Colorado Springs teacher creates artistic fence as ‘statement piece’ | Culture & Leisure

Most fences are meant to keep things in or out. This one is also meant to keep things interesting.

The idea came to Rick Spruce two years ago, when the elementary school educator fancied a new project. Working from home during the coronavirus pandemic seemed like a good time for that. It was time for a new fence, anyway.

Spruce shared his vision with his wife, who was “suspicious” at first.

“It was hard to describe, though,” he said. “I just wanted something unique and stand out.”

Spruce also didn’t know where he was coming from. He started at the dark wooden fence about 30 feet along the side of his house. He cut the top of each pole to form a flowing outline resembling undulating mountain peaks, the peaks growing taller as they reached his garden.

Then came what Spruce calls “cookies” or “portals” embedded in the wood. He was first inspired by those bubble windows allowing pets to see through fences, so he cut a few simple holes in the fence. Then he got more creative, which led to a circular window made of melted crayons and coated in resin and some three-dimensional pieces that look like a cartoon face.

Spruce, a Colorado Springs native who has worked in education for over 20 years here, thought of what might be fun for his students or his niece and/or other neighborhood kids or anyone to see passing by. the gravel road.

He created a circle through the fence with a wheel that passers-by can spin. There is also a hole with silverware hanging from the top. On the left, a small wooden mallet encourages people to “play” silverware.

This part of town, known as Middle Shooks Run, is popular with walkers. They pass Spruce’s house, but it takes them a few more steps to get over the small pieces of the fence.

“When they walk down the aisle, it’s not because of the route,” he said. “They want to stop and see.”

Through a circular window, they can see a colorful wooden sign that reads “Spruce Woodturning”. The backyard workshop serves as home to Spruce’s side business as a wood turner. He started this hobby about five years ago after his stepfather gave him a ride.

“I had never used a lathe and didn’t know how to use one,” Spruce said.

Then he figured out how. And he realized how much he loved woodturning.

“It’s my time to decompress,” he said. “It’s like a meditation.”

This turned into a side hustle, as Spruce began selling bowls and other items in markets. His creations are available in a local gallery.

When working on these items, he sometimes hears a greeting from the other side of the fence. It’s a silverware “ding” playing or a “hey” wondering what the fence is.

The artistic fence has added a new chapter to this house, the one he and his wife bought 20 years ago and raised their 17-year-old daughter there.

It’s become a topic of conversation for Spruce, who loves the community but isn’t one to strike up a conversation with strangers. He’s the type to walk around the neighborhoods of his hometown and find houses that have something unique about them.

“I like to call them statement pieces,” he said.

This is what he now calls his closure.


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