“Oh, hold on,” says Lori, employee at Solstice Outdoors in Dripping Springs, before rushing over to the stairs of the gallery. She helps a woman with a walker climb up the steps. “I come here every year,” says the woman as she grasps her walker, gazing at a painting. The sheer wonder in her eyes is as novel as a child’s. The woman came halfway across the state to see the art gallery at Solstice which, to most, is as beautiful as the Garden of Eden.
Art gallery and garden center Solstice recently celebrated its 10th anniversary of being up and running and touching people with its many expressions of art. One person especially affected by Solstice is Lori.
“I started here as a customer, and I became friendly with the owner. Six months later, here I am,” she said.
Lori explained that it was just a matter of time before she would work there. As a customer, she liked the idea of leaving the corporate world she worked in for Solstice.
“Most of the things here are made from different things you wouldn’t expect to see, and to me, that’s what makes them so attractive,” Lori said.
Lori’s favorite pieces are made by the owner: concrete mushrooms, of which there are 50 or 60 that scatter the garden. The materials used to make them are unorthodox; they can be anything from sapphires to screws.
“I’m really more of a plant person and I’m more knowledgeable about them,” Lori said.
The nursery is run by a woman named Irene Anderson, whom Lori likes to chat with about gardening.
“Some of the sculptures here in the garden look like they just sprouted out of the ground, like they belong here,” Lori said.
In the back of the garden sits a metallic peacock, colors faded from years of resting there. Vines tangle themselves under the bird’s wings, evoking a feeling that the peacock is just as much a part of nature as the leaves are.
“You kind of enter a different world in here, with all the sculptures. You can get lost in the art,” Lori said.
Most of the art comes from Central Texas artists, although the kinetic sculptures they’re known for come from a man based in Santa Fe.
“This place touches people. I’ve had people come in here who see a piece and it reminds them of someone they lost so many years ago,” Lori said.
She stopped to pick up a planter that had been toppled over by the wind. She set it upright and explained she had a heart-to-heart with a customer about someone they lost recently.
“They come in not necessarily as a shopper,” Lori said, “but someone who wants to be moved by the art.”
Written by Madeline Tredway