impish in my work,” says Maguire.
In the front yard it is all sunshine and
flowers, with steppingstones leading to
the other side of the house, where a double
Ciemny gate beckons visitors to enter. As
the latch clicks shut, a fence begins to define
the narrow space, and it is here that things
begin to get strange — though not at first.
The fence initially appears almost Victorian in its probity, but a few feet in “
something happens,” says Ciemny, “perhaps to
the DNA of the fence itself.” Beginning with
a sketch by Maguire and drawing inspiration
from 18th-century botanical prints, Ciemny’s
design warps the flora into fantastical beings
not entirely plant, not quite animal. Iron bars
start to swirl and contort, while ribbons of
metal slice through the granite posts. As the
path continues, the fence devolves and a frantic dialogue begins. Flying primates and withered spores reach out on mutated spindles to
spread news of some unspeakable drama.
novelist gregory maguire stands under his
gateway (left) with a stone bench to his right.
The cracked granite post (below left)
symbolizes the near complete destruction of the
fence’s former world. Bright red impatiens, canna
lilies, and crocosmia add fiery color to the yard
(above). Small flying figures (facing page) are
part of the ambiguous iron flora and fauna that
populate the fence.