Monday, June 4, 2007

Di Rosa Preserve Open to Public!

The Di Rosa Preserve "encompasses 53 acres, including a 35-acre lake, plus 162 acres of natural wildlife preserve, all under Napa County Land Trust open space protection. Holdings include Milliken Peak and a stunning variety of habitats such as oak woodland, native grasses, ferns, herbs and wildflowers."

More than that, though, the Preserve is the legacy of Rene di Rosa and a treasure of art and architecture. According to one of the volunteers, there are more than 900 artists with 2000 pieces on display.

Normally, to see the entire grounds, you need to schedule a tour and are guided through the large museum of pieces that Mr. di Rosa has collected throughout his lifetime. But, Sunday was a different story. There were throngs of people wandering about, taking in the more than 2000 pieces of art adorning the walls and ceilings of the former di Rosa residence, hanging on the walls of the two galleries, and spotting the prairie garden. There was even a cow that walked on water!

My favorite of the glass art pieces was the glass chapel. It was beautifully leaded with poppies and irises. Aside from the glass being beautiful, the architecture of the house itself was amazing. Here's a detailed view of one of the apexes:

Another glass piece in the sculpture pasture was this glass pyramid that combined sandblasted glass and dichroic glass pieces to surround a rock that rested within a circle of broken glass bits. There were several petroglyph-like symbols left in the negative space surrounded by the sandblasted glass. The dichroic glass was attached with glue (UV glue is my guess) in areas of the base glass that were not sandblasted, creating windows for the sun to shine through and cast pinks, blues, greens, and yellows onto the rock below.
To the left is a picture of part of the pasture with a view of the hilly vineyards surrounding it. (The winery at the top of the hill is Artesa.)

And, of course, if you're going to have a sculpture garden in the wine country, you must have a house made of bottles!

I ventured inside, warily, to check out the granite slabs that were etched with a verse,

something to the effect of, "I remember the place of my birth."
But, unfortunately I didn't write it down, and so cannot remember it...
Ah! My mind, the steel trap.

Not glass, but provoking and somewhat eerie - though I suppose it would be close to frightening if viewed under a full moon - were the ghostly hands coming up out of the ground in the middle of a patch of California poppies.

There was so much art to see that the mere two hours we were able afford was a pittance. I had to rush off to work, so my visit was cut short, although the Preserve was closing down at that time anyway. This is definitely a day trip we will return to with visitors to the valley. Another one of the wonderful things to do in Napa when you get tired of wine tasting.


Phara said...

Those hands are kind of creepy, but I love the glass chapel.

Monica Yvette said...

Oh, wow! That place looks really neat.


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