By David Dupont
BG Independent News
Simpson Garden Park’s newest sculpture integrates art, math, science and gardening.
Created by glassmaker Adam Goldberg, the Judy Knox Memorial Sundial will be dedicated on Sunday, September 11 at 2 p.m. in the park. The ceremony will be followed by a reception.
Goldberg, a 2011 BFA graduate of Bowling Green State University, said in a recent interview that the 9-foot-tall glass and stainless steel sculpture was born out of his discussions with BGSU math professor Steven Seubert about using art to illustrate mathematical concepts. They were particularly interested in the work of Johannes Kepler, who was the first to determine the laws of planetary motion and to observe the golden ratio, a key to understanding why works of art look or sound nice. to humans.
The idea of a sundial, however, came about by accident. Goldberg was working in his studio in downtown Toledo on a triangular shape. He realized this when he placed it on a table and when the light hit the glass it cast a shadow. This, Goldberg realized, could be a sundial.
Around this time, he posted images of a sculpture he created for his alma mater Sylvania Northview.
Lee Hakel saw them and contacted him. She and her husband as well as Seubert and his wife, Marsha, had been supporters of his art since he was a student.
Hakel explained that a dear friend and community activist, Judy Knox, had passed away and that she and the League of Women Voters wanted Goldberg to create a memorial in her honor.
He was interested and they discussed a price. The budget they had in mind was modest, less than what the piece would cost, but they decided they could reach out to seek additional funding.
They discussed several concepts, with Goldberg suggesting the sundial. Hakel “didn’t fall in love with the idea,” he said, but eventually agreed.
Originally, the sculpture was to be placed in the new South Grove Street Senior Center. The site did not match Goldberg’s vision for the work. It didn’t offer the scale he was looking for or the setting. He loves gardening and wanted to see the sundial in this context.
So they went to Simpson Garden Park. He loved the park with its collection of gardens. The sundial could have matched the sculptures, a garden in its own right, on the site. But they looked further.
He found a slight elevation in the middle of the park where no trees are likely to cast shadows that would interfere with the sundial. He works with the garden team to decide on plantings on the site. “It’s an important part of the project.”
Being in a park visited by children and their parents, Goldberg envisions using the sundial as an interactive educational tool.
He hopes it will spark questions about the weather and our place in the solar system.
He’s also thrilled to have him at Bowling Green, where he studied glass.
He started crafting with a friend from Sylvania when he was in high school. They took a course at the Toledo Museum of Art. The glass can be intimidating, but the teacher told him “act like you know what you’re doing”.
Goldberg said “I got a lot of knowledge”, adding “I was good with the material. I could manipulate the material.
When deciding what to study in college, his parents encouraged him to study something he loved. It would be the only time he would have this opportunity.
BGSU had a good glass program, so he enrolled and studied with Scott Darlington.
The Gathering Glass studio started in 2012. He and fellow BGSU graduate Stevens decided they wanted to organize a small exhibition of their work and party in conjunction with an international glass conference to be held in Toledo. Goldberg’s grandfather said they could use the vacant space owned by the family business Sam Okun Produce.
Then Stevens and Goldberg saw material for sale online and took out loans to buy it. “We’ve just kind of been rolling and negotiating since then,” Goldberg said.
The studio has six employees, including the founders, and all are BGSU graduates.
The Bowling Green project is an important development for the company, he said.
They have worked with private collectors as well as with companies and institutions. “We’ve done a lot of interior glass work, but there’s been a reluctance…to put glass in an exterior space,” he said.
Customers have expressed concern about vandalism and the resistance of the glass to the elements.
The Hakels, Seuberts and other donors of the Knox Memorial Sundial, he said, “gave us the opportunity to show that I could put this material in a public space.”