Curiosity about a dog’s wanderings has turned into an art collection which is on exhibit at the Creative Arts Center in Stuart.
Rebecca Adcock and her husband, Jonathan, live on land surrounded on three sides by the South Mayo River. She used a GPS tracker to figure out where Blarney the Beagle goes on his daily jaunts.
Then she made original pieces of art, with a variety of media, following the lines the GPS reporting system showed he went every day.
Blarney seems to keep busy out there, with sojourns that last a couple of hours every day, normally after breakfast, Adcock said. During his disappearances, they’d wonder “how much mileage does he do, and does he do any kind of patterns,” she said.
Her husband researched GPS trackers for dogs. They settled on a Whistle brand, which has a small grey box attached to a collar and an app the couple have on their phones.
According to the Whistle.com website, a tracker-and-app set can be purchased for around $100. A nearby wi-fi service would be needed to use it, and there is a monthly subscription fee of about $9.
They started the dog on the system in October. Blarney’s wanderings are shown by lines on the area map, with their house as center, on the apps on their phones.
If he wanders away from home — the user can set what distance that would be — a notification is sent. When she takes the dog on rides with her, she said, she sends her husband a text so he won’t be worried where the dog is. During the exhibit’s opening reception Thursday, his phone kept getting those away-from-home notifications, even though he and the dog were in the same room.
“We keep joking about putting it on the border collie,” she said. “We think it’s just going to start smoking” because of the other dog’s high level of activity.
Also on the app is a part that measures how many calories the dog has burned, how many miles it has walked and other factors similar to a person’s exercise and activity monitor. The Whistle app only saves a day’s worth of information, so Rebecca Adcock makes screen shots of each day’s information to keep track of it, she said.
“I was very curious to see what he was doing,” she said.
As she would discover — “It’s very random, never the same,” she said.
Before long, she got the idea of creating something out of the maps of his routes. She’d pick a screenshots of one of the records of his travels, then a medium to express it as art.
She has recreated some of the shapes of his travels in watercolor, acrylic paints, fabric, tissue paper, scrapbook paper and string. She also created a collage of what she thought he smelled out there.
Looking at the artistic representation of the dog’s routes, Karen Sigmon said, “it’s like he’s got different thoughts on his mind.”
Janice Pendleton said, “I really like it because it’s extremely unusual. This is really fascinating.”
It was just fun to do it in different ways, Adcock said. At first she thought she’d test it out “to see what I liked best, but me being me, I just liked all the different media.”
“It’s just so creative,” said Lisa Martin, the program director for Reynolds Homestead, which is a co-sponsor, with the Patrick County Chamber of Commerce, of the Creative Arts Center.
“Even with the titles,” interjected Beth Almond Ford, also of Reynolds Homestead.
A work in different angled shapes of fabric from Oct. 21 carries a label that reads, “Inaugural run. First jaunt with my GPS tracker.” One from Feb. 5 reads, “I am a super star! Or maybe just a half.” A sharply triangular black, gray and white piece is titled “Gloomy.”
“I love that it pushes the boundaries of what you might consider creative art. Rebecca’s art is always like that. She sees ordinary things in a different light,” Martin said.
“I dabble in everything,” Adcock said. “I consider myself a Jill of all trades and master of none.”
She attributes her creative nature to helping make props, when she was a child, for her mother’s ballet studio.
The Adcocks moved to Patrick County from east Tennessee in 2008.
Dr. Jonathan Adcock is a veterinarian for Foothills Pet Health Care in Mt. Airy and Carroll Veterinary Services in Hillsville. Rebecca Adcock is the executive director of the Patrick County Chamber of Commerce.
“Blarney’s Jaunts” will be on exhibit through Aug. 16 at the Creative Arts Center, 334 Patrick Ave., Stuart.
Holly Kozelsky is a writer for the Martinsville Bulletin; contact her at 276-638-8801 ext. 243.