Thursday, July 11, 2013

Watts Towers

After our Disney adventure, Brian wanted to take us to three sites in L.A. that made an impression on him when he was a kid. Our first stop was Watts Towers where he remembers taking a field trip when he was in elementary school.
Yes, this is the same neighborhood where the infamous Watts riots occurred in 1965.
"Simon Rodia [an Italian immigrant] spent 30 years (1921 to 1955) building a tribute to his adopted country and a monument to the spirit of individuals who make their dreams tangible." (Source)
"Two of the towers rise to a height of nearly 100 feet. The sculptures are constructed from steel pipes and rods, wrapped with wire mesh, coated with mortar, and embedded with pieces of porcelain, tile and glass." (Source)
"They are decorated with found objects, including bed frames, bottles, ceramic tiles, scrap metal and sea shells. [Rodia] built them with no special equipment or predetermined design, working alone with hand tools and window-washer's equipment. Neighborhood children brought pieces of broken glass and pottery to Rodia, some of which were added, but the majority of his material consisted of damaged pieces from the Malibu Pottery or CALCO (California Clay Products Company), located nearby. Green glass includes recognizable soft drink bottles from the 1930s through 1950s, some still bearing the former logos of 7 UpSquirtBubble Up, and Canada Dry; blue glass appears to be from milk of magnesia bottles." (Source)
I really had no idea what to expect here, but I'm so glad we stopped by and got to experience first hand this fascinating historic American folk art.

10 comments:

Ginger said...

That is so cool! I've never heard of that place before. We might have to check that out the next time we go to Cali for a vacation. :)

Shannon said...

Cool! They're a lot taller than I imagined.

Kathryn said...

Thanks for sharing this cool installation. I'd never heard of it before but wish I'd visited it when we had a daughter attending UCLA. Oh well, undoubtedly there will be something else taking us South sometime and I'll add it to my must-see list.

Lesa said...

I have never heard of the towers either. My boys would love that place. Thanks for sharing.

AllisonK said...

What an amazing place! I would love to visit it sometime.

Jenny Lynn said...

WOW, all those little things hand set. It is so awesome.

Valerie said...

So amazing! I've never heard of Watts Towers...will have to visit on our next trip to SoCal.

Haunani Thunell said...

What an amazing place. Beautiful pictures!

Marianne said...

I have never heard of this place! I'll have to ask Dennis about it--he served his mission in L.A., and spent a great deal of time living and working in Watts.

It's really quite amazing!!

Jennilyn said...

These have been on my bucket list for a long time! Thanks for great photos!