Wamboldtopia: Doorways to imagination

Ricki Pierce, aka The Rock Pirate, a mason and a Mason, grins at the entrance to the home, garden and little Utopia on Wambold Street that he and his wife, artist Damaris Pierce, have created in West Asheville, NC. They call it  Wamboldtopia. There are many, many doorways in this garden, and doors are symbols of hope, opportunity and transformation. As you leave, the main one assures you, “You are loved.”
Ricki and Damaris are slowly reinventing their hillside landscape: Her artwork; his stonework; their garden. The couple collaborates in the planning, design and creation of the installations.
 Somehow, this fairy staircase incorporated into the front wall of the house doesn’t seem twee. Wamboldtopia effortlessly balances whimsy and hard edge, complete with skeletons and a sense of fun. It’s Fairyland meets Day of the Dead.
To whit: Wamboldtopia residents Switch and Chit remove an unwelcome guest.
(I even forgive the use of red cedar mulch; here, it’s like a river of blood. Perhaps gnome blood?)
Even the pond, which was the couple’s first garden project together, looks like a portal into an upside-down world.
Damaris Pierce before one of their creations. This was once a generic chain-link fence (can you make out the pattern in the photo on the right?). Now, it’s a miniature walled city, anchored by a bell tower. Every tower has its own door.
At the end of our visit, I bought one of Damaris’ small portals, or fairy doors, and am now looking for the right place to put it. They’re lovely creations in themselves. But she hooked me by saying that it could be a doorway to anywhere, including a portal into the next phase of my life. I’m hoping so, Damaris.



  1. How lovely, Helen, and most unusual theme. I love the thought behind your purchase that could be a portal into the next phase of your life!

  2. What they did with that chain link fence amazes me! I liked your post about this interesting garden, I've read a lot of others. Your pictures are wonderful.

  3. Reading all the Post's on Wamboldtopia today takes me back! I so wish I were on top of that hillside right now soaking up more of the beauty! I only wish we had more time to enjoy the beauty and creativity surrounding us that day. I too purchased a door way. Not sure what to do with it just yet but some day, it shall come to mind. I just had to have a bit of Wamboldtopia in my gardens….

  4. Helen, thank you so much for the gorgeous post! The collages are just beautiful, I love your composition and the narratives really show that Wamboldtopia had your full attention. I'm glad one of the portals found its way home with you, may it be a symbol for what is waiting for you to be discovered!
    It was a pleasure to have you here, please come back to visit.

  5. Helen and Sarah, I'm so sorry that I didn't get to meet you in Asheville. It was my first fling, and I just didn't get to talk with everyone like I wanted to. I love your city and hope to visit there again someday.

  6. Helen, I had previously left a comment but I guess it didn't come through. I absolutely love your photography, the collages are exquisite! What a wonderful post and so right on, you really 'got' us and paid keed attention to what Wamboldtopia is all about. It was an honor and a pleasure to have you all here and I hope for return visits! Many thanks!

You might also like