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Supersize Me - A Bedtime Story

Bed Art.  Leah Poller makes it and her creations are now achieving worldwide fame.  Receiving critical acclaim in China for her Baby Buddha Bed Pillow (we love it!), we also can see how a year in bed has led to more than just 101 major sculptures.  It helped this great sculptor shape dreams into reality.


Most artists like to dream big. As a sculptor who has tackled one big work composed of 101 sculptures of beds, I have always had nocturnal musings of a giant bed in a public space with kids crawling all over it.

Much like Pinocchio’s nose that grew with every fib, my visions of a supersized bed have grown with every visit this year to Jiang-xi Metal Works, the largest art- casting foundry in China, where I have recently begun casting my work.

But first - My personal history with the bed began at least 15 years ago when an accident in my sculpture studio relegated me to bed for an extended period. This detour in my career gave birth to the 101 Bed Collection  (www.leahpoller.com) - a series of shoe-box sized bronze sculptures that tickle every fancy: beauty, pathos, history, culture, humor - the emotional gamut that can be wrung from examining words with “bed,” in them. This work serves to jiggle our thoughts to re-considering this most essential yet overlooked piece of furniture in our lives: our bed. Throughout history, artists have been inspired by fruit, flowers, lovely ladies, animals and chairs...but the bed … hardly ever. And imagine; it is where we spend one third of our lives!

So, back to China. Once I officially announced the 101 Bed Collection complete in 2012, I began to investigate how I could execute some of these sculptures in monumental scale. Every effort to find a reasonable solution in the US delivered depressing results; it would take a Midas-sized budget to achieve my dream!

As I was preparing for my first foray into the Asian market (who doesn't envy their growing marketplace; another dream in the making!) a chance conversation led me to accept a spur of the moment invitation to visit the Jiang-xi Metal Handicraft

Factory in Nanchang, 1.5 hrs by air from Shanghai.

I was forewarned that it would leave me gaping; 105 acres of industrial space,

450,000 sq. feet of workshops, and 700 highly specialized employees who support every aspect of fine art casting including lacquer, cloisonné, gilding and silver, not to mention enlargements.

As much as I was intimidated upon arrival by the massive works that populate the foundry courtyard that overflows with Amazons from another world, I, too, began to have illusions of grandeur. Could I supersize my work at Jiang-xi? Would a lowly NY artist capture their attention?

Six months later, the foundry delivered the first cast pieces; I had the outstanding experience of working side-by-side with my personal team of model makers, mold makers, wax specialists, casting specialists, chasing specialists, fitting and assembling crews, lacquer painters...all supported by Nina and Kathy, my bi -lingual foundry specialists, and Paul Cavanagh from Asia Sculpture Source (Rhode Island)… I can say my head has grown as big as my sculptures have!  

China has super sized my dream - and success has already been announced with China’s leading art magazine choosing my “Made in China” super-sized red Buddha baby's "Bed Pillow" (a tongue in cheek post modern version of a similar object in the Shanghai museum of classical art - circa 1400’s) ... to announce Asia Contemporary Arty (Hong Kong, next edition Oct 3-6)

Once again proving that all the fairy tales as designed are parables to life...

And seeing my story is believing it!