Sea serpent gets splash of attention

Jack LaDuke, right, of Mountain Lake PBS films Bill Domenico, left, pulling the levers that move a giant sea dragon’s head on his lawn as Jodi Domenico and Larry Robjent walk around the sea dragon installation on the Domenicos’ lawn on Woodruf Street, Saranac Lake. The recycled-metal art piece was assembled by Robjent’s class at North Country School in Lake Placid. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

SARANAC LAKE — Jack LaDuke directed Bill and Jodi Domenico and Larry Robjent to walk past the giant metallic sea serpent in their lawn.

“Stand over here and tell me about it,” LaDuke said. “Let me get one with the three of you together.”

The sea dragon sculpture is a permanent art installment on the Domenico’s property on Woodruff Street in Saranac Lake and a creation of Robjent’s class of North Country School students. On Tuesday LaDuke interviewed the three for a segment on Mountain Lake PBS, which will air later this month.

The students have returned three times over the winter to install each new segment as they completed it, and now that it is done local residents and media are taking interest.

“This is a little different, and I know people don’t usually do stuff like this in their yard,” Bill said, “but just random people with positive feedback, that I didn’t anticipate.”

LaDuke, a Saranac Lake resident, contacted the school to set up the interview and on Tuesday was filming conversations between Robjent and the Domenicos, getting footage of them walking around the sculpture and hearing about what everyone learned from the project.

Robjent said he used the opportunity of assembling a sculpture solely from recycled metal to teach students not to assimilate into our “throw-out society.” Bill said he was surprised with the level of embellishment put on the serpent in such a short amount of time.

Thick flakes of snow began to fall during the interview. The serpent’s center hump has already began to rust after sitting under snow since December, a process that will alter the installation over time. Metallic decay will be countered by plant growth on the structure.

Vines that climb the wall in the back of the property run throughout the lawn, waiting beneath the surface for something to grow around. Jodi hopes to also grow flowering vines on the dragon. The lawn is bordered by hosta plants, which grow fast and aggressively. As tubers, they can be split and replanted around the base of each section, creating a “splashing” effect.

Standing under the serpent’s towering head, Robjent explained how his students made the sculpture interactive, allowing levers on the back of the sea dragon’s neck to pivot on a hose reel and trampoline springs.

Bill said he wants the beast to breathe fire, using a grill tank, copper pipe and a lighter as a one-time event. He also is planning on holding a viewing party at Bitters & Bones pub when the PBS segment airs.

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