The Story Behind the Art

Lyon & Healy upright grand piano

In 2010 my children and I drove to Lakeland, Florida, for my grandmother’s funeral. The trip took us directly past my birthplace. At the time of my birth, my dad was in a Navy school. We left that place when I was one week old, and I had not been back since. So I decided that on the way home from the funeral, we would stop in this little town and see the place where I was born.

As it turns out, a typical Florida rainstorm slowed our travel down to a crawl, and most of the places of business were closed by the time we got there, including the museum of history. But the art gallery was still open. My sons were not interested, so I left them in the parking lot to play in the remnants of the rainstorm (now a drizzle) while my daughter and I checked out the art gallery. In the gallery we saw some amazing things, but the most pertinent part to this story is the figurine of Don Quixote mounted on his trusty steed Rocinante. Why? Because it was made from piano parts. I was intrigued, but I couldn’t afford to buy it, so I took a photo of it. I have no idea what happened to that photo, but I logged it in the back of my mind somewhere…..

About a year later our church burned down. We lost the entire sanctuary, and all the rest of the building was destroyed by smoke and water. Someone kindly donated a very old Lyon & Healy upright grand piano to the church, but it would have cost thousands to restore it, and the pastor preferred to put that money toward a new piano. So he announced, “Whoever can take it can have it.” Suddenly I remembered the figurine made of piano parts, and I knew this old piano had a purpose, and that I held the key to unlock it. Thus it was that our family became the happy owners of that beautiful Lyon & Healy.

The Lyon & Healy manufacturing company was established in 1864, and by tracing the serial number, I’ve been able to determine that this piano was made in 1906. We spent several days disassembling it, then cleaning, separating, and sorting the pieces. Right away ideas began to flow of things I could make from them. I would hold the pieces in various positions and let my imagination soar. Like finding shapes in the clouds, I saw people, giraffes, and chickens in the piano. I also saw circles—lots of them… and flowers, and music….

As the business continued to grow, I realized that I needed a logo. I had a vision for it, and I called on my children to help me bring the vision to light. My daughter Mary Beth drew out the first sketch. Then Matthew embellished Mary’s original idea, and I took what the two of them had formulated and put the finishing touches on it. (Bobby’s field of expertise is in moving the pianos. That boy has the strength of Samson, and I thank God for him.)

 

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Click on the circles for captions…

 

“Harnessing the Energy”

The story continues, as I have used nearly every piece from that first piano and have reclaimed twelve other old pianos besides… and counting. Truly there are still a few songs to be played from these old pianos. It has been a rewarding and enjoyable task to find them and deliver them to you. I make creations of my own imagining, and I do commissioned work as well. If you have an idea for something unique for yourself or a loved one, let me know, and I’ll see if I can make it happen for you.

To view examples of my art, please visit the Gallery of Piano Art on this site.

And by all means, please stop by my Etsy shop. You are more than welcome!

 

 

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