Wednesday, September 30, 2009

CornerStone, the land of Ahs

Photo above...I never saw a purple cow...or a blue tree either for that matter !
This post is about a very special place, an almost mystical, magical wonderland of delights. Driving down highway 121 in Sonoma, California it begins as a curiosity, a strange, tall landmark jutting up into a Sonoma blue sky..."Is it sculpture, or is it a tree?"

You get your first clue that you're approaching a very unique moment in space and time when you see a white picket fence that appears to be upside down and then, as you proceed further, the white picket fence becomes twisted and airborne. My first thought was; "What the heck ?", but then I saw it, a quaint white clapboard farmhouse, small, neat, with a tidy little picket fence at the front of its garden. Ah! It was Auntie Em's house and the Kansas tornado was ripping away the trim little white fence.

Imaginative ! Bold and beautiful ! CornerStone is as thought provoking as stepping across Dorothy's fabled threshold into vivid Technicolored Oz. This land of Oz (or Ahs) is CornerStone, an eclectic collection of artistic shops and galleries. Dave Allen, president of Artefact Design & Salvage, conceived CornerStone and aided by his unencumbered, cutting edge mentaility a true oasis was born within this lush Sonoma valley.

Photo below...The courtyard at the front entrance to CornerStone feature stone planters filled with recently trimmed Olive Trees .

Photo below...entering into CornerStone.

Here, in a cluster of crisp, attractive buildings, are shops that intrigue and excite ones imagination. I only wish I had more time to fully explore each and every one. There was one shop in particular that truly captivated my attention, around and within this magnificent shop where objects and sights that were sheer delights to one's senses.

Artefact Design & Salvage, Inc. was so visually tantalizing I hardly knew where to look first, it is a veritable cornucopia of beautiful architectural salvage and fantastic works of art. Outside I was instantly drawn to an assortment of precious succulents which one could purchase by the pot or displayed in a hollowed out granite rock. Unique and eye catching !

Photo below...lovely succulents and a granite rock planter filled with lush green succulents. Everywhere the eye may wander you will see architectural accents and decorations.

Photo below...Once I stepped inside ARTEFACTDESIGN&SALVAGE I was overwhelmed by the array of beautiful items and with the very grandeur of the shop itself.

Photos above and below...Absolutely stunning. ARTEFACTDESIGN&SALVAGE is art in and of itself...if I were giving out stars, this one would rate a full and perfect 5 stars.

Photo below... Almost instantly my gaze rested upon a wooden sculpture of an magnificent eagle, it seemed to be metamorphosing from a rugged burl of wood.

Photo below... I found myself transfixed, staring in awe at its beauty and the flawless craftsmanship of its artist.

Later I would learn that the artist of this fantastic eagle lived in Java and that Java's once vast forest of teak trees had long ago been decimated, cut for timber, all that remained were the stumps and the underground root burls. Ingenuously they began digging out the teak stumps and roots to use in the wood sculptors art, it proved to be a wood worthy of such an enterprise. As the ground is slowly cleared of these stumps, soy is planted to renourish the soil, after this has been accomplish there will be an attempt to reforest the land and return it to its former glory.

Photos below...a second wood sculpture of an equally impressive eagle...part bird part tree.

Photo below...the eagle didn't come out as well in this shot, however the high stack of blue wooden chairs, at the far right in photo, was photo worthy. Everything in ArteFactDesign & Salvage is art and is displayed and arranged artfully.

Photo below...a salvaged crucifix perhaps graced the back of a church's altar. A ray a bright sunlight illuminates its holy presence, like a blessing from above.

Brendan Jennings manages Artefact Design & Salvage during the week, he is also in charge of logistics & intsalls. This glorious shop of wonders and beauty can be found at 23562 Highway 121, Sonoma California 95476. You may also reach Brendan by email : or phone: 707-933-0660.

Though I've added links that one can click you may also copy and paste his website below:

Photos below...Just a small dash of some of the other features around this intriguing garden gallery called CornerStone

photo above...large agave catus stands proudly in front of a huge driftwood ball. These balls are actually many pieces of natural driftwood pinned together into an immense ball. Would make quite a conversation piece, wouldn't it ?

Photos below...Imaginative and artistic stone sculptures.

photos below...and back to the beginning...The Blue Tree and its story :

Photo above...Signage reads: Cormier gives new life to a diseased tree slated for removal, decking its branches with 80,000 sky-blue Christmas balls. The landscape equivalent of a "Photoshop eraser" saturates the natural tree with the artificial, in a bid for total camouflage. But the opposite result occurs: Blue Tree stand out against the ever-changing sky, becoming a barometer for subtle fluctuations in light.

If you are out in this area it is well worth a visit, give your senses and your imagination a treat. If you're planning a trip to the wine sure to save a day or at least an afternoon to stop in and marvel at this garden of ahhs. CornerStone on 23570 Hwy 121 (Arnold Drive) in Sonoma, California.


  1. those photos are great, but the blue tree is my favorite! i've never seen a blue tree either!

  2. What a strange magical place! I like it! Those stone sculptures are cool!


  3. WOW! I'm really impressed! It's a marvellous place. What is the tree in the first photo?

  4. Wow how cool! Discovering little hidden gems like that is what makes a road trip so worth it for Matt & I. Wine country has long been on my list of places to see. Thanks for the tour through CornerStone, it is now too on the list!

  5. Definitely going to bookmark Cornerstone for my next trip south! What a fun place I wish I had known about it this trip but I am excited for next time, thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful weekend, regards, T. :)

  6. Oh wow... so much creative work! I would love to visit Sonoma one day for wine tours... but, I will have to add this place to my list too! ;)

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