POMONA - As Damien Jones envisions FertiliTree, the 15-foot ceramic sculpture will have the base of a tree and will grow into the undulating shape of a woman holding a mandala blossom over her head.

On his website the Berkeley resident writes: "FertiliTree has no branches and leaves, but she'll bear fruits of inspiration, wonder, and pleasure in the hearts of all who see her!"

Once completed, the piece, inspired by the Goddess Pomona, will go outside the American Museum of Ceramic Art on Garey Avenue, which is home to another of Jones' ceramic sculptures.

To create FertiliTree Jones launched a fundraising campaign this week to gather $20,000 of the $30,000 needed to produce his art piece.

Jones is using crowdfunding, a recent phenomenon that uses social media to acquire financial support for purposes ranging from disaster relief or starting a company to scientific research and projects in the arts, including paying for the production of film projects.

To learn more about Jones' fundraising efforts to create FertiliTree go to indiegogo.com.

Jones began working with ceramics in 1990 when he began his career as an industrial design engineer.

"I was a hard-core, left brain, math and science dude," Jones said recently.

His work involved a great deal of precision and analysis but "I always kind of had a fascination with clay," he said.

He experimented with clay starting out with slabs and turning them into 2- and 3-dimensional pieces. He began creating vessels, pieces that worked as water features then began experimenting with sculptures.

Gradually he began to relax and try his own techniques to create his pieces.

"I'm a lot looser than I used to be and I'm a lot more willing to experiment," Jones said.

About six years ago Jones began work on a large sculpture and he began to think of himself as an artist.

An artist rendition by Jones of "FertiliTree."
An artist rendition by Jones of "FertiliTree." (Courtesy Art)
He has become more intuitive about his artistic expression and less analytical, he said.

When Jones came up with the idea of FertiliTree he presented it to the American Museum of Ceramic Art.

"Damien came to us with an idea and a design and all we have to do is find a place to put it," said David Armstrong, the museum's founder.

Armstrong would welcome having the sculpture within grounds of the museum but Jones is researching what would be required to have sculpture on the sidewalk on Garey Avenue and a short walk from museum doors.

Jones said FertiliTree will serve to show other artists a cost-effective way of creating art.

FertiliTree will be created in pieces that will be stacked into place and then filled with concrete creating a durable piece, Jones said.

His method can be used by other artists to create artistic work that are less expensive than working in bronze or other materials and giving them ample room to use their creativity and possibly produce more public art pieces.

Chris Toovey, president of the board of directors of the dA Center for the Arts, said he has not seen Jones' project but he finds his method of working in ceramic interesting.

"It certainly would make it less vulnerable to damage," Toovey said.

"It's great that he's inspired" to create a public art piece, Toovey said.

Pomona has a history of being home to artists and their work but the more residents, business people and others see public art projects within the city the more they will get used to them and to the idea that Pomona is a city of art, he said.

A public art project such as this could serve to encourage people in the city to pursue creating more public art, Toovey said.

"Especially if it is something a little more public," Toovey said.