The Trellis

This is the first blog describing the sculptures that are installed at LaSalle Reserve.

Two years ago I decided to re-design my garden on Maury Island, Washington where my wife, Barbara and I  have converted what had previously been a family home into a “venue.”  The project is complete now, and is suitable for corporate retreats, workshops and large events like weddings and other celebrations.  (In a future blog, I will describe that conversion process, which required considerable, painstaking effort – industriously led by Barbara).

Old, to-be-replaced Trellis and Garden

In the remodel, we decided  to make this garden consistent with the artistic themes of the venue which center around the sculpture (by a variety of creators), the curves in the house’s architecture (by Wendell Lovett) and the rolling, “Italianate” landscaping (by my friend, Richard Haag).

After clearing away the existing trellis and garden, I measured the space with a drone

and then asked sculptor ION ONUTAN, the president and my associate/partner at Seattle Art & Industrial to design a trellis that took advantage of the existing footprint left by the previous garden, the existing curved hedge rows and the 13 foot “Aphrodite in Hiding”/”Our Lady of the Asparagus”  bronze. (another blog forthcoming on how we accomplished that piece.)

Ion Onutan

Ion, employing his well-known artistic and mechanical genius, began working with Grigoriy Reva one of the four other resident sculptors who work at SA&I.  Grigoriy is a noted Ukranian sculptor who emigrated to the U.S. 15 years ago.  His monumental sculptures are installed in many locations throughout the former Soviet Union.

Grigoriy Reva

As is always the case, he threw himself at it and designed multiple miniature renditions in clay and wood.

wood column by grigoy

Wood maquette

more clay maquettes by grigoyr

Clay maquettes

I fell in love with several versions of Grigoriy’s trellis columns.  Ultimately, we settled on creating a trellis system with 19 different unique columns based on the clay maquettes shown above.   The columns would support a curved, double rail and 130 crossbeams.   The crossbeams reminded me of PNW Native “long boats” and the trellis columns are baroque  abstractions of PNW Native American totems.

After agreeing on which of Grigoriy’s clay maquette designs suited the goals best, Ion’s started his team on the detailed, complicated fabrication for the 10′  columns that supported the rail system and crossbeams.

trellis mock up

Scale Model of Trellis with Rail and Crossbeams

Ion scanned each of the 19 maquettes into CAD files.    His team laminated mahogany and teak into 36″ diameter tubes, then carved the thick wooden tubes on SA&I’s massive CNC machine. {Interestingly, Ion secured the hardwood by purchasing to-be-discarded pallets from Singapore at the reasonable price of $1.00 per pallet}. After consulting with our structural engineers, we poured 8 ft. deep concrete supports, with 14 ft.  steel cores to support each column.

laminating the columns

Laminated teak and mahogany

Each each column is composed of two, stacked 5 ft. laminated teak and mahogany “shells”, constructed around a steel 6″ square steel tube.

columns in construction

Half columns,. pre-installation

Each element was carefully sanded, coated with multiple coats of marine varnish, and then finally installed last year.

pushing up column

installing the columns

Starting the installation

installing new garden boxes

Raised Garden Beds

columns completed & installed

completed columns (without curved corner rails or crossbeams)

curve install


installing the curved rail corners

While that process was going on, we constructed raised garden beds for the interior space.  We protect the garden from deer using netting.  This past summer we harvested seven varieties of garlic, three types of onions, sweet peppers, kale, oregano, parsley,  horse radish and hundreds of tomatoes from our new garden.


We believe Ion and Grigoriy’s  gorgeous Trellis Sculpture is unique and fits perfectly in the landscaping of the estate.   If you have occasion to travel to Maury Island, we invite you to visit LaSalle Reserve, and view the completed garden trellis, as well as the venues many other sculptures.

To see the wonder works where it all was designed and fabricated, meet Ion Onutan and the other sculptors,  visit us at Seattle Art & Industrial .


  1. Kathleen Stein on December 22, 2019 at 11:08 pm

    Stunning! Obviously a labor of love!

  2. Raymond Martinez on December 23, 2019 at 10:06 am

    In awe!

  3. Rafi bensimone on December 24, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Gar as usual you are amazing

  4. Barbara Bianchi on January 1, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    Striking! Very NW …has a modern totem pole look to it!

  5. Mike McAuliffe on January 7, 2020 at 9:29 am

    Very Cool!

  6. […] Onutan, SA & I’s founder and president and Gar LaSalle began working with resident sculptor Grigoriy Reva on a series of architectural concepts and column […]

  7. […] Onutan, SA & I’s founder and president and Gar LaSalle began working with resident sculptor Grigoriy Reva on a series of architectural concepts and column […]