Artist makes Seuss-inspired sculpture for La Jollan Audrey Geisel

By Ashley Mackin

Pacific Beach native James Burns, drawing from a longtime love of the work of Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel), has a gift for Geisel’s widow, Audrey.

It’s a “green egg” and a piece of “ham” – actually a hollowed-out egg covered in green sea glass and a shell that supports it covered in brown and white sea glass (to look like bacon).

“I just want her to be happy and to smile,” he said of his hope with the sculpture. Burns said he feels a connection to Dr. Seuss, and because Audrey is “his other half,” he wanted to make something for her.

Burns explained that when he was a child (and even now) he had a fear of going to the dentist and of needles. Nervously waiting for his appointment one day, someone pointed out that Theodor Geisel was also sitting in the waiting area.

“I was just mesmerized by him. He’s just so iconic, especially here in La Jolla,” Burns said.

The run-in added to the joyful memories he has of Dr. Seuss, noting that he still has all his Dr. Seuss books from childhood. “I’m just so appreciative of everything I had when I was young, and he was a big part of that,” Burns said. “I want Audrey to know Dr. Seuss is alive in those who are happy because of his work.”

He said Audrey came to Burns’ mind a few years ago, when he lost his father. “I see my mother alone for the first time at 79 years old, and I started thinking of Audrey sitting up there (in her La Jolla home). It’s just so important to go and make efforts to let people know they are loved.”

Burns took a month to collect the sea glass, which he argues is more precious than diamonds. “Each of the pieces of sea glass is unaltered. When you think of how many hands and how many years it took to get these to how they are, they become so precious. Diamonds are made by nature and refined by man; these are the other way around. They are made by man and Mother Nature finishes them off,” he said.

Further, he points out that since glass is no longer allowed on San Diego beaches, sea glass will become all the more rare.

“In a matter of time, there won’t be sea glass any more,” he said.

Burns said he does not want to disturb Audrey Geisel, and does not have to meet her (although he would welcome the opportunity) but would like to get his sculpture to her. He can be reached at jsthburns@gmail.com

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