In 2006 the brand new Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library inherited several newel posts that had been savaged from an old historic building in Clifton Park, NY. For those of you who aren’t sure what a newel post is; it’s a wooden post that is turned down on a wood lathe to create a uniquely designed architectural, furniture-like piece used to create wooden railings and banisters. The library wanted to use the posts to create a unique display for their children’s section so they asked me to come up with some ideas. I was immediately inspired recalling some contemporary sculptures I had seen at the Bronx Zoo just a week before in which typical house hold items were assembled together to form larger items. At the Bronx Zoo, they created flowers from things like rakes, spades and a lawn sprinklers.
So with their rounded crowns that resembled little wooden heads, I thought what fun it would be to create some “Newel People”. In the spirit of the Bronx Zoo flowers, I began to gather all sort of things from my basement, local hardware store and closest dollar store. Some whisk brooms and feather duster were used to create some fancy head tresses, while I used a large funnel for a skirt for one of the Newel girls, along with some stylish brass hose bibs that created a flowery necklace… the ultimate Newel Person accessory.
The results were a family of 5 Newel People… Mom, Dad, 2 sisters and my favorite, little brother, a “Rocker Boy” made up of stainless measuring cups and tea spoons. Complete with a punk-ish haircut made from a trimmed pot scrubber, this guy exhibits the coolest-of-cool in Newel Town. These brightly colored creatures have been a favorite of all who visit the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library at 475 Moe Road in Clifton Park since they were installed over 2 years ago.
This summer, to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, children and teens are invited to help the Library add to its Newel Post family by designing new Newel Post Friends. Three winning designs will be chosen and the new Newel Post Friends will be produced by Creatacor of and installed in the Library.
Using common household goods, students will be asked to design a Newel Post Friend. Judging will be based upon the design as well as on the list of items used.
There are three categories for the contest and a winning design will be chosen from each category.
• Elementary School (Grades K-5)
• Middle School (Grades 6-8)
• High School (Grades 9-12)
A review panel composed of local artists and designers will judge the entries. The review panel will then select one winner in each category.
Deadline for submission is August 31, 2009. Winners will be notified by September 17. Please stop into the library for an entry form and complete contest rules. Questions? Please contact Alex Gutelius at 371-8622 or email [email protected].