For our wedding, my Uncle bought us a bell that would be rung in the ceremony. It was beautiful, and, I thought, had a really nice tone to it when struck. He thought otherwise (he thought it should be deeper) and used the excuse, when he came to visit prior to the wedding, of needing a striker, to go to see Tom Torrens’ studio and see if he had other bells. Luckily, Tom and his wife live in Gig Harbor, which was only about an hour away from where we are in Seattle. We drove down not knowing what to expect and entered into a very lush, gorgeous setting with some of his sculptures to greet us as we made our way down his driveway.
Tom converted a ship’s builder barn into his studio where he creates his metal work, which not only includes bells of all sizes, but gates, bird baths, fountains, sculptural shapes and spheres. His work is quite beautiful. When we arrived, my Uncle had me strike several of the bells. To my astonishment, each one had its own distinct tone. He asked me which one I thought was the best and I pointed to another bell not the one we had purchased. It had an entirely different top to it – a little more filagree than the one given to us, so I wasn’t sure about exchanging the bell until Tom cheerfully said, “No worries, walk around our garden a bit and I’ll weld the top you like to the bell you like.” I couldn’t believe it. So we wandered around the grounds and came upon one beautiful sculpture and garden setting after another. It was a Zen inspired garden experience and has to be seen to be believed.
When we returned he’d welded the bell together with the top I liked and welded the top to a bracket so the bell couldn’t be easily stolen from our yard. He also presented us with a striker as a wedding gift.
John and I went to Second Use in SODO and found a thick, weathered post that was just right and positioned the bell at the front of our home as a welcome and a chance for visitors to ring it on their way to the door.
This past weekend, we took back the old bracket and paint he lent us and John got to tour the garden and then they invited us into their home where they asked him to play their piano. The home was warm, encased in wood, with beautiful art they’d collected and bartered for over many years.
Their dining table is in an atrium setting with an indoor pool surrounded by plants. By way of giving back, the Torrens host several fund raisers in the summer for favorite causes. One can only imagine how beautiful the setting is for a party.
We’d like to thank Tom and Donna for giving us a tour, their time and creating such a beautiful wedding gift that we’ll remember the rest of our lives. For information on his sculpture work, go here: http://www.tomtorrens.com
We’d also like to thank my Uncle Jim and his wife, Esther for giving us the bell and for being such an integral part of our celebration!