The Lion in the Hedge

Brain ‘splody!

I have such an idea! GAH! May not have the talent to pull it off, but I’m going to use molds and texture sheets as much as possible.

It’s rare that something comes to me this fully formed; the last one, I STILL haven’t managed to execute….

OK, so when I was a kid, we used to visit this place in Hillsborough called Duke Gardens. It was Doris Duke’s (of the tobacco Dukes; also Duke University – see the Wiki article for details beautiful greenhouse network, which she opened to the public ( Every section of the greenhouses was for a different type of garden (e.g. the American desert, Japan, China, England, etc.). It was a great, nearby destination to take your (mostly well-behaved) kids when there wasn’t much else going on, it was indoors… perfect. And it was BEAUTIFUL.

Anyway, a few years ago, the foundation Doris Duke set up to take care of the gardens after her death, destroyed them. They provided rationales behind this decision, talking about how they weren’t ecologically responsible to maintain, etc. I don’t know the real reasoning. All I know is, they’re gone. Decimated. They have ceased to be. They are an ex-garden.

And it’s a crime.

I didn’t find out it was happening until right before they shut it all down, and by then all of the remaining tours were already sold out. Trust me, I tried. I didn’t get a chance to see it one last time; all I have left are vague, childhood memories.

There is little enough of it to be found online, but I’ll provide some of what I’ve found:

In the middle of the English garden, there was this enormous topiary hedge, and in the top of it, just above an arch, was a lion head mounted within the ivy.

You can just sort of see it, in the 4th picture down on the right, on You can also see what happened to it, on the left. 😦

So I was hunting through various jewelry supply and metal clay supply websites, as I have a tendency to do… pretty much all the time. And I found this mold for a roaring lion’s head.

Yes, I realize the lion wasn’t roaring. Well, actually, I DIDN’T; I had to go look it up. But clearly, the lion isn’t roaring. However, I’m willing to let that slide, in the interest of having a mold for it. Y’know, instead of me trying to come up with a lion’s head on my own, which would be impossible since I can’t even DRAW it.

Here’s my thought.

The lion’s head mold in copper clay (with a white tinge, provided by Gilders Paste. And yes, OK, it’s roaring. But it’s INSPIRED by, it’s not going to be identical, OK?), surrounded by ivy leaves, also in copper clay (greened, via African Bronze Gilders Paste). The back of the pendant would be the ivy texture tile from Cool Tools.

Name of the pendant: “Duke’s End.” Which fits nicely into my whole song title thing, and also sums up the concept pretty perfectly.

I have no real idea of how I’m going to execute this. I don’t know how big it’ll have to be, or whether the bail will be on the back, or if it’ll need to have two bails, one on either side, to balance it out. It’s going to have to be pretty big, I’m afraid. We’ll call it a statement piece.

I, quite frankly, can’t wait to get started on it. Except I’ve already spent my allotment for jewelry stuff this paycheck on the alcohol ink project. So… patience. Which I’m so fantastically good at.


But the idea isn’t going to go anywhere for a while. Especially since I just got it all down, right here. J