[Alyson Kuhn] Oh-là-là! Behold the Eiffel Tower made of cork and wire, the handiwork of artist Steven Leslie, who also thought of Cork & Wire as the title for this post. We could refer to his workplay as a courk de force. This Eiffel Tower was commissioned by Andrea Drexelius of French Basketeer, for her stand at the French Festival in Santa Barbara this past weekend.
My friend Nissim invited me to dinner in the Eiffel Tower one Bastille Day in the mid-70s. Even though I’d been living in Paris for several years, I had never gone up the Tower. The line for the elevator was l-o-n-g, and for some reason which I can no longer even kuhnjure up, I didn’t want to wait, so I announced that I would take the stairs. Which I did, arriving slightly breathy and dewy. That was the only occasion on which I went up the Tower.
Which may or may not explain why I didn’t know that there was a post office on a higher level. Twenty-some years later, my friend Ward, on his first trip to Paris, speaking little French except Oui, discovered the post office and sent me a huge Art Nouveau card in an envelope franked with a superb Champs-Elysées postage stamp – and a Tour Eiffel postmark. So bravo!
Andrea’s Le Courk Eiffel wasn’t quite fini in time for the Festival, so she perched a wine bottle at the tippy-top, where Steven Leslie will put the observation deck next week. Speaking of observation, the tower came in for a lot of it, per the French Basketeer blogspot: Hundreds of photos were taken, many questions were posed, and more than a few people grabbed parasols from the bin, took a quick souvenir snap in front of the tower, then put the parasols back and left. I quickly tired of taking photos of people taking photos….
You can see a gallery of Steven Leslie’s sculptures at oneofacork.com – from Cork In The Road, a 6 ft urn made from 3,500 corks, to his original Eiffel Tower, 8 ft 9 in and currently living in style in Panama. Vive l’esprit de cork!
Photos courtesy of French Basketeer.
Alyson Kuhn, the editor of Felt & Wire, once interviewed a romantic young man who flew over to Paris to surprise his girlfriend at the top of the Eiffel Tower – and propose. They lived happily ever after.