Garden Spot Village is a retirement community in New Holland, PA. They redesigned and renovated their main foyer, and as part of the project had a fake tree specified for the focal part of the main foyer. When one of the Garden Spot staff saw a past tree sculpture created by Compass, he was excited and shared the idea with their President. They approached Warlet Construction, who was in charge of the project, who in turn donated the additional money not in the budget that was needed to commission the tree sculpture.
It took months of work, starting with creating the main trunk, then transitioning to smaller and smaller tapering trunks, then transitioning to branches and twigs and then leaves. Every inch of the tree went through repeated forging and hand hammering to achieve the desired look. This was by far the most tedious part of the project.
Then a special pre-treatment and finishing process was done for the trunks, branches and twigs to the have the silver on black contrast. Then it was scotch-brited to highlight the natural, forged texture. All the leaves were hand-gilded red for the natural red Japanese Maple look. Finally, the whole tree was encapsulated with a clear coat for preservation.
Because this was such an exceptional project, Compass wanted to provide a special item as a way of saying “thank you”.They brainstormed for ideas; Dragons are a favorite item for smiths to forge, but what would a dragon be doing in a tree in New Holland, Lancaster County? Maybe a rose, which is actually the logo for Garden Spot Village- but how do you incorporate a rose into the treee design? Squirrels? Bingo! A pair of squirrels named Sparky and Patina were forged, with a magnetic base that the staff can move around the tree every week for the enjoyment of the residents to have fun seeking them out.
What the craftsmen at Compass did not realize was that there was a love/hate affair going on at Garden Spot Village with squirrels. The residents love the squirrels for their antics and entertainment, the staff hates them for the damage done to the buildings. So when the staff at Garden Spot was presented with 2 more squirrels to take care of, the 200 + residents in attendance broke into applause, they loved it! Each week is an opportunity for Sparky and Patina to migrate to different parts of the tree to satisfy their inquisitive natures.