What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Happiness - Bluebirds and Otherwise

Today we went to Terra Studios - Home of the World famous Bluebird of Happiness. I see these bluebirds all over blogland and I know they are all made a mere twenty miles from my house, but I had never been. Until today. It was my first visit, but it won't be my last. 
I was a little overzealous taking photos of every single thing I saw until I killed my battery out earlier into our visit.  This is only a small fraction of everything there was to do and see at Terra.  The bathrooms are covered in blue and white hand painted tiles made by local children.  All around the bathrooms and actually, inside the bathrooms too, there are sculptures of trolls.  I liked this one - "Our singer is a little horse" not hoarse but an actual horse.

All around the grounds there were "Trash Trolls" and you were encouraged to feed them as much as you could, all day long.  A fun way to get kids (of all ages!) to throw away their trash.
This was one of my favorite places.  This giant metal bin of sorts held large chunks of the blue glass they use to make the actual bluebirds.  There was the traditional blue and cobalt blue mixed in.  You could reach in and tough it and even pull out chunks to hold.  But they prettiest part was when the sun shone right through it.  Amazing!

This gazebo was in honor of the "little bluebird that made everything possible".  Inside the Gazebo there were 1084 bluebirds.  Again, when the sun hit them - WOW!

If you have even one of these bluebirds you probably remember how excited you were to find ONE - how about 1084 of them all in one place!
Time to visit the Art Gallery.  Although Terra is most famous for the Bluebirds, they make a remarkable amount of fabulous pottery.  Sculptures of all varieties, amazing things.  Every thing at Terra and on the grounds was handmade - the mirrors, the trash cans, the Gazebos, the street lights..even the Employees Must Wash hands sign was handcrafted out of clay.  So much love and labor went into everything on the property.
In the back of the Gallery you could watch them make the bluebirds.  I was amazed at how simple it was to make a Bluebird.  I don't mean to imply that I could make one, but it really was a fast process, about seven steps in less than two minutes. 
Back to the glass chunk wall - as the sun moved, it just got more beautiful with every second.
Here is an example of everything being handmade - this gazebo was completely made out of clay - each piece fired, stacked and threaded to make columns, railings, etc.  It was really amazing.
Here is a huge wall designed by Rita Ward - it was about thirty feet long and beautiful.  I have always been drawn to cobalt blue and that gorgeous aqua blue has been creeping up on my happiness scale lately.
Flowers with faces - what could be more perfect?

How about one huge flower with a face?

You have my word that if any of you ever come to NW Arkansas - I will take you to Terra Studios and I will buy you a Bluebird of Happiness.  You will LOVE it!



  1. Shara thanks for the visit to this great place. I have three of the blue birds and I love them. They sit in my window so the sun can make them glow! I can't imagine the beauty of 1084 blue birds!

  2. I love the trash troll! how fun and the flowers with faces. Do they sell some of the clay stuff? Of course I have a blue bird of happyness from my mom's things.
    fun trip

  3. That big bin of glass is absolutely gorgeous! I think I would have sat, mesmerized. What a fun outing and a neat place that must be to work. Love that they obviously value and foster creativity. And I love my little bluebirds!

  4. Shara, I would love to come to Arkansas and be taken to the bluebird place! Thanks for the tour, it looks wonderful.

  5. Thanks for taking us with you on your adventure! I loved your post and I saw a place I may never be able to visit! I loved all of your pictures!!

  6. So wierd, I just found my first bluebird this week! I was excited to find it! Thanks for sharing this as I had no idea about its origins! :)

  7. Oh THAT was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!!!
    THANKS for letting us Northerners live vicariously through you once again!!

  8. Awesome--especially the Trash Troll. Flowers with faces creep me out, though.

  9. So pretty. I wish I'd known about this place the other year when I was driving through AR. I would've gone out of my way when I spent the night in Russellville to go see this place. Thanks for sharing with us all of the wonderful pictures.


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