completely redesigned based upon Kolbusz' artistic insights. In December 2002 it was reopened under the name Bury Miś (The addition Bury is a reference to Kolbusz' nickname).

Ewa Kolbusz mainly focused on managing the café-restaurant and Bartlomiej Kolbusz continued his artistic activities.

The photo above shows the workshop that Kolbusz set up as soon as he and his wife became the owners of Bury Miś

The various images in this post give an impression of the way in which Kolbusz shaped the decorations of the café-restaurant.

The image of the decorated outer wall, at the very top of this article is followed by a Buddha meditating among the grass, a fairytale character (?) and a character with a cap, a gas mask and horns. 

The pictures around this part of the text show creations that reside in the interior of the cafe-restaurant: top left a creation that somewhat resembles an animal head, next to it a bespectacled male, and below once again an animal head, this one flanked by an old radio and some clocks or measuring instruments.

In the same vein as these creations, the interior of the café-restaurant has metal chairs and strange lamps on the tables that create a very specific atmosphere. A wall is covered with metal tools such as large saws and other carpentry tools.

There are several old radios, a teddy bear sitting in a box mounted on a wall, a dog-like creature with two heads and there is a wooden sculpture depicting an old woman with glass eyes, a pitchfork on the head and behind her a grave cross.

A panoramic, movable series of photos shows the entourage of the interior better than words, which especially goes for the color scheme of the walls and ceilings.

The grounds outside the café-restaurant are dominated by a 14 meter high metal lighthouse, named Iluminaris Marinaris Bukowina,

The tower is topped by a glass structure from which a light is switched on every hour. There is a plan to use the lighthouse as an industrial climbing wall by adding external forms of handholds.

* Website of Bartlomiej Kolbusz with a series of photos that give an impression of his artistic production
* Website of the cafe-restaurant Bury Mir, with scenes of the interior
* Website Off the beaten track (April 2017) by Justyna Orlovska with an article and various photos of the site
* Article entitled Bury Miś-the taste of positive madness, with a variety of interesting photos, on          website Kolory Zycia

* Video  (undated (2013?), 2'16", YouTube) presenting Bartlomiej Kolbusz interviewed by Szalona Zuzia

* Video by Kinior (undated, 5'26", YouTube) with shots of Kolbusz' metal creations 

Bartłomiej Kolbusz
Bury Mis
Duga Street 154,
34-530 Bukowina Tatrzańska, Tatra County, Lesser Poland region, Poland
visitors (of the café-restaurant) welcome

October 28, 2022

Collective of non-professional artists, Skulpturenweg / Sculpture trail

images from the website 
(no referral to photographers)

The image above shows two wooden sculptures, a honey bear and a woodsman (Waldmensch in German), as arranged along an 8.5 kilometer route between Neuler and Niederalfingen, communities located in Germany, some 70 km south of Frankfurt. 

The route includes a total of 83 sculptures made by non-professional sculptors.

Court Jester

Creation of the sculpture trail

Hubert Schull, living in Neuler, was an artist and teacher at a technical school, who dreamed that there would be a sculpture trail near his hometown. In 2001, on his initiative, a number of former pupils of the school and non-professional artists, living in various communes in the region, gathered to crystallize this idea. 

Under the name Sculturies they formed a group of non-professionals with a passion for making wooden sculptures. The group focussed on the creation of a sculpture trail in the woods, connecting Neuler and Niederalfingen.


The project started in Neuler. The sculptures for this first part of he trail were created from the beginning of November 2001 until the end of February 2002. With the help of a local construction company the 16 wooden sculptures were set up on March 16, 2002 along a circular route in Neuler .

Thereafter 31 sculptures were created for the 2.5 km circular route in Niederalfingen, which opened in 2005. 

Then, until 2009, sculptures were made for the trails connecting the two circular ones, a series of 17 sculptures near the Krähenbachtal and a series of 19 sculptures near the Schlierbachtal.


Most sculptures along the trail show that the basic material is formed by a man-sized stump of a large tree. There are a lot of  stand-alone creations, but also a number of mixed ones, such as a scene with the Wolf and the Seven Goats, as well as the scene in the image below with the Town Musicians of Bremen (this sculpture by the way is a replica of the original one in Bremen, see Wikipedia).

A number of the stand-alone sculptures depict a fairytale character, such as Cinderella, Puss in Boots, Hansel and Gretel, Hameln's Pied Piper and Nils Holgersson, others depict historical or mythical characters, such as a court jester, a woodsman, a faun or an angel. 

Most of the sculptures are realistic in nature, but there are also some that depict an experience, such as the one about September 11 (the attack on the Twin Towers), a sculpture depicting temptation and another one called meeting the light.

The website Sculturies has a map of the sculpture trail as divided into several parts and a detailed enumeration of all sculptures situated along it, this with titles of the sculptures, an explanation of what each sculpture depicts and the names of the artists who created them.

Wooden sculptures in the open air are vulnerable. In 2018, members of Sculpturies renovated a number of sculptures from the route in Niederalfingen. The other routes will also get the necessary attention.

Town Musicians of Bremen 

* Website Sculturies, with extensive explanation of the location of the sculpture trail, the titles and themes of all sculptures and the names of the artists involved
Website Skulpturenrundweg Niederalfingen with information as in the above website, but only relating to the route in Niederalfingen
Prospectus with information about the sculptures in Neuler and the artists who made them

* Video by Werner Schäffer (YouTube, 3'40"), stills of the sculptures in Niederalfingen

Collective of non-professionals
Sculpture trail
from Neuler to Niederalfingen
region Ostalbkreis, Baden-Württemberg federal state, Germany
can be visited freely

October 21, 2022

Gheorghe and Cornelia Dobrin, Casa decorata in paragina / Decorated house in disrepair

 picture (October 2022) courtesy of Tiramisu Bootfighter

When Tiramisu Bootfighter from France with his Galerie Ambulante traveled around Eastern Europe in the fall of 2022, he found in the Romanian village of Ohaba the decorated house of Gheorghe and Cornelia Dobrin in the condition as shown in the image above.

The house was falling into disrepair, Gheorghe Dobrin had died in 2021 and Cornelia Dobrin had left for an unknown destination

this image and the next five (April 2013) from Facebook

As the image above, dated April 2013, shows, this art environment had seen better days.

It all started in 1992. When Gheorghe Dobrin in a nearby forest was chopping wood for a deaf neighbor, he came across a piece of wood with inscriptions, which reminded him of what happened in the forest of Ephraim. as described in the bible.

This probably refers to the biblical book of 2 Samuel 18, which describes the struggle in the forest of Ephraim of the then ten tribes of Israel against the tribes of David.

The experience Gheorghe gained in the forest touched him deeply. He took home the piece of wood which he considered sacred. 

His sister Cornelia was apparently also struck by her brother's experience. The holy wood got a place of honor in the house and brother and sister started together to embellish house and garden with all kinds of decorations.

As can be seen in the image above, the short side of the house, especially on the top, was provided with collages with images and texts expressing religious themes

The long side of the house was also provided with numerous collages and decorations, both the wall and the ground floor in front of it. 

In the available documentation, which is quite limited, it is also stated that icons were placed in front of the house, but the images do not show this.

What seems to be visible in the image below is a note in the documentation that the windows were covered, because of the fear of evil spirits. It can also be seen that the shutters on the windows were equipped with all kinds of decorations

So much for the description of the situation based on documentation dating from 2013

Gradually, the decay of the building must have continued. It is likely that Gheorghe and Cornelia Dobrinook lacked the financial means to carry out proper maintenance.

The situation Tiramisu Bootfighter encountered in 2022 was an abandoned building, which lay in ruins. The collages were gone, leaving only a few marks on the door and objects piled on the floor.

* Article (2011) on weblog Jurnal de călătorie prin Tara Fagarasului (Travel diary through Fagaras Country), with images
* Note and a series of pictures (2013) on the Facebook-account of Locuri de vizitat in Romania
* Entry (October 19, 2022) on the FB page Galerie Ambulante, by Tiramisu Bootfighter 

Gheorghe and Cornelia Dobrin
Decorated house in disrepair
Ohaba, regio Tara Făgăraşului. Transsylvanië, Romania

can be seen from the street

October 14, 2022

Karel Rezek, Sochy kolem kavárny a restaurace / Sculptures around a café-restaurant

this picture and the next two (2022) courtesy of 
Tiramisu Bootfighter, Galerie Ambulante, Facebook

Doubice is a village with about a hundred permanent residents and many holiday stays in the Czech Republic. Located near the border with Germany, the village is a popular destination for holidaymakers who enjoy the Bohemian Switzerland National Park.

The village is also known for an extensive collection of wooden sculptures, which surround a local café-restaurant, named Stará Hospoda (Old  Pub).

Life and works

The owner of this café-restaurant is Karel Rezek, who was born in the early 1950s. 

Not much is known about his early years, except that he made a wooden fairytale figure for his three year old daughter Andrejka, a gesture that led him to take up a hobby of transforming pieces of wood into sculptures.

As the number of sculptures increased, Rezek was captivated by the desire to get into the Czech Book of Records, which he actually succeeded in 2012 when he -around sixty years old- had made 316 sculptures.

this picture and he next one from the website of 
the cafe-restaurant

Some twenty years earlier, around 1990, Rezek became the owner of the café-restaurant, which he runs with his wife.

The interior of the cafe is richly decorated with all kinds of collections, such as tin plates, weapons, musical instruments and a variety of bells.

And outside you can't miss the large collection of sculptures, often including large creations, such as the gigantic grasshopper Ferdy the Ant, but also devils, witches, fairytale characters, dragons and horses.

The two images below (from a regional tourist website) give an impression of the location of the site in the landscape and of the variety of sculptures in front of the cafe.

location of the site in the landscape
click  to enlarge

sculptures in front of he café
click  to enlarge

At the rear of the café-restaurant is a garden that has been transformed into a true children's paradise with various sculptures of animals and fairytale characters, as well as playground equipment, toy cars and a witch's house, all kinds of things for children to play and have fun with;

There are also sculptures of Křemílek and Vochomůrka, figures from a fairy tale well known in the Czech Republic, as can be seen on YouTube. 

this picture from the website of the café-restaurant

Two other interesting aspects of Karel Rezek's site are first of all that every summer an international contest for woodcarvers is organized  and secondly that there is also a collection of tanks from the period when the Czech Republic was communist.

* Website of the café-restaurant Stará Hospoda
* Article (October 2011) in regional newspaper Novinky
* Article in touristic website Turistika, with a photo gallery
* Entry on website Camera Obscura

Karel Rezek
Sculptures around a café-restaurant
407 47 Doubice, district Děčín, region Ústecký, Czech Republic
can be seen from the road