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Yard art
Think beyond flamingos and gnomes for a modern approach to exterior decoration

By JULIE LARRIVEE

May 2007

1 Joeann Genetti-Teeple Abra in green and blue, $225 and up. Call (920) 474-4769 or (262) 443-3282 for buying information.

Atchison-based artist Joeann Genetti-Teeple calls her pieces "Abra." "They’re made of decorative iron that looks like tree bark and huge chunks — 5 to 15 inches — of colored glass. I wrap the iron around the glass and then you just stick them in the ground." The finished artwork is 3 to 5 feet high, depending on how many glass pieces are incorporated. Clients are invited to pick out what they’d like in their creation, and Genetti-Teeple will craft it to their specifications. Custom pieces take about seven to 10 days to craft.

2 Frank Bauer mosaics, $175 and up, at Private Gardener, 190 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, (414) 223-4747

The vivid colors of artist Frank Bauer’s mosaics make them a favorite of Victoria Voyner of Private Gardener and other Midwesterners who are "so done" with winter. Bauer, a former Sheboygan resident, now lives in Los Angeles. Private Gardener is the only local outlet for Bauer’s art. "The pieces are all unique because each is handmade," Voyner explains. "These mosaics are used on a variety of different items — pots and fabulous bird baths." The pieces can be used outdoors and are suitable for terraces and balconies. They can also be taken indoors. "I have one client who purchased a birdbath, put a glass top on it and uses it as a table."

3 Curt Winter chair in purple, pink and teal, $400, at Urban Accents, 159 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, (414) 220-5050

Nancy Rappaport, owner of Urban Accents, is enthusiastic about this Adirondack-style chair from Franklin designer Curt Winter, a mechanical engineer who dabbles in art. "It’s really unique," she says. The chairs, crafted from contemporary skis, can be used both inside and outside as the screws, nails and fasteners are all exterior-rated materials. These interesting pieces provide a pop of color in the yard.

4 Eero Aarnio Puppies in orange, green or white, $60-80, at Garden Room, 2107 E. Capitol Drive, Shorewood, (414) 963-1657

Buyer Margaret Martin says the artwork by Italian designer Eero Aarnio reminds her of the Beasties. "They are made of very tough, durable plastic," she says. "They can be a decoration or the kids can climb and sit on them." "Puppies," as they are called, come from the kids’ line of Magis Spa, an Italian design company, and are crafted in bold, bright colors. While the medium Puppy is about 18 inches tall and 23 inches long, the extra-large version of the breed is about 32 inches tall and 40 inches long. Martin says Puppies are great for gardens where children visit, but they’re also "for anyone who enjoys fun things" in his or her yard.