The Creation of Fishes in the Garden

By Janet Colvin (UniQueTreasures) on April 28, 2010

Several years ago Connie and I had a request to create a copper garden sculpture with a "Southwest Flavor". The customer's birthday is in January, so we incorporated stones for her birthstone and her zodiac sign into the sculpture. Neither Connie nor I were very familiar with the Southwest, other than the stereotypical thoughts of cactus and baying at the moon dogs, so this was especially challenging to us. There's nothing quite like a challenge to bring out the best in the two of us.

Connie and I thought and thought about it. We use Google to get ideas sometimes. So we Googled Southwest. We Googled Native American. We Googled anything that we could think of with a "Southwest Flavor". We decided to try and make a Native American Lady for her garden. We've taken the liberty to name her "Fishes in the Garden".


 Fishes in the Garden

Malachite was used on the fringe of her blanket and her necklace. Malachite has long been prized in many cultures as a powerful healing stone. It was once believed that a piece of malachite worn on the body would break into pieces to warn the wearer of impending danger. As with many green stones, malachite is associated with wealth and is thought to bring brilliant success and happiness in every circumstance of life.  Malachite is worn as a protective amulet from evil spirits and symbolizes creativity and change. Malachite is found in many locations around the world. There is an interrelation between certain constellations (the zodiac signs) and gemstones. Malachite is associated with Capricorn and Aquarius.



Garnet was also used in her jewelry. Garnet brings constancy and fidelity to relationships. It bestows cheerfulness and combats depression and lethargy and ill thoughts. This stone of passion stimulates the sexual drive. It gives energy and courage, and it enhances the imagination. It also offers protection to the traveler. It should be carried or worn close to the body. Garnet is associated with Scorpio, Sagittarius and Aquarius.


Here's a closer shot of her necklace. We tried to use things that Fishes in the Garden might have used, if she was the one making her jewelry and clothing. The shell bead reminds me of a fish head.

Carnelian was used for her arms and legs. Carnelians are traditionally associated with courage. Some believe that carnelians can help dispel sadness and fears, and help people achieve a positive outlook. It is also supposed to dispel envy and rage. The stone was sometimes used as a charm to prevent wicked sorcerers from reading one's mind. Carnelians are also associated with sexual appetite, especially in men, and are traditionally used in charms for love and seduction. It strengthens courage and helps timid speakers become eloquent and confident. Carnelian gives contentment and friendship and promotes astral vision. It is a legendary stone of good luck and helps overcome anger and establish self-control. Carnelian is symbolic of the warm, vitalizing and positive energy of the earth. It is a good grounding and anchoring stone. Many believe that it creates a bond with man and nature.



I chose Chevron beads for her eyes. The white "nose" was the closest thing I could find with a good nose shape.


Connie made the beautiful copper feathers for her hair. She had to have some beads in her hair also. Originally, we weren't going to "turn loose of her hair". Then we decided that by doing so, it would give her more dimension.  We left some of it together though to represent braids.


Connie made her a beautiful blanket to wear, as a shawl. We wanted it to drape over her dress and that copper worked beautifully. I added the small brown seed beeds and the malachite to the bottom of it for fringe. Connie drew this handprint on the back of the blanket.

The handprint, found on the back of the blanket, was a signature of the maker of a symbol and a prayer to the Spirits to bring about the object that was drawn such as clouds for rain. The handprint had supernatural importance. The handprint is a symbol of a human's life, achievements and legacy, the creative spirit, channeled energy.

Since this sculpture was created, Connie has found 2 of these hand prints in sterling silver.  One for her and one for me.

2010-04-28/UniQueTreasures/1d7a49The Back View


I didn't get any good outside photos of the bottom of her dress. We wanted it to have the look of an animal skin.


We made her some mocassins. Oh they were so much fun to make. You all should have seen our grins for over an hour as they "came to life". I'm sure we looked like idiots! HAHAHAHA Her mocassin's wiggle in the wind and the fishes on the feathers sway with the breeze as does her right arm.


She's holding 3 fish in her left hand, which also holds the blanket to her body. Looks like a mighty fine dinner to me! Those fish came from a necklace I bought many years ago. I didn't like the necklace, but loved those fish. They are made of a substance like terra cotta. I'm not positive about the material of those fish.

This was the inspiration for her name. "Fishes in the Garden"


We added a few more fish and some feathers to the garden stake that will hold the sculpture in the garden, and engraved her name on the feathers.


I hope you've enjoyed seeing how we created Fishes in the Garden.  She was a pleasure to create and now lives in New York. You may have read about this sculpture in the Artisan's Forum on Dave's Garden.  She was created December, 2006.

Related articles:
Carnelian, Chevron beads, Copper Sculpture, Fishes in the Garden, Garnet, Malachite, Native American, Southwest Flavor

About Janet Colvin
I love unique and unusual things. Connie and I create Copper Sculptures from new and recycled materials. I love thrift shopping and love a good bargain.

I'm married to a great guy, with 2 beautiful daughters and 4 incredible grandchildren and we live in Southeast Texas.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
Another Creative Sculpture nap Apr 30, 2010 1:51 PM 1
Beautiful Artwork Ridesredmule Apr 29, 2010 6:06 AM 2
She is magnificent! Zanymuse Apr 28, 2010 1:09 PM 1

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