Cleveland Botanical Garden Mural

Our Sketches-In-Iron products are a series of enchanting wall sculptures inspired by those we created as a commission for the Cleveland Botanical Garden in 1965.


To enhance the then new Center’s entrance hallway, architect Michael Rapuano envisioned a mural, reflective of the Center’s activities, which would lend itself to floral display.


He enlisted renowned designer and sculptor John Risley’s imagination in creating the hallmark focal point. John’s wife, Mary, a well recognized potter, produced the family of richly textured earthenware pots which hang in various locations throughout the mural. Patron Helen Clark graciously funded the project.


After John Risley created a felt tip line drawing, Melvin Rose was challenged with interpreting the highly stylized trees and birds in forged metal. The thin lines of each element were enhanced to provide bas relief through an exciting variety of bold forged, shapes.

George Katai (left) and Ed Dobritch forge a curved element     Each forged element was carefully compared to the cartoon (drawing)


John Risley (left) and Melvin Rose (squatting) assist with positioning each element during installation.


Our blacksmiths, led by George Katai and assisted by Ed Dobritch, then painstakingly created the sixty plus foot long mural. To develop interest, depth and shadows, the components of each element were hand forged into forceful, varied forms recalling nature while retaining the stylized design.


In honor of these artists and in proud recognition of the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s outstanding work with youth and significant contribution to our community, a portion of our proceeds for the CBG items goes to support for their Green Corps programs.