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Tiny Doors Lead to a World of Imagination

Anne Evans Anne Evans Tiny Doors Lead to a World of ImaginationTodd Camp's Tiny Door can be found in Schiller Park, near the Huntington Gardens.
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Have you found one? I know it’s always been my dream to do this kind of thing, afterall, I’ve been enchanted with the world of elves and fairies since childhood. Aren’t a lot of kids? …and adults?

This summer, the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department is participating in the second year of Keebler’s Tiny Door Project, an idea and grassroots marketing effort supported by Keebler and City Enventions. The doors are meant to inspire imaginations in children and adults, get people out to explore their city parks, and to bring a little whimsy into everyone’s lives.

Four artists were chosen for this project: Todd Camp, Kenny Cramer, Eric Rausch, and Abel Hernandez.

“We made the decision that if the doors were going to be showcased in our parks, then we wanted to showcase the tremendous talents of our staff and students,” says Terri S. Leist, Assistant Director, Columbus Recreation and Parks. “Keebler had requested that whatever parks we chose, that the parks needs to be heavily visited by families. So, once we chose Bicentennial, Schiller and Whetstone, we then worked with our City Forester to help us pick out the trees and then we asked him to work with the artists to insure there would be no damage to any of the trees.”

Todd Camp’s door can be found in Schiller Park.

“I immediately loved the thought of the project and had to get involved,” says Camp.

Camp is currently painting but has years of clay, sculpture, photography, and mixed media experience. For his door he tried sculpey clay for the first time. Magic rocks quarried from a special steam in Eastern Ohio, wood carved from the sea salt worn drift wood of the Atlantic and moss from Hobby Lobby finished out the project.

“I imagined what my house would look like if I was 5 inches tall and designed an abode inspired by the sea with a colorful mushroom landscape and inviting patio to have elf drinks on with my fairy friends,” he says. “This was a tricky tree I had to deal with because the hole at the base was 12 inches across and narrowed to 6 inches at the top. Nothing could be physically attached to the tree with nails or screws so I had to come up with some creative solutions to keep it in place.”

Kenny Cramer’s door is nestled into a five and half inch wedge in the base of a tree, also in Schiller Park.

“I was an imaginative child who wanted to see magic in the real world,” he says. “This type of project was just right up my alley.”

Kenny Cramer's Tiny Door in progress and then installed. Photos courtesy Kenny Cramer.

Kenny Cramer’s Tiny Door in progress and then installed. Photos courtesy Kenny Cramer.

Cramer was the artist who created the 3D sidewalk art at the entrance of the fountains, by Milestone229 during Summer of 2013.

“My artwork is entirely hand drawn with real world materials,” says Cramer. “Even the color is applied by hand; stroke by stoke just using a Wacom pen on the computer rather than an actual paint brush.”

He prefers to use digital tools to add the color to his pieces because, “You can actually paint under the drawing, meaning the detail in the original drawing is preserved unlike if you painted directly on top of the image. All of the shading and tonality from the drawing works with the added color underneath, preserving the original drawing and enhancing it.”

The image is then printed on an adhesive outdoor vinyl film and was applied to the wood that would make the door. A scroll saw, dremel tool, and chisels were used to create the bark look around the edge.

Magic in Schiller Park, near Lazelle Alley and Reinhard Avenue.

Magic in Schiller Park, near Lazelle Alley and Reinhard Avenue.

Camp has also worked on public art projects before, some large scale, but “none as unique as this,” he says.

“I was able to connect with several on-lookers as I was cutting a template from cardboard on site,” says Camp. “An inquisitive man asked ‘What are you doing? I know a lot about trees. Are you an arborist?’ When I replied ‘No, an artist’. He said, ‘I thought maybe you were repairing the tree with tape and cardboard, a technique I am not familiar with’.”

“I should have said I was an arborist,” adds Camp with a smile.

A surprise awaits in Bicentennial Park.

A surprise awaits in Bicentennial Park.

Doors can be found in Bicentennial, Schiller, and Whetstone Parks, so get out there and enjoy your parks! They will be up through September 14, 2014.

“The project is complete for the time being, but you never know when the magic of elves will appear again,” says Leist. “We hope the project will encourage people to visit not only these three parks, but all of the 240 parks in our city so they can spend time outdoors and be curious about what each park has to offer.”

When you find a door, take a photo and tag it with #tinydoors to share throughout social media.

Discover more information at Columbus.gov/TinyDoorsProject and tinydoorproject.com.

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