SEEDS Blog
New Garden Art: Locally Crafted & Inspired by SEEDS’ Story

New Garden Art: Locally Crafted & Inspired by SEEDS’ Story

Tuesday, Jun 6, 2017

Walking around SEEDS’ garden these days, you may notice a few new treasures, even though they fit in so seamlessly, you might just think they’ve been here all along.

These new additions include the railing that lines our outdoor classroom, and four beautiful benches that provide spots for resting. Each of these pieces of art has a long history and a talented craftsman behind it.

Ben Lock has been creating art his entire life. He holds a Masters of Fine Art from the University of Maryland and has taught sculpture at multiple universities. Ben and his family recently moved to Durham, where he teaches at Durham Technical Community College, while pursuing his own art and private studio work. Ben’s wife, Susannah, is a Durham native, and they’re thrilled to have landed back in the Bull City.

“We wanted to be somewhere that we could invest in and build a family,” Ben said. “We love Durham. It’s a great town and an excellent place to be an artist.”

While teaching a continuing education class at Durham Tech, Ben met David Cobb, who had recently completed the vibrant mural near SEEDS’ beehives. David introduced Ben to former SEEDS Garden Manager Hilary Nichols, and it turns out, Ben was just the person SEEDS was looking for to make something out of an old oak tree.

Four years ago, when construction began on the new SEEDS building, an oak that stood outside the front door was cut down. The wooden slabs from the tree were dried out and saved, and years later, thanks to Ben’s vision and craftsmanship, the old oak once again found its purpose.

Ben took the oak slabs back to his shop, where he worked the wood – cutting, planing, shaping, and finishing it – and attached the slabs to steel bases. The resulting benches are simple and stunning – and more than meets the eye. They can be used as a seat, or turned into a desk with a simple switch.

Ben also created the new railing for our outdoor classroom. Before Ben designed the railing, he met with the students in our seeds-to-feast after-school program, who drew a collage of fruits, veggies and flowers. Their artwork inspired the railing’s intricate metalwork.

We are so grateful for Ben’s craftsmanship, hard work, and shared vision for these projects. They bring even more beauty and history to our garden. (See more of Ben’s work here.)

Two of the benches sit outside the main entrance, and more are in our outdoor classroom. Come visit our garden, and have a seat!