Carlos Montaño’s handcrafted art and architectural features adorn some of the finest gardens in the Atlanta area. But if you visit Casa Montano, his shop in Fairburn, Georgia, you can own a piece for yourself.
Inside you can find an eclectic mix of affordable garden art from staples like planters, urns, and benches to decorative statues, medallions, spheres, plaques, stepping stones, and faces personifying the seasons and elements. His styles range from classical and Gothic to modern and eccentric.
“One thing that never goes away are bunnies—they sell all year long,” says Carlos, whose shelves are filled with lifelike statues of rabbits, turtles, frogs, cats and dogs.
His birdbaths are also popular, including one shaped like a sunflower and another shaped like a tree that he reproduces from the original designs of the late sculptor Christine Sibley, his friend and mentor for many years.
Carlos prides himself on the quality and craftsmanship of his pieces, which are fashioned out of concrete but finished to look like different kinds of weathered stone.
“Put me in a place where there are lots of stones, and I’m in heaven, because that’s where I get my inspiration for how my pieces should look,” he says.
None of his concrete reproductions look exactly the same, because he finishes each one by hand and strives to give every piece its own personality. Lately, his favorite pieces to work on are Oriental, including a century-old Japanese lantern sculpture that he restored for a customer and now reproduces.
“I’ll play some music that goes along with what I’m working on, and it’s very calming, because I don’t think about anything else,” he says. “I believe there is a higher force that helps you create. So when I start a piece, I pray before I work on it because I want to do it right and put all of my positive energy into it.”
Carlos loves using his hands and his spirit to create beauty for others, and he channels that love into everything he makes.
“What I enjoy most is seeing the smiles and appreciation on the faces of customers when they find a piece they love and hold it like it feels so personal to them,” he says.“If you can do what you love and make people happy, you’re living the life because that’s what it’s all about,” he adds.