Home California Return to California 4: (And now for something completely different) Florence Ave. and the Sculptures of Patrick Amiot

Return to California 4: (And now for something completely different) Florence Ave. and the Sculptures of Patrick Amiot


How Wrong Turns Can Be Fortunate: Florence Ave. and Patrick Amiot

For lunch I tasted wines in Napa then had to drive an hour and a half into the Sonoma Coast to drink wines in Occidental. Occidental seems to be so small I hardly exist there, which I’m okay with, except that it’s hard to visit a tasting room when your palate lives in another universe from theirs. Not that I don’t want their wines. I very much do. Just, have you been to Occidental?

I’d made the appointment and was driving between the two when I took a wrong turn in Sebastopol. That is, according to Google maps. I’ve driven all over North America and am very comfortable with the idea that turning away from what the GPS demands could still get me there. My overall view is keep moving forward, and I’ll get somewhere I can learn something.

Today, I’d turned beyond Highway 116, and decided a drive right on a neighborhood street would certainly get me there. It did. But, not until after finding my way, accidentally, on Florence Avenue and a four block stretch decorated by the lively, expressive sculpture of Patrick Amiot.

It turns out, Patrick lives on Florence, and out of boredom and too much junk, one day he went into his backyard and made a junk-Sculpture. Placing it in his yard, his neighbor then said, if you ever make another one, I’d like it in my yard. Until, now, four blocks of neightbors have “if you ever make another ones” in their yard, and the shop, Renga, carries more examples of this folk art. I know because seeing the first three sculptures on Florence I declared, Holy Hell! and parked the car, determined to get out and take pictures. Then, there I was, happily surrounded, and, finally, face to face with Mister Patrick Amiot’s daughter, and the story of how her father got started. I should have taken a picture of her. And, I did, honestly, keep thinking that while talking to her.

It turns out, Sebastopol hosts more than 300 sculptures formed by junk and love. I bumped into a whole lot more of them. But here is a host of pictures showcasing the luster of Florence Avenue alone, the street on which Younger Miss Amiot lives.

Thank you to Sebastopol. Thank you to Patrick’s daughter–how did I not get your name?

Thank you.

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