Cherie Christiansen and Franz Arner have been designing gardens and carving stone for over thirty years in Northern California. Their work has been commissioned by some of the most acclaimed architects and landscape architects and designers of America. They live, design and sculpt in Mendocino, California. They are currently exhibiting at galleries in Northern California and at their own Sculpture Garden in Mendocino.
At their studio in the woods of Mendocino they work with a number of kinds of stone from all over the world. Here they have a large crane that enables them to handle everything from stones weighing hundreds of pounds to monumental pieces weighing well over seven tons. Adjacent to their carving studio is their Sculpture Garden.
Here set among paths meandering through the trees they have finished work on display. In this setting their work can be viewed and understood in the context of the living landscape.
One of their feature gardens, the Napier garden took years to complete. It evolved through a complete redesign and construction of the house by well known architect Joe Esherick. This cultivated, natural appearing rock and water garden with many water features is integrated into the lines of the building. The house was featured in Architectural Digest as well as the garden. A Christiansen-Arner stone and water sculpture is featured in the front entry area of the Napier house. It is often the case that their sculptures become a part of their landscape design.
Christiansen-Arner’s stone sculpture and water features include a tsukabai for a Japanese Tea Master and a baptismal water sculpture for an Episcopal church. The stone and water features are a natural evolution of their sculpting, rock gardens and waterfalls. Their water features and fountains reflect both abstract sculptural shapes and forms.
They feel the combination of stone and water is alchemy and evokes the magic of nature. As artists Christiansen-Arner approach landscape design as a living sculpture using plants, water and stone as their medium. They create gardens that evoke feelings of harmony and beauty. The overall design and the individual elements like rock gardens, ponds, water features, and stone sculptures appear to have existed where they are created since the beginning of time. Their primary gift is to create something that appears to have been in place always.
Franz studied at Bard College in New York, and with parents Robert Arner-painter and Charlotte Arner-sculpture & collage. Cherie studied sculpture with Miriam Rice at the Mendocino Art Center in California and with stone carver Max Salkin.