Greetings from “Flex” the “Fortune Frog”. This unique creation by James I. Van Epps stretches out as if to smile, welcome, and keep watch while ensuring good furtune. The artist makes each ceramic character in it’s one-of-a-kind imaginative role. Every one has a purpose and story behind it.
The huge wooden front doors to the Akron Zoo Third Annual Trunk Show opened and there to greet everyone were some friendly humans, and a collection of whimsical “Fortune Frogs” and James I. Van Epps, the artist. The creatures have names and stories. Besides “Flex”, I was introduced to “Paul E. Wogg” and ‘Snatch” and then mixed among the frog figures, I found fascinating decorative boxes. Some with frogs, and others ornate with butterflies, sea animals, or imaginative garden fairies.
James explained some of his own story.
When I was a child, my mother would tell me that we had fairies dancing in our garden. I could not see them. When I asked her why, she explained that I would have to be very still and quiet. I would sit quietly waiting for them to be revealed to me. I learned to become close to nature and meditative. Inspirations for the “Lock Boxes” are from those quiet, curious moments in the gardens where I grew up, in Strasburg Ohio. I hope that my lock boxes inspire you to enjoy quietness and nature.
Every lock box has a secret key within itself. The key is only known to the owner, and will open one , two, or maybe even three secret compartments.
Here are two lockbox photos to show you what it looks like closed, and then the same box open.
By James I. Van Epps
Dreaming of Wonderland
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Exploring nature and the arts at the Akron Zoo Trunk show has been a pleasure. I discovered some unique gifts. I did not know that I would be greeted by such whimsical creatures and secret lock boxes in which to store small valuables.
Enjoy other Trunk Show artists: Bob Barrett