For Homes

A Bug’s Journey

3′ w x 2’7″ h

My client tells the story of this one:

With our first baby on the way, we started thinking about the baby proofing we needed to do. The entrance to the stairs leading downstairs is directly across from our front door, so we weren’t too keen on getting a standard plastic baby gate as the first thing people see when they enter our home. We approached Elana about designing a custom wood sculpture in the form of a baby gate. She met with us and interviewed us about our vision. We knew we wanted it to fit in with the rest of our home, and we wanted something interactive on the sculpture, for the baby to play with as s/he grows. Elana drew up a proof inspired by a vine-and-leaf pattern on our wall sconces, and meshed it together with a gate pattern that mimics a railing that runs along the stairs. She did all this while keeping in mind safety standards so the baby wouldn’t get its head or limbs stuck in the gate. She had a cabinetmaker friend build the actual gate structure, then she built her sculpture on top of it, reinforcing it heavily so baby can tug on it without pulling it apart. Even the lock was handmade from wood. We agreed on one vine being a metal rod with a little wooden “bug” that the baby can move along its vine. The whole design is really beautiful and thoughtful, exactly what we were hoping for.

Since it has been installed, it’s become a great conversation piece for pretty much everyone who enters our house. Children have loved staring at it and moving the bug along its vine. It’s a beautiful piece and, it goes without saying, it’s so much better than a plain old boring plastic baby gate.

Note: This piece was a collaborative effort. Cabinetmaker Jim Frerotte made the gate and latch, and metal artist Teresa Sizemore bent, finished, and installed the metal rod along which the bug journeys. I love to collaborate with other makers.