Outside the front entrance of Sullivan County’s Cornell University Cooperative Extension grows a strange looking plant. Or is it even a plant at all? Three earthy, metal “stalks” of various heights have sprung up, each ringed by a number of discs ranging in size. Water trickles down from the top of each stalk, creating a pool in each disc, before soaking into the pebbled ground below. This fountain, custom made and installed by artist and architectural stylist Amy Lewis, is aptly named GROW by AGRISCULPTURE.
Much like the sculptures she crafts, Lewis’ journey to AGRISCULPTURE wound and grew organically. After graduating from Cornell University’s architecture program, she made her way to Dubai (by sheer force of will and a little bit of serendipity) to contribute to the explosion of its new construction. Her next move was to design and construct movie sets in Los Angeles, while creating jewelry made from computer parts on the side. From there, she designed and built a world-famous installation at Burning Man 2010.
Lewis finally revisited her roots in upstate New York and found an artistic home at Tunis Sweetman Dairy Farm in Warwick, NY. It is therefore incredibly fitting that AGRISCULPTURE builds on and turns to art remnants of America’s farming heritage. Lewis’ remarkable journey would not be possible if she were not an embodiment of some of the core values of the American dream: unapologetic enthusiasm, unwavering determination, and the ability to recognize and seize opportunity when it strikes. It may have been chance that she drove by a field with an abandoned disc harrow just as she needed inspiration, but it was her steadfast quest for disc harrows that brought her to Tunis Sweetman Dairy Farm.
Throughout this process, Lewis’ development has grown and nurtured the idea of an “architectural stylist.” Part architect, part designer, part artist, this type of stylist is a blend of technical know-how and creative innovation, and has an eye for creating a thrilling visual space.
In addition to her work and designs, Lewis loves creating commissioned work. When presented with a client’s simple need, Lewis returns a work of art; she takes the strangest of materials or ideas and turns them into something unique and useful. For instance, a recent project for a restaurant in Warwick ended up being a fence made of old pitchforks. It truly is an organic process, and the best part is being able to surprise clients and exceed their expectations.
Lewis delights in overhearing, “What IS that? I’ve never seen something like that before!” It mirrors her own exclamation upon seeing that first sleeping disc harrow in a field in New York.
Photography and Rendering by Amy Lewis
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