The mission of AGRISCULPTURE is to create metal sculpture informed by nature and farm equipment,
to restore the Earth by foraging abandoned agricultural machinery as media
and to teach environmental awareness - giving free youth / public workshops
involving recycled materials and the creative process of adaptive reuse.
AGRISCULPTURE : A Love Story
adapted from a spoken word performance by Amy Lewis Sweetman for "Warwick Anthology"
the live storytelling event put on by the Village of Warwick NY's Dramatis/Poet Laureate of 2018-2019 : Donna Haley
Albert Wisner Public Library
July 27, 2019
May of 2012 - I had just founded my second design practice called AGRISCULPTURE : Farm Equipment – Lovingly Rethought. I had my first big commission – a set of three fountains made out of disc harrows for Cornell Cooperative Extension, and I was on a mission.
Every farm repair shop I called said – “Lady – we know the machine you’re looking for – but we scrap the parts. Go knock on some barns!” At first I thought they were joking.
I drove from Cornwall, where I grew up – and where it felt nice to be again after about a decade studying, living and working around the world. (I graduated Cornell University in 2008 with a professional Bachelors Degree in Architecture - and worked my way from Rome to Dubai to Los Angeles.) Aiming for Pine Island – and I wanted to go through Warwick – on County 1A specifically – as that was how I went to The Jolly Onion back in the day as a kid.
Approaching the light where Route 94 meets County Route 1A – I told myself this is a day of action! I am not stopping! Green light I’ll go left – up the hill to Ochs Orchards. Red light – I’ll do a right and head on County 1A. The light was red. I took a right. I flew past the first farm – and slowed down in time to stop at the second. Only seeing cows in the freestall – I backtracked to the milkhouse door.
A farmer opened at first knock. “Hi I’m Amy – and I’m looking for disc harrow parts.” He told me he just might have some, and gave me his name and phone number – “Doug… Sweetman...!” Little did I know – he knew exactly where to find his 3 discs.
As fate would have it, I had not yet found someone to weld this project for me, and I was not yet a welder myself. Doug offered to weld the fountains – he had 25 years of farm welding experience – but none in art. He said he’d weld for free.
“FREE??? You understand the magnitude of this project – right Doug? This is huge! It will wreak havoc on your life - I promise you!” He told me he understood. “Ok then – my one condition – of accepting your working for free Doug… you must give me your best work. Whatever your personal best is – that’s perfect.
“Deal” he said.
We welded those 3 fountains in the evenings all Summer long – 3 months – in Doug’s farm shop- after he was done with the night milking. We always took a break from welding to watch the sun set over the hill. We shared some great conversations. Late one night - just before we finished the project – I was leaving the farm and Doug said – “Amy – I gotta tell you something.” I turned around – keys in my hand – and waited.
“I LOVE YOU.”
The funny and crazy and beautiful thing about this farmer and welder in Warwick with 4 kids at home… was that I absolutely loved him too – and I told him so that night. Four years and one day later – we were married.
About 7 years later – here we are today. So now you know - exactly how I came to be StepMomma Amy – the wife of Farmer-Welder Doug – and the creator of AGRISCULPTURE – on the Sweetman Dairy Farm of Warwick, NY.
Amy Lewis Sweetman is an American Artist - born Amy Lewis - on February 21, 1985 in Newburgh, NY.