Take a tuba and sculpt
Where do old musical instruments go when they become irrevocably out of tune? If they fall into the hands of once-upon-a-time-professional-welder-tur ned-sculptor Robert Martin, they may be playfully reincarnated as giraffes, elephants or fanciful characters.
Martin started out with fountains made of plumbing fixtures (the first was his 12-foot Water Faucet Water Fountain for a restaurant in California). Then one day, he says, he was in Cincinnati looking for old faucets when he tripped over a trombone. Inspiration struck. Old musical instruments can be perfect for water designs, he says, because they already have tubes.
Martin, who splits his time between Key Largo, Fla., and King George, Va., uses French horns, tubas, clarinets, saxophones, trombones and flutes to create his 4-to-7-foot-tall works. (He has, however, created a 30-foot-tall, 15-foot-wide, 85-instrument water sculpture for a New Orleans jazz theme park that opens later this year.)
Prices for the sculptures start at $850 for a small elephant and go up to as much as $2,700 for a large fountain. They're available regionally at ZYZYX!, which has two locations: 1809 Reisterstown Road, in the Festival at Woodholme (410-486-9785); and 10301A Old Georgetown Road, in the Wildwood Shopping Center in Bethesda (301-493-0297).
Williamsburg for the home
Williamsburg, long noted for its authentic Colonial reproductions, is branching out. Through licensing agreements, companies such as Lane, Nourison, Waverly and Crown Crafts will be producing lines of furniture, bedding, lighting and accessories designed to complement and coordinate with the 18th-century pieces. The new items are more relaxed in style, an "interpretive parallel" to the antique designs.
For a catalog of Williamsburg products, call 800-446-9240. For more information, including retailers near you, call customer service at 800-414-6291. Or write P.O. Box 3532, Williamsburg, Va. 23185-3532.
Buying original art, if you're not an expert but simply know what you like when you see it, can be intimidating. Most people feel they lack the expertise to choose "good" art, and no one wants to be laughed at for a particular choice. People also can be nervous about being talked into buying something that's trendy but ultimately tiresome.
Now there's a new way to find art works you like, and it's on the Internet, of course. Warning: This cool site can be hazardous to your sense of time. You can spend hours viewing thousands of paintings, choosing by artist, theme (birds, cityscape), technique (watercolor, pastels), style (impressionist, surrealism) and other criteria. The works come in all sizes, from a few inches to several feet per side. Prices range from $40 to $15,000. You can view a painting in scale against a human figure, even choose a frame. The site -- paintingsdirect.com -- also offers art news, featured artists and other information.
* The Baltimore Antique Bottle Club's annual show takes place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. next Sunday at the Essex Community College Athletic Center, 7201 Rossville Blvd. The show features more than 250 dealers offering antique bottles, plus postcards, pottery, glass and tins. Visitors may bring items for free appraisals. Admission is $2. For more information, call 410-252-0024.
* Two movies for people who love gardening will be shown from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. March 22 in the auditorium of the administration building at the National Arboretum, 3501 New York Ave. N.E. in Washington. The movies are a documentary on the Garden Conservancy's efforts to save important American gardens and the French film "Three Gardeners." The event is free, but registration is required. Call 202-245-4521.