Bloedel Reserve Celebrates 25 Years

An Experience: Sculpture in the Landscape

Bloedel Speidel sculpture 2

An Experience: Sculpture in the Landscape, by Julie Speidel. The Bloedel Reserve, 2013

The Bloedel Reserve is currently featuring the work of Northwest artist, Julie Spiedel, in its first-ever outdoor sculpture exhibit. Punctuating well-loved vistas and landscapes, the exhibit features 12 site-specific works placed throughout the 150-acre public garden on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Guided by founder Prentice Bloedel’s vision that art should enhance the landscape, not detract from nature, Speidel created art to blend harmoniously with the Reserve’s natural beauty and to draw the eye towards often overlooked areas of the grounds. She drew inspiration from the glacial erratic rocks found throughout the Pacific Northwest region.


Special Event

“Art in the Landscape”

Thursday, September 26, 6:30-7:30 pm

Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA)

Tickets – $5

Join sculptor Julie Speidel for a panel discussion moderated by Bloedel Reserve’s Executive Director Ed Moydell, with landscape architect Johnpaul Jones, famed garden artist David Lewis, and BIMA executive director Greg Robinson. Reception in BIMA gallery following discussion.


Bloedel Speidel sculpture1Artist’s Statement:

The Bloedel Reserve exemplifies and reflects fundamental aspects of my work: an abiding relationship with the Northwest landscape, and the search to meaningfully connect us with natural form. This is so deeply a part of my work and my family legacy here in the NW that I feel a special joy in being able to present a temporary installation of a new group of my sculptures specifically created for the Reserve.

Five generations of my family are linked to Puget Sound and these extraordinary islands, including Bainbridge, the site of the Bloedel Reserve, and Vashon where I live and work today, and where these sculptures were made. The water, the mountains and shorelines, and the abundant towering trees make this a sculpturally interesting place that has fed my sense of shape and form. Gardens create yet another layer by responding and building on this landscape.

What is known as the Vashon glacier began to melt and recede about 15,000 years ago sculpting this region, scattering glacial erratic rocks throughout Puget Sound and the Columbia basin. These often massive, irregularly shaped rocks are found from the San Juan Islands to the Columbia River, from the slopes of the Cascades to the Olympic range, giving a sense of the force and scale of the receding glacier and reminding us that this is, geologically, a land of fjords.

It is these glacial erratic rocks that are the inspiration for many of the sculptures I am creating for the Bloedel Reserve. The sculptures are the result of hours spent in the company of such magnificent rocks. Many hours are spent in the studio distilling their powerful complex geometry and creating stainless steel works that seek to embody their strength. The faceted shape of each piece is the result of heavy sheets of stainless steel exactingly cut by water jet. (a process which was refined on Vashon Island where motion control systems were developed bringing the once crude cutting system to the intricately accurate one we know today.) Their massive solid form belies its hollow core.