Artist whips up whimsical tree house for squirrel - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

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Artist whips up whimsical tree house for squirrel

Multi-media artist Jennifer Culp at work. (Source: WAFF) Multi-media artist Jennifer Culp at work. (Source: WAFF)

Art, like beauty, is often said to be in the eye of the beholder, but often there are works of whimsy which catch the eye.

Such is the case of the little tree at the Tennessee Valley Pecan Company on Bank Street in Decatur.

The 810 studio of Jennifer Culp has some amazing works of art. Photographs and paintings are guarded by the official greeter. She's one of those multi-media artists who just seems to have a knack when it comes to pulling out the heart of an individual or the essence of a piece.

That's evident in her answer to a challenge to conjure something magical for  The Tennessee Valley Pecan Company in Decatur and their squirrel.

"They have a mascot and his name is Elliot.  When they lived down on the 700 block of Bank Street, Elliot lived under the stairs. Well when they moved into the new place, next door, Elliott didn't have a place to live," said Culp. "When I started building it, I had a general idea of what I wanted, but things just grew."

And grew and grew from the child within her.

"From story books you know, when we were growing up," said Culp.

She said Winnie the Poo was an inspiration. The more she worked, the more the magic seemed to bloom.

Putting the tree together was no easy feat.  Culp said it took her about 60 man hours to get it done." 

"It's covered in chicken wire and plastic and then it has paper mache'," said Culp.

She said from this she made a concoction.

"Paper mache' mix that I used, exterior house paint, house insulation, and I actually put real tree bark in the mix," explained Culp.

The results look like a Disney daydream. A front door, nesting birds, lady bugs, realistic windows, and stairs. A butterfly, bridge, and even a leaf roof, with moss.

"Some people don't know that there's a house inside there.  And there's little lights, little chandelier lights on the inside," said Culp. "So the kids can peek through the windows and it's just for the imagination ."

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