Itchy Acres is an artist community just a few miles north of the Heights where we live. It is on the edge of Acres Homes a semi-rural neighborhood with large lots and tucked into north west corner of Independence Heights.
The Open Day tour allowed us to walk thru the various artist’s properties. There are lovely beds, ponds and lots of sculptures. We started with Ed Wilson’s garden.
The first artists to move there were Paul Kittelson and Carter Ernst. We met Carter while touring their garden. She and her husband Paul both have studios on the property. The large dog “Pointing North” constructed out of steel with resin and fabrics is by Ernst (recently on display on the Heights Boulevard rotating art installation). “Toast” is steel by Kittelson.
As we moved further in we came upon the incredible “Whale For Sale” sculpture and screen patio. This was featured in the Houston Chronicle and drew a lot of interest. It is a collaboration by Paul Kittelson and Olin Calk.
There are many other sculptures like the”‘Mindless Competition” by Kittelson. Carter told us it is one of 4. We are familiar with one of them that resides outside of Mother Dog Studio’s where Shawn’s mom has a studio. It started with a great deal on a big supply of rubberized paint.
The property was heavily wooded and covered with Poison Ivy when they first bought it and clearing spaces to live and work, they ended up with many rashes. Thus, the name “Itchy Acres”. I loved the gnomes flanking the entrance to the back corner. It is Titled “Self-Portrait” cast-concrete and bricks by Kittelson.
This takes us to the back corner of their property that has been left more natural.
This is truly my favorite: “Super Happy Fun Chicken” constructed with resin and fabrics by Kittelson. The whole area has a very natural feel with many of the original shrubs and trees still there. The remnants of the Piney Woods dipping down into Houston.
More artist joined them over the years and the lots are informally joined together with paths. For more history check out this Houston Chronicle article. Houston is a city blessed with many artists. Many of whom we can call friends. The increasing cost of property nearer to the city center is what caused artist to migrate to this area. Most of the newer buildings are constructed out of corrugated metal. Our friend Brian Owens has a home just to the left of the main entrance. He is an artist and builder by trade. His work is very creative and original. He built his home and one of the other homes in Itchy Acres. This is part of Ed Wilson’s home I believe.
Next we went thru the gate to the property behind which has an entrance on Thornton Road. It is the home of Steven Lesser and his family.
It has a mix of old and new buildings. We over heard him say it was a chop shop when he bought it. We could not actually tell which one was the main house. We did enjoy the collection of old cars.
I would love to have this much property to play on!
Next we went back to the back entrance and over to the home and studio of Tim Glover. His property faces Thornton Road and many of his fabulous sculptures are on view .
I have bumped into him several times over the years and always admired his work.
Recently one of his sculptures was also on the esplanade on Heights Blvd. If you look thru the gateway you will see “Whirl Wind” which was on the boulevard March thru December 2015 in the exhibit call True South. I wish my garden was big enough for one of his sculptures. Maybe I can design a garden for a client to host one of his pieces.
As we wandered back to the entrance Shawn stopped and caught up with Brian, who was sitting on his porch. No pictures because I was distracted by the plant sale that Peckerwood Gardens was hosting. I got to meet Adam Black the Director of Horticulture. We talked about prehistoric plants and our mutual attraction to them. I came away with a few new fern. Two Wavy Scaly Cloak fern and a Woodwardia Unigemmata.
Peckerwood Garden is a partner with the Garden Conservancy for Houston Open Day. A portion of the proceeds of this Open Day will benefit Peckerwood Garden.