Columbus, Ohio USA
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Friends of Goodale Park
Special park discoveries turn into artistic treasures

December 2007
by Pat Lewis

See Photo/Article of 2008 ComFest Booth

Devon Palmer, a woodworker, was delighted when he saw the grain of this Hawthorne tree harvested from Goodale Park, later used to create art for the Friends of Goodale Park.

This fall, the Friends of Goodale Park and the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department had two special requests that transformed dying Goodale Park plants into art that will live forever.

Devon Palmer
Devon Palmer lives near Goodale Park and walks his dog in the area a couple times a day. In October, he was walking near Park Street and noticed a dying Hawthorne tree (Singleseed Hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna). He also noticed that the tree was covered with burls, a unique texture in its grain highly desirable for creating wood pieces. His first thought was to find a way to save this tree from the wood chipper. His second thought was to create beautiful, useful pieces of art and donate them to Friends of Goodale Park to raise funds and further their mission of enhancing the park.

He first approached Stan Sells, president of Friends of Goodale Park (FGP), to see if the organization might be interested in his idea. Sells said the idea was timely. Two special projects were in need of funding: a long-standing plan for a water feature, Tête-à-Tête Falls, scheduled for placement in Goodale Pond once its funding goal is met, and a critical need for expensive restoration work on the original gates (circa 1870) on the south side of the park.

Although Sells had a strong interest in Palmer’s proposal, he knew they would have to seek approval from the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. After careful consideration, CRPD granted permission to use the wood, provided it was used to raise funds for park improvements. At 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, November 13, Devon met with CRPD staff to harvest the tree and was delighted when he saw the wood grain, calling it “spectacular.”

Devon Palmer’s parents were both woodworkers, so five years ago when he decided he needed a hobby, woodworking naturally came to mind and his parents helped him get started. He produces bowls, vases, goblets, platters, boxes, candlesticks, toys, architectural pieces and Christmas ornaments from a variety of wood – handcrafted functional artwork that will last for generations. Today he is active in several woodturning organizations, his work has been featured in local shows (the first being Comfest 2006), and he has his own interesting Web site at

Dave Brigner's craft is casting leaves in concrete. Brigner works as a horticulturist for the Franklin Conservatory and his work is available in the Conservatory's gift shop.

Dave Brigner
Dave Brigner is a horticulturist at the Franklin Park Conservatory. For two years, he had looked for a source of lotus leaves and was delighted to find the beautiful display of pink and white lotus in the Goodale Park Lake last summer. However, by October the blossoms were gone and the leaves were dying. He hoped to get a few leaves before the frost, so he called Friends of Goodale Park and was encouraged to take all the leaves he wanted since decaying plant material under ice depletes oxygen and is harmful to aquatic life. When he went to the lake to retrieve the leaves, he found the ones near the edge were tattered but could see intact specimens in the middle of the lake. As luck would have it, FGP board member Greg Maynard was chest-deep in the pond at the time removing lotus leaves and kindly volunteered to hand-pick a dozen of the best specimens for him.

Dave’s craft is casting leaves in concrete. He loves saving perishables from nature and transforming them into art objects that can be enjoyed for years. The lotus leaf is the largest leaf he has ever worked with, and he plans to make them into ground-level reflection pools and birdbaths. Small leaves make unique artwork to accessorize tables or hang on walls. Initially, he painted his castings to look as natural as possible but later was inspired by the Franklin Park Conservatory’s Chihuly exhibit and began using bright colors on some of his pieces. His work can be found in the Conservatory’s gift shop as well as the Columbus Framing Gallery or at

Works by Dave Brigner

The work of both artists will be on display and presented as silent auction items at the Friends of Goodale Park Holiday Gala to be held this year on Wednesday, December 5, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the beautiful new Harrison Park Community Center. Your $35 donation at the door goes toward enhancements in Goodale Park. This annual event always provides a great time with delicious edibles donated by our fabulous Short North restaurants, holiday music and cheer, and a chance to meet and mingle with friends and neighbors who also appreciate Goodale Park. The Erik Augis duo will be performing. For additional information about the Holiday Gala, please contact 614-228-2912 or visit the brand new Friends of Goodale Park Web site (the photo gallery is awesome) at

©2007 Short North Gazette, Columbus, Ohio. All rights reserved.

Call Stan Sells at 614-299-4202 for more information or visit

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