Friday, September 18, 2015

An Artsy Chance Encounter

When you are driving down the road and see something  that makes you want to stop, don't keep driving!  I hate to think that if, when I yelled "What is THAT??  STOP the car!", my husband had kept driving.  We all would have missed an amazing experience.  But thankfully, he stopped and backed up, even though we were on our way to beautiful Bash Bish Falls with our son, and we all agreed it was totally worth it!
We almost missed it.  We were busy discussing road signs when suddenly we were passing what looked like some large scrap metal sculptures in a field.  There was a sign that said "Circle Museum", and that's when I started shouting.  The Circle Museum and Sculpture Park is a one-man show - the creation of an incredible artist named Bijan Mahmoodi.
There are well over a hundred large-scale sculptures.
I read that Bijan said he decided to call it  the Circle Museum because, he said, "our planet is based on the circle - the sun, the planets, the moon, and life itself is cyclical.  The circle is what inspires me."  But certainly all the sculptures aren't based on the circle.  There are eagles, and other birds, for example.
 There's a tree made of shimmering curling strips of metal. 
There's these bent-over human-ish forms, that I thought looked like a yoga class.  A friend saw the photos and told me that to her they looked like "deeply exhausted space aliens trudging across a field."  I love that description!
There's many other sculptures that are based on the human form in one way or another.
Maybe my favorite sculpture is one that I didn't realize was a human form right away, and then when I viewed it from another side, I realized that I was looking at someone with a nice round tush!
 And is that a bunny tail on the tush?
And look at this!  A very clever table and chairs, made out of bathtubs!!
Honestly, there wasn't a thing there that didn't totally blow me away, including Bijan, a lovely man who has no web presence and does not advertise at all, but does live off of his artwork.  He gave us his business card, which basically just has a phone # and email address.  He forgot to have his name printed on the cards!  He is dependent on people like us, who screech to a halt. (Luckily he is on a main road.)  He has been located there, I believe, for 30 or 40 years, but spends winters in Europe.
 And a few more random pictures of the many sculptures...
 Below, my son is photographing a piece that reminded him of Sputnik. 
 We did, by the way, eventually make it to Bash Bish Falls, about 10 miles down the road.  There's a great legend about the derivation of its name, which you can find with a Google search.


  1. Wow! I would have stopped too. I love those tired looking aliens!

    1. Me too! My husband actually took a pic of me inside one, but I haven't gotten his camera from him yet to retrieve the picture.

  2. What an AMAZING place!!!! I love seeing things like this where someone devotes a lifetime to creating a totally unique vision and is able to maintain it. I have one question for you, Phyl. You have one photo (in the middle of your series) that looks like a fir tree with its trunk in a knot. Is that really a living tree???? How did he do that???
    This would be great inspiration for so many kids' art projects!! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Christie, yes, this could be a great inspiration! As for the knotted tree - there were actually several trees on the site that had been coaxed into circles or similar shapes. The trees are very pliant/flexible when young, and were wired in place to hold in position until they actually grew into the shapes Bijan desired. No wire on it any more!

  3. Love it! Those roadside chance encounters seem to always be the most memorable.