Mythical Creatures

Indiana Limestone 7'-6" x 4'-6" x 12" (not including base) Lewis Center, Ohio Delaware County Library System Children's Garden
Indiana Limestone
7′-6″ x 4′-6″ x 12″ (not including base)
Lewis Center, Ohio
Delaware County Library System Children’s Garden

A local resident left part of her estate to establish a children’s reading garden in the rapidly developing Delaware County Library System. I am honored to have been the first selected. I hope my work inspires young readers for generations to come.

Indiana Limestone 7'-6" x 4'-6" x 12" Lewis Center, Ohio Delaware County Library System
Indiana Limestone
7′-6″ x 4′-6″ x 12″
Lewis Center, Ohio
Delaware County Library System

I thank the Delaware County Library for their complete gift of artistic freedom. This piece was an unusual pleasure to create.

Indiana Limestone 7'-6" x 4'-6" x 12" Lewis Center, Ohio Delaware County Library System
Indiana Limestone
7′-6″ x 4′-6″ x 12″
Lewis Center, Ohio
Delaware County Library System

The kiss; the two sides unite.

Indiana Limestone 7'-6" x 4'-6" x 12" Lewis Center, Ohio Delaware County Library System
Indiana Limestone
7′-6″ x 4′-6″ x 12″
Lewis Center, Ohio
Delaware County Library System

The hammer blow… from thus, this. Magic. Reality. Here.

Indiana Limestone 7'-6" x 4'-6" x 12" Lewis Center, Ohio Delaware County Library System
Indiana Limestone
7′-6″ x 4′-6″ x 12″
Lewis Center, Ohio
Delaware County Library System

The exploring fish, unnerved… a marvel of the mysterious sea.

Indiana Limestone 7'-6" x 4'-6" x 12" Lewis Center, Ohio Delaware County Library System
Indiana Limestone
7′-6″ x 4′-6″ x 12″
Lewis Center, Ohio
Delaware County Library System

Forest spirits making sure the gold of legends is taken care of… and one of the Leprechauns has given up his duty for a higher cause.

Indiana Limestone 7'-6" x 4'-6" x 12" Lewis Center, Ohio Delaware County Library System
Indiana Limestone
7′-6″ x 4′-6″ x 12″
Lewis Center, Ohio
Delaware County Library System

The tunnel of myth… dare you?

 

Thurber Garden

Based on James Thurber's drawings. Columbus Limestone
Based on James Thurber’s drawings. Columbus Limestone

This was one of my first public projects. It is still in operation, almost twenty years later. the water flows out of the book and across the split boulder, and disappears. The boulder is suspended on a stainless steel grate that holds the gravel at grade level.

Based on James Thurber's drawings.Columbus Limestone
Based on James Thurber’s drawings.
Columbus Limestone

This Thurber Dog facing down a butterfly is at the home of the funder of the Thurber House 100th Anniversary Garden.

Based on James Thurber's drawings.Columbus Limestone
Based on James Thurber’s drawings.
Columbus Limestone

My daughter was featured in the newspaper riding this Thurber Dog at the inaugural. She was five. She tuurns twenty this year.

Based on James Thurber's drawings.Columbus Limestone
Based on James Thurber’s drawings.
Columbus Limestone

Still, twenty years later, the ball balances. Epoxy.

Based on James Thurber's drawings.Columbus Limestone
Based on James Thurber’s drawings.
Columbus Limestone

The water flows across the pages, down and away. This li one of the best reading places in Columbus, I’ve heard from many.

Based on James Thurber's drawings.Columbus Limestone
Based on James Thurber’s drawings.
Columbus Limestone

This dog has since become so overgrown most he’s hard to see.

Columbus Limestone
Columbus Limestone

This sweet dog is now surrounded by flowers, and seems to be smelling them at the right time of year. Time is everything with sculpture.

Based on James Thurber's drawings. Columbus Limestone
Based on James Thurber’s drawings. Columbus Limestone

The Slueth Dog. Tricky tail.

Based on James Thurber's drawings. Columbus Limestone
Based on James Thurber’s drawings. Columbus Limestone

The digging dog has all but dug himself right out of sight.

Based on James Thurber's drawings. Columbus Limestone
Based on James Thurber’s drawings. Columbus Limestone

The Balancing Dog has been balancing for over ten years now…

Based on James Thurber's drawings. Columbus Limestone
Based on James Thurber’s drawings. Columbus Limestone

And the sniffing dog has been sniffing since the last century.

Thurber Garden Magazine

And last fall… there was this. Pretty cool.

Butler University Memorial Columbarium

Butler Memorial Bulldog

This is a photo of Blue, Butler University’s mascot. Butler has been a champion basketball team for generations, and I have had the honor of doing several projects for the university. The latest was a columbarium to hold the ashes of all past and future mascots. I was commissioned to do a sculpture for the memorial.

Butler Memorial Bulldog

A block of styrofoam has been begun. Myself and my fellow sculptor and friend Anthony Jacobs used a large hot wire to cut through the foam. Nobody else was there to take our picture.

Butler Memorial Bulldog

Carving the styrofoam armature is very tricky, because the eye’s tendency is to imagine the form of the finished piece, which would leave no room for experimentation and improvisation.

Butler Memorial Bulldog

The clay I like is an oil-based clay that is hard at room temperature, but softens with heat. I use an old electric wok to heat the clay. Hot it can be poured; cold it can be carved like stone. It is useable for different purposes throughout the temperature range.

Butler Memorial Bulldog

Bronze is very revealing of texture. The difference between the two textures, once cast, will be very clear.

Butler Memorial Bulldog

Trip, Butler’s current mascot, came to inspect the finished clay master. Henry gave Trip a good sniffing. Note that Trip even has his own car!

Butler Memorial Bulldog

Michael, Trip’s owner and handler, came to inspect the finished clay master. We made a few adjustments, and then Trip gave his approval.

Butler Memorial Bulldog

The finished master on the way to the foundry.

Butler Memorial Bulldog

At the foundry a rubber mold is taken of the clay master. The mold is made of several different sections so that it can be removed without damage to itself or to the master. Once complete, the mold will beken off the master and painted on the inside with  hot wax until a wax reproduction of the clay master is created. The wax reproduction is about 1/4″ thick.

Butler Memorial Bulldog

The finished mold. The rubber has been covered with plaster so it will hold its shape. Each of the plaster sections has been keyed so that they lock together.

Butler Memorial Bulldog

After the wax reproduction is finished it is cut into smaller pieces, each of which is dipped repeatedly into a fluid form of ceramic slurry, each coat of which is also coated with a fine sand for stability. The ceramic is liquid, so it conforms to the shape of the wax perfectly. Once enough of a shell has been formed, the mold is fired in a special kiln, which melts the wax out at the same time that it fires the ceramic shell. The completed hollow mold will have molten bronze poured in, which will perfectly reproduce the shape of the wax reproduction of the clay master.

Butler Memorial Bulldog

The bronze head, after the ceramic mold has been broken off and the bronze sandblasted clean. The sections will next be welded back together, the welds cleaned and the texture chased to match the original, and then a patina will be applied.

Butler Memorial Bulldog

The welding process.

Butler Memorial Bulldog

John Cline, Foundry master, demonstrating how difficult the process is.

Butler Memorial Bulldog

The completed bronze is then heated with a torch and chemicals are sprayed onto the hot metal to change the color of the surface of the metal. After this, the sculpture is sealed and waxed.

Butler Memorial Bulldog

Headed to Indianapolis for the installation on campus.

Butler Memorial Bulldog

The finished sculpture, installed on campus, with the completed columbarium.

Butler Memorial Bulldog

Dedication. Beautiful day.

Butler Memorial Bulldog

The finished sculpture will be guarding the remains of the Butler mascots for generations to come. Thanks Butler Class of 2014!!!

 

COSI Capitals

The restoration of COSI’s capitals.

What a blast this job was! The capitals on these columns were deteriorating horribly, falling apart, crumbling. Myself and my helper Jack Oliver cut off all the rotten stone, and epoxied and pinned on new stone, and re-carved the new stone to match the old. These capitals are nine feet across. The coolest thing is that no one could tell we did it. Seamless blend to this day.

Easton Cat and Mouse

Indiana Limestone, Bronze
Indiana Limestone, Bronze

This mouse guarding the downspout didn’t last very long. There’s a good reason downspouts have big open outlets.

Indiana LimestoneIndiana Limestone, Bronze
Indiana Limestone
Indiana Limestone, Bronze

Despite how cool it was that the indoor cat tried to herald the mouse out. Mousey, mousey?

Indiana Limestone, Bronze
Indiana Limestone, Bronze

Great idea, but not practical at all. This kind of creativity is no longer encouraged. Stuff has to last, no matter how clever the idea. I won’t be doing this again, thank you.

 

501 Gargoyle

Indiana Limestone
Indiana Limestone

I spent so much time after my divorce at this club, the only jazz club in Columbus at the time, that I donated this piece to the club. It’s still there and will be for as long as the building exists. Park Street Tavern (at the time the 5:01 club).

Indiana Limestone
Indiana Limestone

Blowing my thanks to my city when I was blue…

Hanover Panthers

Hanover Panthers
Indiana Limestone
Life Size
Hanover University, Indiana

These panthers, one called “Life of the Mind” and one called “Life of the Body”, had to be removed from their original outdoor location due to vandalism. This shot is taken in their present location. The concept and overall design are by Dale Johnson, but the models and carving were done by Matthew Palmer during his long stay with Old World.

 

Hanover Panthers
Indiana Limestone
Life Size
Hanover University, Indiana

It is satisfying to know that thousands of photographs of the beautiful panthers exist. I look forward to being asked to do an eagle, or whatever is next. I like working for schools.

Hanover Panthers
Indiana Limestone
Life Size
Hanover University, Indiana

This one, “Life of th Body”, has always impressed me with its tense pose, so catlike and so observant. Go Hanover!

 

Holocaust Memorial (Proposal)

To have been marble figures surrounded by wood figures liinked with naval brass wire.
To have been marble figures surrounded by wood figures linked with naval brass wire.

The figures in the center, life-size marble, would have represented a mother and son freshly arrived by train at a camp. black figures would have been carved and scorched wood. The flooring would have been broken limestone slabs to symbolize the roads made of broken tombstones.

 

To have been marble figures surrounded by wood figures liinked with naval brass wire.
To have been marble figures surrounded by wood figures linked with naval brass wire.

Unfortunately, the project never received adequate funding and never happened.

Hoop Dancer

Hoop Dancer
Steel, Glass, Stone
16′ x 6′ x 5′

A friend that owns a machine shop called and asked if I wanted some scrap steel, which of course I did, and another friend called and asked if I had a use for a large glass conference table top, which I broke his office and hauled out in pieces. This piece became the result. All pieces are held together by gravity and welding only- no holes were drilled, there are no pins or adhesives.

Hoop Dancer
Steel, Glass, Stone
16′ x 6′ x 5′

This piece unwittingly became inspired by the Native American Hoop Dances I saw as a child in South Dakota, where I grew up. One side is a female dancer, the other a male.

Hoop Dancer
Steel, Glass, Stone
16′ x 6′ x 5′

The piece was selected to stand outside the Fine Arts building of the Ohio State Fair a few years ago.

 

 

Hoop Dancer
Steel, Glass, Stone
16′ x 6′ x 5′

I was disqualified from being the show that year as my piece was too large, but I enjoyed being outside the building anyway. It was a first. Stupidly, I forgot to go to the opening ceremonies. Such a loss of good schmooze time. Being and artist… sometimes ya gotta schmooze.

 

Goodale Park Column

For thirty years I have wanted to restore this column. I SO love that I had the opportunity. Thanks, Fate!
For thirty years I have wanted to restore this column. I SO love that I had the opportunity. Thanks, Fate!

 

 

 

dog finished

installation

 

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.
The ram was the most complete of the surviving column heads.
The ram was the most complete of the surviving column heads.

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.