Unique sculpture gallery in Bluffton backyard

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 1:34 PM EDT
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BLUFFTON, S.C. (WTOC) - A sculptor in Bluffton wanted to showcase his work and keep it close to home, so he turned his backyard into a unique gallery everyone is welcome to visit.

“They call it whimsical; they call it enchanting; they call it magical, and they call it Dr. Suess,” sculptor Stephen Kishel said.

You won’t find any Who’s, Grinches, or Things One and Two, but you can find Kishel’s abstract sculptures in his nearly one-acre garden gallery in Bluffton.

“Some people can walk through it and five or 10 minutes, but others like to spend an hour and read every label because they like the poetry or the philosophy or just the whimsical descriptions that I put on each sculpture’s card,” Kishel said.

Palmetto Oaks Sculpture Garden is the result of more than 60 years of Kishel’s creative imagination.

“My father was a fine art teacher, and he taught me to weld at age seven,” Kishel said. “My father always taught me put feeling into your sculpture and so I really try to strive for that, even since today. Each face has its own expressions and kind of unique to me, so it does explain a lot about me.”

When Kishel started a family, his art took a backseat. Once his kids were grown and gone, he found a new opportunity to return to his passion.

“Twenty-five years ago, when the kids were getting married, I needed some extra income, so I started sculpting again,” Kishel said. “I paid for their weddings, all four of them. That was the beginning of it, and I moved here to low country to be full time and sculpting.”

These days he tends to his garden and keeps his collection growing.

“You know, if you enjoy what you do, you never work a day in your life, but you work harder than anybody, you know.”

Palmetto Oaks Sculpture Garden is free to visit and is open Monday through Saturday from 1-5:30 p.m. You can find out more at http://www.palmettooaks.com/

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