Goodale Park Column

I used to live across the street from this column over twenty years ago and have wanted to redo it ever since.
I used to live across the street from this column over twenty years ago and have wanted to redo it ever since.

This column in Goodale Park in Columbus, Ohio, originally installed in 1899, has deteriorated badly. I have been commissioned by a Centennial Preservation Group to re-carve the heads. My proposal is to rebuild the missing parts with clay and then to re-carve new sandstone blocks to match the clay.

The heads on the nearby gate have fared much better, as they are under a roof.
The heads on the nearby gate have fared much better, as they are under a roof.

The gate and column were a gift in 1899 to the City’s first park. The original meanings of the column animals have been lost to time, although we do know that the eight human heads on the gate represent the eight stages of Man. The carving is masterful, and does not resemble any other carving in the Columbus area, that I know of. We know nothing of the original artist.

The animal heads as they have appeared for decades.
The animal heads as they have appeared for decades.

The tooling on the buff sandstone has survived remarkably well, and demonstrates the level of the craftsmanship brought to this column. The heads are about 9′ off the ground- too high to touch. The wear is likely from acid rain and the burning of coal for so many decades.

The lift operator was not bad, but not overly confident. I think he may have needed a change of underwear after this.
The lift operator was not bad, but not overly confident. I think he may have needed a change of underwear after this.

The cap came off easily, and we set it aside. After we had picked the section with the heads and put it on my truck, we put the cap back for safekeeping while the restoration is done in my studio.

Note the pattern on the cap- impeccable craftsmanship.
Note the pattern on the cap- impeccable craftsmanship.

Playing with big lifts and heavy things is always exciting. Although no one can really see it, the scalloped top is textured with one continuous spiral line from top to bottom.

You don't know what you've got til it's gone...
You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone…

This is the only original photo the historical committee could give me. Detail must be inferred. It is agreed the animal on the left is probably a panther, and that the one on the right is a lion. The ram, not show here, is extent enough to know it is a ram, but the fourth head was badly deteriorated and no known photo exists.

Kind of scary, kind of silly.
Kind of scary, kind of silly.

The ears, the eyes, a bit of the for head, and a grainy photo are all there is to go on, but that’s enough to conclude it was a stylized panther.

Some thought this one may have been a camel.
Some thought this one may have been a camel.

Part of an eye, droopy ears, and a bit of forehead seem to indicate the subject was a dog. No known photographs exist.

This one is very different from the rest- symmetrical, not terribly rotted, and not very expressive in the eyes.
This one is very different from the rest- symmetrical, not terribly rotted, and not very expressive in the eyes.

The ram is pretty much intact, and a hint at the style that may have been used for the other heads, although it does seem very different.

I don't think anybody passing by would have seen this as an animal head.
I don’t think anybody passing by would have seen this as an animal head.

The lion head featured a bit of an ear, some mane, and pits indicating the height of the eyes. The source photo and the extent remains indicate this was a lion. Here I have started on the lion, and on the left is an early version of the panther.

Old toothless, we used to call him.
Old toothless, we used to call him.

Using an oil-based clay that gets softer with heat (I use an old Sunbeam electric skillet), I rebuilt the heads in full scale in my shop. This is an early stage of the panther. The lion is on the right, the dog on the left. The sandstone blocks are 16 1/2″ tall.

I could not think of another animal with front-facing eyes and floppy ears. Can you?
I could not think of another animal with front-facing eyes and floppy ears. Can you?

I was able to get a good start by making the right begin to mirror the left. At this stage I had to commit to something, and felt that the only defensible choice was a dog.

The eyes don't focus on a single point- they look in two different directions, intentionally.
The eyes don’t focus on a single point- they look in two different directions, intentionally.

The red sandstone is the original carver’s work. I have tried throughout to do what I could to work in his style more than my own. I’ve learned during this process several pointers from the past.

The lion was the hardest. Not having the eyes made getting the expression a challenge.
The lion was the hardest. Not having the eyes made getting the expression a challenge.

The lion, nearly complete. I will add textural details in the sandstone when I recarve them.

Rather concerned for a dog, but I guess dog's can be concerned about life , too.
Rather concerned for a dog, but I guess dog’s can be concerned about life , too.

The dog is as animated as I could get him, given the restraints.

I patterned his sneer from Elvis's.
I patterned his sneer from Elvis’s.

I gave the panther a sneer, as the eyes sort of implied that, as did the source photo. He struck me as a tease, a mischief maker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comfest Sculpture

This was the first pice, and consisted of 49pieces I had installed the day before the opening; when I got there the next day, there were 48 pieces. Really?
This was the first piece, and consisted of 49 pieces I had installed the day before the opening; when I got there the next day, there were 48 pieces. Really?

Comfest is a big deal in Columbus, Ohio. Each summer volunteers put on three days of music, activist opportunities, and fun. Last year the organizers decided to add sculpture and asked me to participate. I had these pieces left over from roughing out an earlier piece, and drilled them and glued in steel pins on one end. They were easy to plunge into the soft ground to build ever changing sculptures, some made by me alone, others with the help of the festival goers.

This is a different view of the first sculpture.
This is a different view of the first sculpture.

For three days I made a constantly evolving piece, with the help of the community. It was a lot of fun, and there were some interesting conversations and interactions. Doing Art in public is a riot.

Circling the square?
Circling the square?

The square gave way to the circle., one piece at a time. Each post weighs about thirty pounds. At the end of each day I was definitely feeling it.

Oh my, the pins hold them even if they are not plumb. Discovery!
Oh my, the pins hold them even if they are not plumb. Discovery!

This piece was done by gently tossing the posts through the air and letting them land as they may. I wish I had taken a video of this one. Several of us plucking the posts from the circle and tossing them around. Good times. Would have made great video.

Chaos gives way to grace.
Chaos gives way to grace.

This version is so relaxed it almost looks drunken.

Occuping a lot of space sculpturally with only a little material is the goal.
Occuping a lot of space sculpturally with only a little material is the goal.

After I had completed this one, a man approached and performed an amazing feat- he leaped them al, on after the other, without stopping and without blowing a single landing.

The construction by a human indicating that a human was here. Strange urge.
The construction by a human indicating that a human was here. Strange urge.

Another view.

I took a break and came back to find that volunteers had converted the last piece to this one.
I took a break and came back to find that volunteers had converted the last piece to this one.

It was hilarious to watch the would-be ninjas try to balance on these structures, clearly a bit buzzed… not.

Ashley did his best not to indicate signs of fear.
Ashley did his best not to indicate signs of fear.

My friend Ashley came by (wonderful painter) and asked if I would do him as a chalk outline. He got way more than he asked for. No bumping the sculpture allowed!

Houdini!
Houdini!

And then he managed to crawl out without disturbing a single stone. Go Ashley!

(Ashely's view)
(Ashely’s view)

Now ask yourself- how did he get out of there? Not for the faint of heart. He was VERY slow about it, I must say.

I had the able help of painter Jonathon Ryan on this one, and a couple others. Thanks Jonathon, that was fun!
I had the able help of painter Jonathon Ryan on this one, and a couple others. Thanks Jonathon, that was fun!

That is all balance, and in a very public and crowded space. Majestic, it was. And all by eye. No measuring tools were used throughout the festival.

Another view.
Another view.

This one occupied the most space and took the longest time to make. Very tricky- and very cool.

Fred Astaire!
Fred Astaire!

This subtle piece was done by a volunteer. I dig it.

This was Ashley's idea, and several of us made it. Thanks Comfest!
This was Ashley’s idea, and several of us made it. Thanks Comfest!

Peace, Art, and good times on a summer day. Wonderful.

Sentinels as the crowd thins and the festival closes.
Sentinels as the crowd thins and the festival closes.

Ihad a great time. Thanks Comfest. What for next year, eh?

Apple

 

Stone apples tolerate the cold very well.
Stone apples tolerate the cold very well.

There was something about carving this large apple core that I found relaxing. It was an unusually enjoyable job.

 

Sharpie tastes bad even if you spit it out right away.
Sharpie tastes bad even if you spit it out right away.

The original model, enlarged 1000% and carved in stone, with a forged steel stem and leaf. Very cool commission.

Whack-A-Mole anyone?
Whack-A-Mole anyone?

My favorite 1/4″ chisel doing it’s thing on the rough out, right behind Mr. Grinder doing its.

That is my hammer in there, upside down, pretending to be the stem.
That is my hammer in there, upside down, pretending to be the stem.

Almost fully roughed in; carving until late at night again. Some days I have to chase myself out of the studio.

I've been driving this lift since 1989. Thanks Tony!
I’ve been driving this lift since 1989. Thanks Tony!

Now, how do you flip a 2000 pound stone apple over? You roll it over with your forklift, of course.

(I bet those bumps have a name. Maybe I should Google it.)
(I bet those bumps have a name. Maybe I should Google it.)

Upside down and that big it almost doesn’t look like an apple anymore. Rough out is complete.

Planning every bite. Obsessive to the last.
Planning every bite. Obsessive to the last.

I have refined the texture of the skin, and have eaten the apple and done my best to record the result. Time to bite into the  stone.

Chomp Chomp!
Chomp Chomp!

I considered biting deeply enough to expose a seed, but decided against it.

Thanks Mark!
Thanks Mark!

Maryann, my wife Wendy, and I had a good day traveling to Bokenkamp’s Forge near Mohican State Park, where we watched Mark forging the stem and leaf. The stem is wrought iron, the leaf cold steel.

Hanging with the blacksmith- who gets to do that?
Hanging with the blacksmith- who gets to do that?

Mark has welded a handle to the stem for handling, and does the final shaping by hand on the anvil. Even white hot it takes some serious hammering to bend a piece this thick.

Satisfied smile, well earned.
Satisfied smile, well earned.

The most beautiful apple stem imaginable.

lying on a bed of hot coal...
lying on a bed of hot coal…

The leaf, just getting started. I love the image of the burning leaf that won’t burn.

The leaf that will never wilt.
The leaf that will never wilt.

The finished apple, ready for delivery. I can’t wait to see it on it’s granite base! Delivery is scheduled for next week. It’s very cold this week; I hope it gets above single digits next week.

Thanks fellas, for digging the most perfect hole ever, 36" deep, in hard and rocky ground.
Thanks fellas, for digging the most perfect hole ever, 36″ deep, in hard and rocky ground.

Maryann with the granite base, freshly planted. The column was buried in a yard near Powell, Ohio, for decades. No one knows why. It was made before diamond saws were used to cut granite, as the bottom and top are distinctly hand-tooled. The column has been in place for the last few months. By the end of spring it will look like it’s always been there. Thanks Maryann!

Joe Fireplace

Up the flight of stairs and in.
Up the flight of stairs and in.

My son Dorian, on the left, and his pal (and mine) Zack, shortly after major macho lifting and carrying up stairs action. Piece is in and looks great.

The original slab, 12" x 8' x 10'. Just over six thousand pounds and 280 million years old.
The original slab, 12″ x 8′ x 10′. Just over six thousand pounds and 280 million years old.

I had the edges of a massisve slab cut off, and used them for the legs and header.

This is the original cut from which I took the fireplace.
This is the original cut from which I took the fireplace.

From these edge cuts I took the legs and the header. All came from the same stone.

Test fit over and over
Test fit over and over

I used dowels as rollers to gently roll the legs up to test their fit against the header.

Waiting for the gas insert...

Waiting for the gas insert…

The client will have a gas insert fitted to the firebox so he can have a legal fire in his bedroom. Very cool.

Lips

Carving is complete.
Carving is complete.

Sandstone lips, slight smile, a bit sexy.

Lunch stop
Lunch stop

Maryann and myself went the quarry and picked out the right block. Maryann wants a lips sculpture, and I have suggested a burgundy sandstone. We had a good time going to the quarry in northeast Ohio, through Amish country. It was a beautiful Fall day.

Rakish light at the end of the day
Rakish light at the end of the day

I carved a 1/2 scale model in styrofoam before beginning anything in the stone.

This goes back to the Egyptians.
This goes back to the Egyptians.

After drilling a series of holes, I put in the pins and feathers and split off the excess. Yes, it’s a damn nice drill.

Graffitti this, baby
Graffitti this, baby

I enlarged the apex points of the model to create the drawing. The dark color on the pencil lines is the hair spray I use to secure the pencil line; otherwise it will blow away when I blow the dust off the stone as I carve it.

3D. What a concept
3D. What a concept

I have drilled and cut and chiseled in a good bit. All is well.

Waiting for delivery.
Waiting for delivery.

Carving complete. I’m going to miss those lips.

amazing how strong stainless steel really is
amazing how strong stainless steel really is

To hold the lips above grass level so they seem to float over the lawn, I made a stainless steel “shadow” of the lips. This will also keep plants from growing under it.

Stones don't shiver. Ever.
Stones don’t shiver. Ever.

Floating over a stainless steel plate on stainless pins, the piece will be placed in a meadow setting, and will appear to float just over the ground, always, all seasons, long, long, long. A slight smile, recorded. Thanks Maryann!

Kelly Rosettes

Indiana Limestone 10" x 10" x 5"
Indiana Limestone
10″ x 10″ x 5″

 

Patterned after originals in Central Park, these rosettes were commissioned by a client with homes in Manhattan and in upper New York State. He commissioned these because he loved the originals in the park and he was having a dry-laid stone wall made for his home, and wanted to customize the posts.

 

kelly rosettes 8

This is my initial sketch. From this I made a template so each quarter would be the same.

Indiana Limestone 10" x 10" x 5"
Indiana Limestone
10″ x 10″ x 5″

The completed design.

Indiana Limestone 10" x 10" x 5"
Indiana Limestone
10″ x 10″ x 5″

When I want to make duplicates of a design, I do each piece step by step, keeping each stroke and each chisel the same for each piece.

Indiana Limestone 10" x 10" x 5"
Indiana Limestone
10″ x 10″ x 5″

I’ve always found this kind of work relaxing and meditative. I hope it brings that feeling to the client.

 

Shafer Hood

Wood, Steel, Patina 48" x 36" x 18"
Wood, Steel, Patina
48″ x 36″ x 18″

This beautiful hood was patterned on the Winery doors I did earlier (shown elsewhere on this site). Here it is shown finished, at home, in its new home in New Jersey.

Wood, Steel, Patina 48" x 36" x 18"
Wood, Steel, Patina
48″ x 36″ x 18″

This decorative hood covers a functional one (made by others). The designer had specified some terrific hardware and lighting, and wanted a hood that could keep up. She found me on line, and working together with a cabinetmaker in New Jersey we produced this hood. The client loves it.

Wood, Steel, Patina 48" x 36" x 18"
Wood, Steel, Patina
48″ x 36″ x 18″

Ed, stepson and helper, brushes the bare steel to give it a slight texture and to thoroughly clean it.

Wood, Steel, Patina 48" x 36" x 18"
Wood, Steel, Patina
48″ x 36″ x 18″

This construction detail shows how the panels have been fit together.

Wood, Steel, Patina 48" x 36" x 18"
Wood, Steel, Patina
48″ x 36″ x 18″

After many, many layers and much time, the finished hood is approved and ready to ship.

Wood, Steel, Patina 48" x 36" x 18"
Wood, Steel, Patina
48″ x 36″ x 18″

The hood has been screwed to a custom crate for transport to New Jersey.

 

Virginia 1905 Church Restoration

Briar Hill Sandstone 32" (tallest)
Briar Hill Sandstone
32″ (tallest)

These were copied from the only original finial left on the tower. It was fun to work in this style.

Briar Hill Sandstone
Briar Hill Sandstone

I had the block cut at the quarry on their diamond saw to establish the crocket height; the piece on the right is what I started with, and the one on the left has been started. I take each piece up step by step, doing the same thing to each piece as I go, so they are all as alike as possible.

Briar Hill Sandstone
Briar Hill Sandstone

The tooth chisel texture is wonderful,but it is also very helpful on sandstone.

Briar Hill Sandstone
Briar Hill Sandstone

The original is in the background.

Dart Lions

Indiana Limestone 36" x 36 x 34"
Indiana Limestone
36″ x 36 x 34″

Mrs. Dart with the two lions she commissioned as a birthday present for her husband. She said that as they were moving in to their new house (built in the Twenties) he had said something like “if it had a couple lions on the pillars it would be perfect”, so fo years she looked but couldn’t find the right lions, so she decided to find a carver and get them custom made. It was a fun collaboration; she had ideas of content, and gave me a free hand with the composition.

Dart Lions 21

For the lion representing herself, she wanted to be accompanied by roses, butterflies, and a vase; for him, a shield, a tudor rose, a “D”, a frog, and a stinkbug. I made 1/4 scale clay models, and after a couple small revisions, approval was given.

Dart Lions 10

Using a calculator and a variety of measuring tools I enlarged and reproduced the models into stone. The dots on the model represent a point I located and enlarged.

Dart Lions 4

I descended 4″ at a time, using a grinder to knock back the excess. This enabled me to use the original block face as a “true” to measure from. The block size is the same size as the wood pad the clay model is made on.

Indiana Limestone 36" x 36" x 34"
Indiana Limestone
36″ x 36″ x 34″

In this way I was able to get very close to a finish without hesitation. Knowing where one is going makes getting there a lot quicker.

Indiana Limestone 36" x 36" x 34"
Indiana Limestone
36″ x 36″ x 34″

The first one is finished.

Indiana Limestone 36" x 36" x 34"
Indiana Limestone
36″ x 36″ x 34″

I use a single chisel during the rough in phase, a 1/4″ chisel, so I can keep track of the level of refinement I have taken the surface.

Henry Keeps Watch
Henry Keeps Watch

Henry hangs out with me, impervious to the dust.

Indiana Limestone 36" x 36" x 34"
Indiana Limestone
36″ x 36″ x 34″

The lion is ready to go.

Indiana Limestone, 36" x 36" x 34"
Indiana Limestone,
36″ x 36″ x 34″

They will never be this close together again. The stink bug is hiding behind the shield, wary of the frog sneaking up. They get acquainted and size each other up. They have a big job ahead.

Dart Lions 15

Beautiful morning for a delivery. I had checked in to a hotel the night before- eight hour drive to the site- and had an hour to enjoy some coffee before meeting the lift on site. Driving things like this is always an adventure, and always nerve rattling.

Dart Lions 17

Although the operator was a terrific driver, nothing beats a good old pulley to really put it exactly where you want it. Good bye, lions- may you serve them well. Thanks for letting me be part of it!

 

 

Zarrow International School Fifth Grade Gift

Zarrow Elementary

My sister’s son’s fifth grade class wanted their class donation to the school to be a memorial to the school’s founder and patron. I flew to Tulsa to install it and meet the class, and spend some time with my nephews.

Indiana Limestone 2 1/4" x 30" x 30"
Indiana Limestone
2 1/4″ x 30″ x 30″

The image was suggested by the class, and I sent a sketch for approval. They liked it. I had each kid in the class write the alphabet and write from 1 to 10, and blew up the results to form the font. The kids had fun trying to guess whose were used.

Indiana Limestone 2 1/4" x 30" x 30"
Indiana Limestone
2 1/4″ x 30″ x 30″

I sent progress pics as I carved, along with little explanations. The kids loved it.

Indiana Limestone 2 1/4" x 30" x 30"
Indiana Limestone
2 1/4″ x 30″ x 30″

The finished piece, dedicated and permanent.