The small worlds that are scattered throughout Berkeley invite play, re-arranging, audience participation. They never look the same two days in a row, or even morning to night. They change. Children change them. They change themselves at night, especially full moon nights, and most especially on blue moon nights.
Here is what 2828 Russell looked like one day in June 2013. Colleen Neff took these photos:
And a few photos from a Sunday in June, 2015:
The children of 2828 Russell, Ion and Q, have been the driving force behind the small world villages. They collect the little houses, people, and animals at had sales on weekend morning. Occasionally they find some in curbside free boxes.
There is quirk beyond the small world.
The garden’s mastermind is Robert Cook. He produced the raised bed garden boxes and carved words into the side, from the sacred to the profane, including a Zora Neale Hurston quote.
The mushroom-shaped table is made from three trees that were removed from the street over the years. The trellis with green beans and peas was made with bamboo from a neighbor. The rope and hole-filled rope nmnece was made from a hammock discarded not he curb.
The found objects come largely from the immediate neighborhood.
And then there is the pinwheel tree. The pinwheels came from the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse – a box of 50 for a couple bucks. The tree looks best in the winter when leaves have fallen and the pinwheels are more visible, but even in full-leaf summer it is catchy.
UPDATE: MAY 2016
From Michelle Hlubinka of 2828 Russell: “Bad news, Tom. Our landlady is selling, and we have to move. I’m not sure what we’ll do with the various elements of the yard but I’m hoping someone in the neighborhood will adopt them. I don’t want to just leave them as I imagine the realtors will expunge all quirk ahead of staging the property. I’ll be taking some of the items, we may have no space for a village. I’m going to look around the walkways in our neighborhood to decide if we can make a micropark along Pine Path, Oak Knoll, or Avalon. Maybe Monkey Island. It’s possible I can place them near our kids’ school. Someday when we have the money to buy our own place, I’m sure we’ll be back in quirky business.”
Meaning – if you read this in May 2016 GO NOW to see this lovely small world. Stay tuned for updates.
My friend is a small guy. He especially loves small worlds like this. He speaks with more passion than usual when he says: