Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Turning old instruments into art!

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Brass pipe water feature  at the Philadelphia Flower Show's 'Jazz Garden' 2008 . photo by Bérénice

So this is a post that will strike different ‘chords' with different people. For some this is art, but others may see this as decimation of a beautiful instrument. But before you begin to grieve for them, to my knowledge all the instruments shown here were beyond repair.      

Garden Piano at Hagal Farm
The above picture is of the Garden Piano in the gardens of HagalFarm, my parents' holistic retreat in West Cork, Ireland. I have written about this in a previous blog post which you can find here.
Recently I have become aware of a number of other garden pianos. I like to think that after reading my garden piano post, readers ran off to drag their old broken pianos out into their gardens, but I am sure that this is unlikely.
The Piano water feature below as well as the brass pipe water feature above were part of the 'Jazz Garden' at the 2008 Philadelphia Flower Show.     
Piano water feature at the Philadelphia Flower Show's 'Jazz Garden' 2008 .  photo by Bérénice

In recent years, with people becoming more environmentally friendly and looking for green alternatives in the landscape, recycled or found object art seems to be more popular than ever. With found object art, musical instrument parts on occasion find their way into art pieces.

Artist Noel Brady at work in his bush studio
 near Emu Park, Queensland, Australia  

One artist that takes 'musical themed, found object art' to another level is Capricorn Coast based artist Noel Brady.

Born in Ballarat, Victoria Noel completed his Diploma of Arts and Design at the Ballarat School of Mines and Industries Art School before embarking on a long career as a secondary school art teacher in both Victoria and Queensland.
He retired to his Emu Park bush studio in 2004 to concentrate on his own artwork with a particular focus on sculpture. Noel works largely with recycled timber, clay and metal - but has a particular penchant for reimagining old piano parts.

Convergence by Noel Brady
Symphony under construction by Noel Brady 
Noel has had moderate success to date, exhibiting in Rockhampton, Gladstone, Yeppoon, Emu Park and Goombungee, and has sold works into private  collections  in San Diego, Sydney, Canberra, Griffith, Dandenong, Brisbane, Cairns, Rockhampton and Toowoomba.
     He presently lives and works in his bush studio on a small acreage near Emu Park on the Capricorn Coast, and regularly exhibits new work in a small privately-run gallery in the seaside town.
Lots more of Noel's artwork can be found through his website be sure to check it out.

Lasseter's Legacy  by Noel Brady   
An unrelated yet worth mentioning, Pool wall panel by Noel Brady

Mosaic Guitar by Mosaic Artist Lisa Calabro   
An artist who takes a very different approach to turning musical instruments into art is American artist Lisa Calabro of Crooked Moon Studio in Warwick, Rhode Island. Lisa has transformed old instruments into artworks by mosaicing them. See more of her lovely mosaics on her website
Mosaic Violin by Mosaic Artist Lisa Calabro 
Mosaic Guitar by Mosaic Artist Lisa Calabro
Thanks to both Noel and Lisa for allowing me to share their artwork. Thanks also to Bérénice for the use of her photographs of the Philadelphia Flower Show. 


  1. Those mosaic instruments are fantastic... and the water feature piano I sort of like too.

  2. Very interesting blog, I subscribed to your newsletter! For the first time I see a mosaic of musical instruments! It is fascinating as well as the sound of music! Yours, Nellie Moscow, Russia

  3. Very interesting, piano looks kind of dumb ( sorry ), and as it decomposes would probably look pretty trashy in a garden, the instrument was neat, andthe mosiacs gorgeous ! thanks for sharing~ Gina

  4. I would love to have that piano in my garden!! Amazing:-) Lovely photos.

  5. Thanks for sharing. I really liked the brass in the garden, especially after learning the instruments were no longer viable for playing. Also enjoyed the mosaic guitars.

  6. Absolutely ingenious! Those instruments make lovely statement pieces in a landscape or garden. Or even on a patio! Something like those mosaic guitars would go well.

  7. Wow, visual art and music combined. I love to play this while setting in garden bench during the autumn morning.

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