Deer In The Garden

The idea of sculpture in a garden greatly appeals to me.  Not that I mind museums.  I was taken regularly as a child. If you pushed me, I could describe certain rooms, paintings and sculptures at the Detroit Art Institute fairly accurately.  The medieval sculptures of the saints-my Mom could never figure out why I always wanted to go there first.   As an adult, in my top ten list of most memorable experiences include the Caravaggio exhibition at the Met in NYC in 1985, and the Lucien Freud exhibition at the Met in 2000.  Unforgettable.  These  exhibitions were worth driving to New York to see.

But given my choice, I would prefer to be standing in a meadow over a museum.  In a gully over a gallery.  An art object that keeps me company outdoors-this I really like. I have seen Henry Moore sculptures outdoors in both private and public collections.  In the mid 80’s I lived in New York  just one block from a Richard Serra sculpture-not that it moved me particularly.  But there it was, in the landscape. The lion sculptures outside Tiger stadium delight both the kids and adults that see them.

This is all by way of saying that I have had exposure to fine art in museums, galleries, private homes, and parks.  I happen to believe that fine art is all around me, outdoors. Lots of that-courtesy of nature.  Shopping for a client recently, I parked my car near a row of mature Bradford pears wreathed in nut brown fruit. I had never really looked at that fruit before.  If you are the person that was waving me out of the road that day-I can only say those trees laden with fruit stopped me in my tracks.

A Henry Moore sculpture is not in my future-no matter.  Sculptures made from grapevine would fit right into my garden.  These life size grapevine deer are made in California-woven over steel armatures.  The standing Buck, the grazing Buck, the doe and the fawn-what garden does not have room for one, or a group of them?  Some may say they are craft-and they are finely crafted.  But I don’t find the need to make that distinction.

Some sculpture might never be at ease in a garden.  But these grapevine deer seem to make themselves right at home.  I suppose that is as much about the material as it is about the subject matter.  Grapevine is a wiry and sturdily independent material.  How this California company manages to make sculpture from rigid welded steel forms and wild vines-astonishing.  Grapes grow independent of your issues, or mine.  Constructing sculpture from  such a willfully uncooperative material cannot be that easy.  No grapevine grows parallel to its neighbor.  These deer sculptures may not be within shouting distance of a Henry Moore sculpture, but they please me.

Sculptures such as these easily accommodate a little holiday decoration.  Each figure is hand made, and assembled by one artist from start to finish.  The grapevine is thoroughly sealed to prevent the vine from deteriorating.  This needs be be repeated once a year.

If I had to have a deer in my garden, this would be my species of choice. If you have an interest in acquiring one or many, we do stick them at Detroit Garden Works.   The Grapevine Deer


  1. For an amazing large retrospective of Henry Moore’s work, you could visit the special exhibit at Ontario Art Gallery in Toronto.

  2. Going to your ever changing WORKS is like going to a museum. I love it and have the same sense of satisfaction after every visit. So glad that you are but a short drive away.

  3. i agree that garden art needs to blend with the environment. using natural materials seems the easiest way to achieve this. our neighbors have some deer grazing next door, but they are made of some type of wire. these grapevine ones are understated and the lines are lovely!

  4. Connie Hess says


    This seems to be the only way to contact you, so please forgive me. My boss has two grapevine deer that she’s had for 25 years. The poor things are unraveling and she would like to get them repaired or that cannot be done, replaced. They are large and they do not have Christmas lights on them, which she prefers. We live in Nashville TN and I was hoping…Could you point me in the right direction on whom I can speak with regarding her deer?
    Thank you

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Connie, I do not know where you could get your deer repaired. I have a standing buck and a grazing Buck-these are 1500.00 each. The doe is 1200.00, and the fawn is 695.00 They are all life size; the grapevine is over a steel frame. Let me know if you have an interest; I could send pictures and more information. Thanks, Deborah

  5. I am hoping you can point me in the direction of the grapevine reindeer. I am in CA and have a very interested client. Please let me know at your convienance. Thank you!

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