New Castle artist rocks her unique yard sculptures |

New Castle artist rocks her unique yard sculptures

Trina Ortega
Post Independent Contributor
New Castle's Terry Muldoon shows off one of what she calls her "Art Out of Balance" sculptures.
Trina Ortega |

New Castle artist Terry Muldoon’s yard is part sculpture garden, part geology museum and part rock shop. Artistic treasures made of or adorned with rocks are tucked in every corner.

A large, curvy bed of rocks runs alongside the driveway. The bed is filled with agates, sandstone chunks, granite stones and other rocks collected from near and far. Pieces of marble fill the bed of a rusted toy truck. A bird feeder has been crafted from a found metal flower and the trunk of an old aspen. The concrete sculpture of a golden-haired dog with a red collar stands near the house.

Among the other crafty pieces are what Muldoon calls “Art Out of Balance” sculptures — rocks of varying sizes and colors stacked into lopsided cairns. Muldoon and partner Charlie Beyer, a retired mining engineer, began creating the small towers about a year ago and have sold them at the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts gift shop and Carbondale Mountain Fair.

“We both have a love for hiking and rocks. Charlie’s an amateur gemologist and geologist, and that’s how we started making these funny sculptures out of rocks. We bring rocks home from our adventures,” Muldoon said. “We call them our ‘Art Out of Balance’ sculptures because everything isn’t always perfect.”

“We both have a love for hiking and rocks. Charlie’s an amateur gemologist and geologist, and that’s how we started making these funny sculptures out of rocks.”Terry Muldoonartist

When they return from adventures, they add newfound rocks to the yard. To create, they select a few rocks and begin the physical process of boring holes into them with a drill fit with a diamond bit. They start stacking rocks together to find the right fit. There is no glue; the rocks are threaded onto metal pegs.

Muldoon says the rock stacks are a wacky, creative release that blends her love for art, being outdoors, and spending time in the garden.

“We all have rocks in our gardens. You can make walls out of them, but this is just making art out of them and being playful and creative,” she said.

Muldoon is the visual arts coordinator at the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts, and creativity is her passion. Now a mixed media artist, she first earned a degree in biology (minor in chemistry) and worked as a phlebotomist for many years. At age 35, she decided to go to art school and enrolled in as many Colorado Mountain College (CMC) classes as possible. She became a self-professed “CMC junkie,” she said.

She considers herself a creativity coach more than a “teacher,” and her goal is to bring out the creativity in others, such as the schoolchildren and Mountain Valley Developmental Services clients with whom she often works.

True to her adventurous spirit, she is always pushing herself to explore different mediums and took a weeklong intensive camp at Anderson Ranch to learn how to build armature and work with lightweight cement so she could start crafting larger sculptures. Beyer, who worked alongside his father on large public sculptures, has been Muldoon’s mentor, as well.

They create together and have collaborated on the steel piece “Possession,” a large bird playing with a ball outside the Center for the Arts, in addition to the wacky rock cairns that guide the way through the colorful outdoor museum that is their front yard.

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