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Evelyne Dantel, Les petits jardins d’Eve (Eve’s little gardens)

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Visiting Information

Initially Evelyne Dantel was reticent about publicity, showing her work anonymously on social media, but she is now more eager to share her work with visitors. For example, in June 2016 and 2017, during national open days featuring cultural sites organized by the French Ministry of Culture, she opened the garden to the public.  There will be additional open days in the future when the public may view the garden and her many wonderful works.

About the Artist/Site

Born in the French community of Nevers, after Evelyne Dantel completed her primary education she studied psychology at the Faculté de Dyon, in the region of Bourgogne. After graduation, she took a job as a clinical psychologist at a specialized hospital in La Charité-sur-Loire, a historical town of some 5000 inhabitants situated along the Loire river.

Dantel moved into a house in the rural environs of La Charité with a fairly large garden. After living there for a while, the thought occurred to her that she should do something with that garden, so around 2010 she began a decorative project whose development continues to this day. She embellished the garden with a variety of sculptures, installations, and other creative elements, and she began decorating the walls of the house with mosaics.

The sculptures and installations in the garden are situated in various sections, each distinguished as a petit jardin (small garden), and each with a specific character or featuring a specific type of works. For example, in the jardin des têtes (the garden of heads), located in the left rear side of the larger garden, one finds an ensemble of mosaic decorated sculptures standing together in a circular arrangement. The twelve heads are of different heights, arranged according to increasing size: the lowest rests on the ground in the front, the highest on cylindrical pedestals in the back.

Left and right flanking another rear garden path, a couple of multicolored, winding snakes approach a blue wall, known as the mur aux seins (the breast wall), which was created in an early phase of the development of the garden. Another notable element in the garden is a gate whose sides are formed by huge iron wheels previously used in agriculture, all welded together by hand.

Meanwhile, the staircase on a corner of the house as well as the building’s walls are becoming filled with colorful mosaics made from pieces of tiles, broken crockery, shells, pebbles, pearls, and buttons. Her mosaic work, full of imagination, is quite realistic; among the images are an impressive dragon in blue and two horses next to a tree looking at each other, framed by the pink background wall. A recent addition includes an image of a tree several meters high located on a side wall of the house. It has a thick dark trunk and lush green leaves; one can similarly see the elaborate root system below.

Dantel works without preliminary drawings or preconceived plans, depending on the material to show her the way. Once she has a collection of shards, she discovers ideas about ways that different images and scenes can be represented. “I break the pieces with the hammer and I launch,” she says.

Initially Evelyne Dantel was reticent about publicity, showing her work anonymously on social media, but she is now more eager to share her work with visitors. For example, in June 2016 and 2017, during national open days featuring cultural sites organized by the French Ministry of Culture, she opened the garden to the public.  There will be additional open days in the future when the public may view the garden and her many wonderful works.

- Henk van Es

 



Map and site information

165 Chemin des Grands Prés
Raveau, Bourgogne Franche-Comté, France
Latitude/Longitude: 47.17539 / 3.061074

Visiting Information

Initially Evelyne Dantel was reticent about publicity, showing her work anonymously on social media, but she is now more eager to share her work with visitors. For example, in June 2016 and 2017, during national open days featuring cultural sites organized by the French Ministry of Culture, she opened the garden to the public.  There will be additional open days in the future when the public may view the garden and her many wonderful works.

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