Tag Archives | sculpture

Dan Snow

Cadboll Stone

While visiting Scotland earlier this month I received a crash course in Pictish stone carving. The Picts lived north of what is now Edinburgh from the 1st to 3rd century AD. Little is known about them other than what can be deciphered from the system of symbols found carved on stones and engraved on metalwork. […]

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Dan Snow Seating Amphitheaterr

Vermont Arts Council Award

Fifty years ago I won a blue ribbon in the Brattleboro Sidewalk Art Show. Thirty years ago I won a National Endowment for the Arts award for designing a local amphitheatre. This week I received a Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council. Some might say, the awards in my artistic career have been few […]

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Koli Environmental Art Workshop

My Finnish friend, Markku Hakuri, is writing a book about teaching environmental art titled Site or Place. He asked me to contribute to it by describing one of my experiences as a guest professor at the University of Art and Design, Helsinki (now, Aalto University). The second time I was invited to teach in Finland, […]

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Bedrock Barnacle

A new order of land crustacean has attached itself to a patch of ledge in Marlboro, Vermont. The homeowners, being away, had no way to defend their property from the intrusion. I hope they develop a liking for the three-ton mollusk because prying it off would be a bit… of a job. Fortunately, these old […]

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From Newgrange to Morrisville: Laying Loved Ones to Rest

Much of the art and architecture of ancient cultures was funerary. The Egyptian pyramids and the Taj Mahal, for example, are tombs. Artistic creations such as The Terracotta Army of the Qin Emperor and large pieces of pottery that marked Early Greek burials were artistic creations separate from the venerated human remains. Works I’ve done […]

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The Sheep Shed

Over time, I’ve expanded the walling work that’s been the backbone on my career to include dry stone sculpture and environmental art. The designs typically take dry stone techniques and traditions into new territory. A concept will be explored through the lens of what’s known to have worked in the past. The core of a […]

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The Millstone

The use of an old millstone as a lawn ornament is a notion that never grows old. They’re seen laid flat with flowers growing from the central axle hole, or set on edge with the lower portion buried in the ground. The mill building, where the stone once turned, may be long gone but the […]

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Inflatable Stones

While I was in Newfoundland, ET, John, Andy, and the rest of the crew were making a full size mockup of the three-stone piece that will soon be installed on Hogpen Hill. The “inflatable stones,” as ET refers to them, are made from steel frames sheathed in plastic shrink-wrap. Yesterday the mockup took flight, with […]

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From Durable Utility to Ephemeral Display

The difference between stone and rock is that rock only becomes stone when it gains employment. Whether fixed or loose, rock belongs to the earth. When humans pick it up and turn it to a use it becomes stone. There are many ways to make the transformation. Here are two examples. This past month, stonework […]

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Stone Travels in Yorkshire and Cumbria

Driving on the left side of the road, rubber sink-stoppers on a chain, grilled tomatoes for breakfast; these are some of the things to get used to, quickly, when on a six-day visit to the UK. I was there to take part in the DSWA Standardization and Assessment weekend for craftsman scheme examiners. Along the […]

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Monumental Lithic Assemblages

Getting to work with skilled professionals under the direction of an artist who takes great joy in the making of things is pure delight for me. This week I was again on Hogpen Hill with Edward Tufte creating monumental lithic assemblages. From time to time, over the past year, I’ve gone to western Connecticut to […]

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Hogpen Hill Farms Open House

Edward Tufte and the crew at Hogpen Hill Farms stayed busy on the land while I was away in Newfoundland and Oregon. An exciting collection of stones greeted me on arrival this past Monday. Edward’s sketches illustrated the direction he wished to move the work. Frank, Rob, Tom and I got right into it, constructing […]

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The Tarriance

The Tarriance is a found-object assemblage, environmental art work.  It is a sculpture having eternal and ephemeral components. The 34-stone construction is made from stream-worn “pillow” basalt boulders gathered from a gravel bank along the Santiam River in Mill City, Oregon and 70 year-old hand split, cast-offs collected from an abandoned granite quarry in Haines, […]

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The Tarriance under Blue Skies

The joke between the O.H. and I every morning here in Bend has been to wonder out loud what the day’s weather will be. Twelve hours of high desert sunshine has been routine these past two weeks while assembling the Tarriance at COCC. Getting rained out has not been in the realm of possibility on […]

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The Tarriance Sculpture – Setting a Stone Boulder

When I was a youngster I imagined there was an inexhaustible supply of people older than myself doing interesting and exciting things. With the passing of years I learned that their numbers must sadly, but quite naturally, dwindle. What I hadn’t perceived until recently is that all I have to do to find a growing […]

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A Transcontinental Journey

The last day on our transcontinental journey begins in Twin Falls, Idaho. By this afternoon we should be at our Oregon destination for the installation of a sculpture at the Central Oregon Community College. The O.H. and I have tag-team driven from Eastern Newfoundland across three provinces and twelve states in the past week and […]

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Stone Megaliths

The last five pages of my notebook are covered in boulder sketches. Each one records the shape and dimensions of a large stone in Edward Tufte’s growing stock yard of material pried loose from ledges on his Hogpen Hill Farm. The pencil sketches are the first step in a method of discovery I’ve employed for […]

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A Dry Stone Eye in the Landscape

My time in the eye of the stone has passed. Yesterday saw the final vertical pieces set in the Horse Eye sculpture. Phase One is complete except for two elements being carved by Chris Curtis of West Branch Gallery in Stowe, Vermont. They will be lowered into place at a later date, replacing the styrofoam […]

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Stone Eye – Hot Horse Hide

Laboring in stone-craft is sweaty business even when the summer air temperature is moderate. Ramp the heat up to 95° F (35° C), add the radiant heat steaming off the stones, and I find myself working in a veritable, solar bake oven. The perspiration really starts to flow. Dust swirling around the site sticks to […]

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Dan Snow, sourcing local stone

Stone Hunting for the Tarriance

Stone hunting for The Tarriance sculpture project recently took me on a 1,300 mile, Oregon road trip. The trail led across dry shrub-lands, over evergreen-spired mountain passes, and along deep river gorges. In the west, three basalt boulders were located in a riverside gravel pit. In the east, slag from an abandoned granite quarry netted […]

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The Stone Eye – Nature All Around

When working alone in a country setting, as I have been on the stone eye project, the surroundings become my companion. This spring I’ve witnessed the trees slowly bud, and then quickly unfurl their greenery. Just this week a great blue heron winged its effortless way through the cloudless sky overhead. A glossy-backed, black bear […]

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Woodland Dolmens

It was excavator ballet at Hogpen Hill Farms this week. I had four machines at my disposal for the assembly of stone structures. Under Edward Tufte’s direction, the polite march of table tops created during previous sessions evolved into a stagger of dolmens. The new pieces, inspired by ancient lithic structures, progressed south along a […]

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The Stone Eye – Three Dry Stone Building Styles

Showers every day added up to 2” of precipitation and sloppy working conditions at the stone eye project this week. Safety glasses fogged and the mud sucked at my boots but I was glad to be outside making progress on the construction. The lead-sinker hanging guide-point system is proving to be very reliable and flexible. […]

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Stone Eye Passage Roof Stones

A recent chance drive-by along Vermont Route 15 led to the discovery of Jeffersonville Quarry, and a way forward with the stone eye. In less than 36 hours, I’d sourced stone for vaulting the ceiling of the passage, ordered the pieces (which were quickly quarried out by Ken Gillilan) trucked them to the building site, […]

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Stone Eye, Hot and Dry

Clouds are banking in from the west, bringing the first significant precipitation to Vermont in months. April’s weather has felt positively ‘Southern Californian.’ Under intense sunshine, in powder dry conditions, I got started laying stone on the Stone Eye Project this past week. This is my first experience working with stone from Mitchell Quarry. The […]

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Woodland Stone Tables

Another dry stone landform has begun to take shape at Hogpen Hill Farms. Three dozen “tables” have been assembled along one of the long ribs that constitute the high ground in the woodland park. The directive by Edward Tufte for this piece is to create the illusion of stones floating along the ridge top when […]

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The Tarriance

I’m pleased to announce that my competition proposal to create a sculpture on the grounds of Central Oregon Community College has been selected by the Art Acquisitions Committee. The 201-acre Bend campus, with views of the beautiful Cascade mountains, has been growing since the 1960’s. Over 18,000 students are enrolled at COCC this academic year. […]

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ET Modern Gallery Presentation – Stone and Art in Nature

Blustery winds carried a host of folks into ET Modern Gallery for my presentation, ‘Stone and Art in Nature’ on Saturday. So many of them were old friends that it felt more like a party than a slide show. Edward Tufte’s Chelsea gallery is a fantastic venue for informal get-togethers. His latest sculpture series, “All […]

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The Tarriance Sculpture Proposal

Being chosen as a finalist in a competition, and asked to submit a sculpture proposal, got me thinking. Here’s an institution of higher learning looking for a piece of art to grace the exterior of a new building on their campus. What could I offer that would enrich the sensory experience of students, faculty, staff […]

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Diamond Mines Frosted with Snow

Birgit, Elin’s Danish aunt, took a walk in the winter woods of TICKON recently to find my “Diamond Mines” frosted with snow. Only having seen the piece in autumn, when I completed it, it’s exciting for me to have a glimpse of how it looks in a different season. Thanks, Birgit, Lars, Susanne, Thomas and […]

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Winter Walling in an Art and Nature Park

An unexpected weather-window opened up this week allowing Chuck, Jared and I to begin work on a new project. A wooded mountaintop plateau in western Connecticut is the site of an art and nature park being created by Edward Tufte. His monumental sculptures already grace the open meadows at the south end of the property. […]

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Stone Eye Sculpture Site Preparations

In their later years, my parents enjoyed belonging to Vermont’s “251 Club.” Members travel around the state visiting all 251 towns, checking them off a list, just for fun. Maybe someday I’ll join, too, making my personal quest to see all of Vermont in a more organized way. For now, I’m satisfied to explore different […]

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A Stone Eye

A trip to Plainfield, Vermont in the F450 last week netted a dump load of wall stone from Mitchell’s Quarry. The quarry’s bedrock is a layered mix of quartzite, a granular metamorphic rock, and phyllite, a slaty rock with minute scales of mica.Yesterday, I built some of the stone into a short wall to test […]

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Points in Space

Every new idea leads to an adventure. In the past when I’ve wanted to record and transfer “points-in-space” from a clay model to a full scale construction I’ve made a grid-style guide frame and physically measured the distance from the frame to the surface of the model. To build the horse eye sculpture I will […]

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Disturbing the Silence

Poet Wendell Berry advises those who practice his craft to “make poems that don’t disturb the silence from which they come.” The same suggestion could be made for the construction of environmental art. It is often made in locations that are perfectly at peace. Creators of outdoor art risk disturbing an existing balance when they […]

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A Stone Turtle

When a favorite customer asked me if I would consider making an animal, any animal, out of dry stone last summer I immediately said, ‘yes’. Then the puzzling began. What animal shape could I fashion that would be recognizable, and also durable, using only dry stone techniques? It was especially important to the customer that […]

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TICKON Diamond Mines Land Art

Text for the TICKON Catalog. DIAMOND MINES 2011 TICKON LAND ART “Diamond Mines” is an abstract, site-specific sculpture built of loose, natural stone. The work is situated on westward-sloping ground in a grove of mature beech trees. Wooded hills rise to the north and south. Park paths wind along the west and north sides of […]

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TICKON Diamond Mines

The final days in Denmark were filled with activity for me and E. The daytime hours were spent touring Langeland with friends Peter and Phyllis visiting from Vermont. In the evenings we were feted by our Danish families and by our TICKON hosts. Back in Vermont, the sun sets earlier and rises later. My internal […]

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TICKON Diamond Mines in the News

Earlier this week, the local newspaper stopped by the TICKON site for an interview. Hopefully the article will be available online within a few days. For now – a couple of photos.

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TICKON Sculpture Installation Completed

I Dug Up a Diamond  ‘I dug up a diamond rare and fine, I dug up a diamond in a deep dark mine. If only I could cling to my beautiful find, I dug up a diamond in a deep dark mine.My gem is special beyond all worth, strong as any metal, or stone in […]

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TICKON Installation Past the Halfway Mark

The TICKON installation is past the halfway mark thanks to the help of Alfio Bonnano and Ole Johnsen who have coordinated all the logistics of tools and materials, plus, made us feel at home away from home. On site, Francesca and Jared have put in long hours raising the walls of the piece that will […]

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TICKON – Sourcing Tools, Stone and Equipment in Langeland

It took me a few days to ‘get’ TICKON’s method of operation but I can now appreciate it for its full value. The art park owns no tools or equipment. Everything needed to produce a new installation is gathered piecemeal from community members in the surrounding villages. So, for the first few days of my […]

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TICKON – Fieldstone and Hearting

The field-stone for my installation at TICKON (Tranekær International Centre for Art and Nature) comes with some of the “field” it was gathered from; mud. My first objective has been to dig out the stone. While the supply was drying out I began setting up batter frames. Each board describes an inside corner of the […]

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TICKON Art Park

From the glacier fed streams of Norway’s Jotunheimen mountains, I’ve traveled this past week to the low, wetlands of Denmark. In fact, I’m living in a 300 year-old house alongside a castle moat. This is the artist’s residence for TICKON, the environmental art park I’ll be working in for the next month. Yesterday 20 tons […]

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Dedication of the BMAC Sculpture Garden

This Saturday will mark the dedication of Brattleboro Museum and Art Center’s new Sculpture Garden. Since I’m in Scandinavia and unable to attend, I’ve written a few words to be read at the ceremony. My thanks to museum board chairman, Bruce Berg, for reading. All best wishes on the day to those attending.  Dedication of […]

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Sculpture Along the Canal in Uddevalla, Sweden

While driving through Sweden on the way to Norway I saw this pair of stone sculptures along-side the canal in Uddevalla. The chair, and “room”, are assembled from carved and broken slabs that are bolted together by threaded rods. I think the combination of natural forms and carved, polished surfaces on the same stone is […]

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Sky Watch

Thanks to Sunny Wieler from Ireland for the mention of Sky Watch on his recent stargazing in the garden article – and for telling me about these beautifully hand crafted garden telescopes – also from Vermont.

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Thinking in Clay

The road to a project’s completion is often a long and winding one. That’s why it’s worth taking time along the way to enjoy the view. The installation I’ll be doing at TICKON in Denmark later this summer began last year with an invitation from the art park to submit a proposal. Over the months, […]

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Neo Ancient Dolmen

Dolmen in Dummerston Dolmen in Dummerston Dolmen in Dummerston Dolmen in Dummerston Dolmen in Denmark 5,000 years ago, in the land that is now Denmark, the dead were entombed in boulder chambers. Dolmens, as they are known to archaeologists, were once covered with earth mounds. Exposed by erosion and excavation, many are now visible on […]

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Dan Snow, Wishing Wells, Installation, dry stone construction

Vermont Public Radio Interview

Earlier this week I was interviewed on Vermont Public Radio as part of a series on Vermont artists. Here is a link to a podcast of the interview. And here is the link to the interview in the VPR archives. Scroll down for a photo gallery of my work.

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The Kerava Art Museum – Reika Avaruudessa

The trees in the parks of Helsinki were beginning to show signs of awakening from their winter sleep when I arrived here early May. Today, my last day in Finland on this trip, they are flush with lush green leaves. I leave behind good friends, old and new. It’s been an exciting few weeks of […]

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Art Making: Process Practice Patience

As the opening of the exhibition, “Hole in the Universe”, on May 27th will show, there are many ways to interpret the term “Environmental Art”. Artists from six countries are now busy preparing their works inside Kerava Art Museum. I’m outside on the grounds of the museum putting together my piece. I take environmental art […]

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Kerava Art Museum Opening Invitation

You are cordially invited! Exhibition Opening Friday 27 May 2011 5 – 7 PM Info from the Kerava Art Museum website: HOLE IN THE UNIVERSEMay 27 – August 28, 2011The exhibition, brought to being by sculptor and professor of Environmental Art Markku Hakuri, focuses on the human and the surrounding universe poetically through surprising spatial […]

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Kerava Art Museum – Dry Stone Sculpture Emerging

The dry stone sculpture rising out of the lawn outside Kerava Art Museum is beginning to attract local attention. People on their way to work are slowing down as they pass. Some stop and ask what’s happening. I learned through a student interpreter that one fellow said he liked seeing natural stone being used, that […]

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Sculpture Making at Kerava Art Museum

The first full day of sculpture making at Kerava Art Museum brought one form to completion. Because this is a temporary exhibit, I’m building directly on the lawn grass. The granite pebbles and cobbles are easy to handle and a nice change of pace from heavy lifting, even though I do have to spend most […]

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Sourcing Stone in Finland

Yesterday, Professor Markku Hakuri took me for a train and bus ride to check out the site for my installation at Kerava Art Museum. This morning I went ten miles outside of Helsinki to a look at gravel pit. A ‘tailings’ pile I found there has the right ingredients for making a piece that combines […]

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Rock Rest

Three days this week were devoted to dismantling and reassembling a sculpture titled ‘Rock Rest’. The piece was designed and constructed last December at my stone yard with the intention that it would eventually be installed at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center’s new sculpture garden. On Sunday I numbered and catalogued the 50+ stones […]

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Happy Valentine’s Viiru

The viiru that have given me the idea for the sculpture I’m proposing to build at the Kerava Art Museum often appear in the shape of X’s. For a number of years now, I’ve been photographing X’s whenever and wherever I come across them in nature. Today being a special day for X’s I thought […]

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Reika Avaruudessa – A Hole in the Universe

Collage Sketch Collage Sketch During the snowy months I get busy indoors with planning for the up-coming building season. For the outdoor installation at Kerava Museum of Art I’ve settled on a theme and written a materials list. I’ve also made collage sketches to illustrate the way I desire the work to feel (not how […]

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A Stone Works Tour

Employing a medium and a method of construction that has proven itself over thousands of years I understand that my works in dry stone may be around long after I’m gone. But what I hadn’t fully grasped, until recently, is that they also develop a personality, and life of their own, independent of their making […]

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Getting It Right

It’s exciting to discover a venue for the arts that’s getting it right. The Indianapolis Art Museum’s 100 Acres sculpture park is one that is in every way. A former gravel pit has been transformed through natural reclamation and architectural design to become an art and nature park. The ongoing commission of site specific art works […]

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Virginia Dormire

Below is an excerpt from a recent speech given for the dedication of “Virginia Dormire,” the dry stone sculpture I constructed on a Southern Connecticut property in 2009.I’ve been asked to talk about sculpture’s place in the history of art, and dry stone’s place in art making, today.  Anyone who has taken an art history […]

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A Place for Change

Sunday, September 12th I traveled to the opening reception at the Andres Institute of Art for the 12th Annual Bridges and Connections Symposium. The public was invited to meet the artists at Brookline Town Hall, in Brookline, NH. The artists for this year’s symposium are: Gerard Motondi – Kisii, Kenya, Susan Abraham – New York, […]

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Reflections on the Roof

Brancussi, Noguchi and Nevelson are names synonymous with Modern sculpture. Contemporary figures include Serra, Bourgeois and Goldsworthy. Some of their best works are represented at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. On a recent visit there I had the chance to examine and compare many fine pieces. Some were old favorites while others […]

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Archer’s Pavilion – Part 3

Even though the Archers Pavilion was made to look like a tent it was never intended to be a shelter. Rain would be allowed to pass straight through the joints between its roof stones. I approached the project as a sculpture, that is, a non-functional object. All the same, it was imperative it should be […]

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Reflections 2009

Perhaps winter is a time of reflection because the ground is covered in reflective white. The earth and its stone is under a thick blanket of snow these days. The land is saying, “Let me rest.” While I can’t help think some about what’s coming up in the months ahead, at this time of the year I do try […]

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More on Beauty Girl

Work on “Beauty Girl” continued this week. With the able assistance of DSWA Advance certificate holder Andrew Pighills, the second third of the sculpture took shape. After the guide frame was rolled forward and the “plumbas” rehung, fieldstone was set vertically to describe the robes that blanket the figure in criss-cross patterns. In the first […]

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Beauty Girl

My current project, “Beauty Girl”, is a dry stone sculpture of a reclining female figure.  It’s being constructed on the grounds of a residence in Connecticut.Measurements from my 1/12th scale, clay model were transferred to a movable guide frame.  Weights on lines determine the points that define the form. Vertically-set fieldstone is fashioned into the […]

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Stone Hang Dogs

My discovery of some unusual limestone formations in the countryside around Manhattan, Kansas inspired the idea of using a dry stone construction to feature a pair of naturally perforated, odd shaped rocks. Suspended in the narrow slots between wall sections of the sculpture are two “hang dogs.” I found them in a dry creek bed on […]

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Kansas Sculpture

My K-State artist residency is coming to a close. A huge thank you to Professor Katie Kingery-Page for putting the pieces together to make it all happen. And to Katie’s husband Lindsay Smith, Beach Art Museum Exhibitions Designer, my grateful appreciation for keeping us supplied with tools and equipment. Pictured above, Professor Lorn Clement, Emily […]

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Kansas Sculpture

The two east wall sections begin to take shape. An open house at the Beach Museum, today, Sunday October 4th 1 – 3 pm, will feature a display of the architecture student’s designs of dry-laid stone sculptures. The students – Russell Ploutz, Kirby Barett, Jon Ryan, Emily King, Laura Weatherholt, Alli Gerth, Lee Adams, Ben […]

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Lee Bryant Memorial Lecture – Limits = Potential

I was honored to be the 23rd presenter of the annual College of Architecture, Planning and Design’s Lee A Bryant Memorial Lecture Series. The lecture series is a living tribute to Bryant’s passion for art and the vital interaction of art and architecture.   Thanks to the excellent and thorough preparations made by museum staff […]

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Kansas – Landscape and Art

The west wall portion of the sculpture has been brought up through the foundation course with doubling and through-stones. Yesterday the second lift was finished and the coping started. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to work with the students from Prof. Katie Kingery-Page’s studio class – Landscape and Art. Students have participated in […]

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Kansas Sculpture Preparations

Ground was broken on Monday outside the Beach Museum.  Twelve students dug the footing hole and prepared a crushed stone base for the sculpture. They made “half-products” in the stone staging area by hammer-trimming rough quarry materials into ready-to-lay stone.

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Kansas Sculpture Design

K-State students outlining the footprint of the sculpture with butcher paper. I am in Manhattan, Kansas for two weeks for an arts residency with landscape architecture students from Kansas State University. You can read more about it here.

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Beauty Girl: a dry stone sculpture in progress

Pictured above, marble block in Rutland, VT quarry Pictured above, clay model, back view Pictured above, Princess Maya, (mother of Siddartha) an inspiration for Beauty Girl sculpture. Beauty Girl is a 34’ x 8’ x 5’ 6” dry stone construction to be installed on the grounds of a private residence in southern Connecticut late in […]

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