Tinka Jordy is a Hillsborough resident who loves sharing art with others


By Laurie Paolicelli

Tinka Jordy. Photo by Donn Young.

For the last 28 years, the figurative ceramic sculptor Tinka Jordy has been inviting the public to enjoy the simple beauty of art set in a garden. Every year she hosts the Art in the Garden event. It features 100 plus sculptures from both local and international artists, and many of her own, as well. The sculpture show is held at Tinka’s home. Guests roam the gardens, viewing the sculptures and talking with the artists who created them. Refreshments are also served. It’s a refreshing experience all around.

Tinka Jordy is a collaborator at heart who uses art to bring people together for a closer look at the world, reminding all of us to slow down, enjoy beauty, and work together towards a common good. She hopes a viewer will leave the garden more enlightened about “where we are, what we have done, and how we can take part in making ‘softer footprints’ on the earth.”

Bunny Hop, Annual Sculpture Garden Tour.

Of her own work, she says: “The surfaces of my sculptures are full of surface cracks, fissures, and imperfections that express the earth, the passing of time, our mortality, and the search for spirituality. I work on them until they look back at me.”

One of the key aspects of sculpture is how the artist uses and controls space and its forms. It is therefore essential for the artist to consider details like height, depth, and volume when it comes to designing their work. Sculpture set outside the walls of a museum or studio highlights these qualities. This is a garden you’ll never forget.

Sculptures by Tinka Jordy, Sculpture Garden Tour.

Tinka was born Lisa, but when her family called her Tinka Bell as a baby it stuck. A native of New Orleans, she knew from the time she was six years old that she was meant to create things. “My mom was an artist too. I was putting clay in the oven when I was in kindergarten and by the time I was in middle school I owned a kiln.” 

Tinka received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1977. She attended the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Kansas City Art Institute and, after teaching for several years, her attraction to clay led her back to her studio. She made animals and abstract sculptures for art lovers, especially those who like to put art in their outdoor gardens. She participated in many art shows in the country and it was while participating in a show in the Outer Banks that she fell in love with North Carolina.

Along with Mark Donley, Tinka eventually settled in Hillsborough. They bought a house and immersed themselves in the rich arts community here. “I met many people here including Ken Moore, retired assistant director of the Botanical Garden, and his wife Kathy. They both encouraged me to participate in the annual sculpture show. I was beginning my work on sculptures then and thanks to Botanical Garden they were a big hit. The sculptures remain a popular item for many people.”

Today Tinka spends most of her time in her studio and garden, growing plants, making clay animals, and serving on boards and committees in Orange County that further the arts. Meet her, and many other artists, May 6, in a garden surrounded by art.

Mike Roig Sculpture. Photo courtesy of Chapel Hill Magazine

About the exhibition

Hosted by Garden Art Gallery, The 28th Annual Art in the Garden Sculpture Exhibition is an exhibition and sale of outdoor sculpture for the home and garden by 10 local and nationally recognized artists. It will take place at 1902 Borland Rd.

The sculpture gardens include acres of intimate garden settings, winding paths and open spaces. The perfect setting for garden art and garden sculptures. Smaller sculptures and garden art are uniquely situated in intimate settings and larger sculptures are placed in the more open spaces.

As always, artists receive 100% of their sales without commission to the gallery. 


  • Saturday, May 6, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Sunday, May 7, 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
  • Saturday, May 13, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

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