Pictured is Cave Creek artist Paul Diefenderfer with commemorative sculpture ‘Geoffrey’s Walk.’
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Paul Diefenderfer: Artistry as cycles of time

Shea Stanfield~ 7/23/2014

CAVE CREEK – The Spiral Petroglyph is found in every ancient culture throughout the world. The Spiral, which is the oldest symbol known to be used in spiritual practice, reflects the universal pattern of growth and evolution.  It’s this sacred symbol that reminds us of our evolving life journey: cycles of time, seasons, birth, growth, death, and rebirth.

This is the symbol Cave Creek sculptor Paul Diefenderfer chose to represent and memorialize our area’s own author, poet, and environmentalist Geoffrey Platts in his most recent piece of community sculpture, ‘Geoffrey’s Walk.’

Dief, as he prefers to be called, was approached by members of Friends of Geoffrey to design a commemorative sculptural piece to be placed at the Desert Foothills Library in Cave Creek. The sculpture honors a man who fought tirelessly to save our deserts through board membership on the Nature Conservancy, weekly columns in the former Foothills Sentinel, speaking engagements, and an endless personal letter writing campaign in an effort to save our precious open space.  Inspired by fellow environmentalist Edward Abby, Geoffrey Platts never tired in his efforts on behalf of our wild spaces.

In the same spirit, Dief has carried the gauntlet of wildlife and desert preservation in his own life, developing his creativity and talent for blacksmithing into new inspirations. Dief put his analytical talents to work early in his life, studying to be a computer programmer, before the days of PCs. His ability to think analytically, work with patterns, and solve structural problems was just the jumping-off point. 

While attending an arts and crafts festival in 2001, Dief encountered a blacksmithing demonstration, and the rest is history. He went to work applying his old skills to his newfound passion working with iron.  Today, he is known throughout the community for his work representing the natural elements in the spirit of iron. Dief prefers to design and build functional art versus decorative art.  He is known for his 95-foot walkway connecting a client’s house to the parking area on the other side of a wash. Structurally challenging, environmentally sensitive, and visually daunting, Dief applied his skills to produce an inspiring, graceful, and purposeful addition to the landscape.

His smaller projects include originally designed entry gates, security doors, hitching posts, candle holders, tables, chairs, yard bells, railings, pool fencing, and just about any project to solve a client’s need, with the twist of “only for you.”  If you can draw it, Dief can build it.  Beyond his creative ironwork, Dief also is the founder of Phoenix Rock Gym, Arizona’s first indoor climbing gym.  He also owns Rope Guy, a company that specializes in accessing high areas in commercial and industrial buildings where sprinkler heads and lights cannot be accessed by any other way than a “rock climbing guy or gal.” 

For more information on Dief and his custom creations, visit www.desertratforge.com or contact him at deif@desertratforge.com or (602) 509-1543.  For more information on author, poet, and environmentalist Geoffrey Platts, visit the Friends of Geoffrey Facebook page or contact columnist Shea Stanfield (a member of FOG) at flowingquill@yahoo.com.