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4 Culture

4Culture is an organization that provides cultural funding and support in King County, WA. In recent years they have awarded NWSSA two Equipment Grants (which included upgrading our computer equipment), and we were awarded a Sustained Support grant for 2017 and 2018 for $2200 per year.

Grants can be a really wonderful resource for artists, particularly for our members since the startup costs for a stone sculpture studio are greater than for most mediums.As a student, I benefitted indirectly from at least 3 grants when other artists hired me to assist with their grant-funded projects, and as an artist, I have received two invaluable grants to support my own work. It takes time and effort and the risk of rejection, but regardless of the results, the process can help you clarify your goals and learn how to better communicate your ideas.
4culture.org Logo

4Culture.org is a great resource for NWSSA both as an organization and for individuals based in King County, WA. One of my last acts in my thirty-three years as a King County resident was to create my sculpture “KnowTime,” previously highlighted in the July/August 2017 edition of Sculpture NorthWest. I had plenty of help getting that sculpture made, and a primary resource was a $1500 grant I received under the program, “Open 4Culture.” This grant is specifically designed to help those new to the grant process, and it has a rolling deadline so one can apply any time. If you are aKing County resident, I highly encourage you to take advantage of this program - they will help walk you through it if you have questions- they want you to succeed! Once you have successfully navigated this entry level grant program, it gives you an edge in applying to Project Grants. Both programs help you take on the upfront expenses of larger projects so that you can expand into new areas. For me, I wanted to have at least one large-scale portfolio piece for applying to public art projects. For you, it could be any number of possibilities.

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The Egyptian

by Frank Rose
The Egyptian by Frank RoseFrom early grade school, I was interested in art. Although I spent a good part of my early life on the high seas with the US Navy, I always took the opportunity to view art in Asian and European cities and while on shore duty stations, I attended life drawing and painting classes offered at local colleges. My most enjoyable learning experience in life drawing and oil painting took place at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia. Many of the art teachers working there were highly successful artists.About eight or ten years ago I rented a small space at the Freeland Art Studios on Whidbey Island, primarily to create water-based clay portraiture. 
I began with a water based Clay MaquetteThe clay portraiture process taught me how hard it is to get a likeness and to keep it once found. It also helped me to better understand the construction of the cranium, allowing me to create a very credible portrait of someone that I have never met. 
Working in stone was not completely my idea. As it turned out, about a year and half ago, I was challenged by studio associates Sue Taves, Lloyd Whannell, Woody Morris, Lane Tompkins and Penelope Crittenden to create a life-size portrait, using only hand tools, in one-sixth of a limestone column measuring 13x13 inches x 5 1/2 feet high. It was Texas limestone, soft white, clean and beautiful throughout, a gift to the Freeland Art Studios by the very generous Scott Hackney of the Marenakos Rock Center.

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From Bernini to Brancusi

The dramatic change in Portrait sculpture from Rococo to Minimalist.
By Lane Tompkins
Bust of Duke Freancis I D Este, Bernini 1651The Rococo period in marble portrait sculpture can hardly be better illustrated than by the Italian Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s portrait bust of Francis I D’Este, Duke of Modena, which was completed at the midpoint of the 17th century. This super realistic piece surrounds a face, that looks to be alive, by fantastically long cascades of curled hair, dream-like billowings of fabric in a swirl around his armored torso, with soft touches of crocheted lace at his neck.

Get as close as his minders at the Este Gallery Museum in Modena will allow you or zoom in on any of the large format photos available of him, and you will find it hard to believe that the Duke is stone and not living flesh. 

Moving through many art filled decades, we come to a time early in the 20th century when Constantine Brancusi, a Romanian working in France, began his life’s work on a simpler style, something often referred to as minimalist art. One can hardly find two sculptures more different than Bernini’s Duke of Modena and Brancusi’s Sleeping-Muse. Both are in Carrara marble and both are human heads, but the differences between the two are nothing if not stunning. 

Sleeping Muse, Brancusi 1909Gone are all the marvelous coverings of cloth and metal. Even the hair is reduced to a mere indication of a few strands on the top of the head. Brancusi’s head isn’t even placed upright on a pedestal, but simply lies like and egg on a table. 

It’s a good thing we don’t have to choose between these two schools of art for our enjoyment. We can simply absorb all that we want from each of these vastly different approaches, choosing one (or even both) to be the inspiration for our own next work of art. 

Enjoy your work fellow carvers; finding satisfaction in your own personal style. Bon Appetite for stone!

Barbara Hepworth 1903 - 1975

Without a doubt, the foremost woman sculptor of the 20th century, Barbara Hepworth is responsible in part for the emergence and acceptance of Abstract Art.Barbara in her studio circa 1950’s, with white marble sculpture and black cat.

Even before I started working in stone I was interested in sculpture and was inspired by a book I found in 1988 at our local Library used book sale, titled “Barbara Hepworth, a Pictorial Autobiography,” published by the TATE Gallery, 1970.

The very next summer on a boat trip to Canada I meet a stone sculptor on  Salt Spring Island. He was kind enough to give me my first two pieces of stone to carve, which resulted in thirty plus years of discovery and joy as an artist.
View of her Trewyn Studio (just as she left it.) Barbara died here of smoke inhalation from an accidental fire on 20 May, 1975 at the age of 72. (Photo by Arliss Newcomb.)
Six years ago on a trip to the UK with my husband Mike, we traveled to see her Museum and studio in St. Ives, near Lands End in Cornwall. It was a most moving and profound experience for me walking in her sculpture garden and seeing her working studio with all her tools just as she left them to stop for a tea break. While she dozed off for a short nap, the hotplate warming the tea water started a smoky fire which resulted in her death from smoke inhalation, May 20, 1975. She was seventy-two years old. A very great loss to the art world.

Born in 1903 in Wakefield, UK, she was a budding artist at a very young age.
At 17 seventeen she was accepted as a scholarship student at the Leeds School of Art.
Henry Moore was a fellow student. At nineteen she received a traveling scholarship
to go to Italy and study. There she meets many of the young leading names in the new movement of Abstract Art: Arp, Picasso, Brancusi and John Skeaping, whom she married at age twenty-four. Their son Paul was born two years later. Together they held several shows in both Europe and England which brought them public notice as artists of note. In 1931 she meet Ben Nicholson and in 1934 she gave birth to triplets, Simon, Rachel and Sarah. In 1938 they married. Because of the oncoming of WW2 they moved from their studios near London to the small town of St. Ives in Cornwall, where they both contributed to the war effort. Barbara’s Trewyn studio showing some of her projects under way at the time of her death in l975. (Photo by Arliss Newcomb, seen in the wall mirror.)

A sculpture she was working on at the time of her death. (Photo by Arliss Newcomb.)Hepworth was a very prolific sculptor, and produced over six hundred works of art over her lifetime, including many works of public art in England and across Europe. Most notable was "SINGLE FORM" installed in the courtyard of the United Nations in New York on June 11,1964 in honor of Dag Hammarskjold, the UN’s first president.

She is also noted for many of her sculptures being pierced (with a hole.) In 1931 she sculpted "PIERCED FORM." She said "the hole connects one side to the other, making it immediately more three-dimensional." (Henry Moore's first sculpture with a hole was carved in 1932.)

Three years ago, on a second trip to the UK, Mike’s son James organized a trip for us to go to the city of Wakefield, her place of birth just south of the Scottish border, to visit the Hepworth-Wakefield Museum. On display is a large collection of both finished work and rediscovered working models for her bronze sculptures. A short drive away is the beautiful five-hundred acre Yorkshire Sculpture Park with her multi-figure "FAMILY OF MAN," along with pieces by Henry Moore and Andy Goldsworthy.“Pierced Form” of pink alabaster from 1932, thought to be one of her first iconic hole sculptures.
Arliss with a Hepworth sculpture in the garden of Trewyn studio.
I recommend this trip if you are traveling in that part of the country.
A recent photo of Hepworth’s “Single Form” in front of the United Nations Secretariat building.

Women As Sculptors

Introduction: Women as SculptorsFemale Sculptors

Who knows when the first woman picked up something sharp and decided to use it to carve an image in stone? The studies of many early ethnographers and cultural anthropologists indicate that women often were the principal artisans in the cultures considered as Neolithic, creating their pottery, textiles, baskets, and jewelry. However, no mention is made of stone carvers at this point.
The earliest three-dimensional public artworks made by women were wax figures. These were life-size clothed effigies for which women modeled the hands and heads, hyper-realistically, in wax. (The clothes were, probably, made by women too, but there is hardly any research on this yet.)
Women built a specialist tradition in wax modeling, going back at least as far as the middle Ages, when nuns made candles, flowers, and statues of saints in wax. In America, Patience Wright (1725-1786), who had not only a talent for art but a talent for self-promotion as well, is usually credited with being the first professional woman sculptor.Patience began modeling in bread dough and local clay. Widowed early, she turned her hobby into a means of support. Wax was readily available from candle makers and required no tools or training to use. Capitalizing on her talent and forceful personality, she began a traveling wax works show, moved to London, met Benjamin Franklin, was received by and modeled portraits of the king and queen, and became a legend in her own time.
During the eighteenth century, a number of enterprising women, took up wax modeling, among them Marie Grosholtz (1761–1850), later known as Mme Tussaud. These women specialized in waxworks of prominent contemporaries, and some even traveled from city to city in order to show their homemade, but very popular collections of waxworks of prominent contemporaries to the local public for a fee.
 Such work, which continued through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, all suggest the sculptural back doors through which eighteenth-century women artists entered the domain of public sculpture.  In wasn’t until the mid-1800s that a new generation of women stone sculptors emerged. Going against the accepted role of wife and mother, these women were often ridiculed and ostracized. The lucky ones had the financial and emotional support of their families and the private means to afford materials and formalized training. In America, women could attend academies such as the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League in New York, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and the Art Institute of Chicago. However, many chose to study in Italy and established studios there, taking advantage of the company of stone carvers and craftsmen as well as the ready supply of white statuary marble. These artists worked in the prevailing neoclassical style for their monuments and commissions. The first “school” of women sculptors arose around Rome based Harriet Hosmer (1830-1908,) Anne Whitney (1821-1915) and Edmonia Lewis (1844-1911.)

Six of the many women who broke through the gender ceiling

1856 marble Beatrice Cenci by Harriet HosmerHarriet Hosmer (1830-1908)

began her life in Watertown, Massachusetts and from an early age was often to be found in a clay pit near her home “modeling horses, dogs, sheep, men and women.” Her high spirits and strong will earned her expulsion from school not just once but three times. After school she decided to pursue sculpture in earnest. Although her father encouraged her, the rest of Massachusetts was not so understanding. Even her friend Nathaniel Hawthorne despaired over her unmarried state and her “jaunty costume” which consisted of a “sort of man’s sack of purple broadcloth, a male shirt, collar and cravat and a little cap of black velvet.” Fortunately, she came from a supportive family who enabled her to go to Rome and study. Even though her “Beatrice Cenci” (1857), was a triumph at the 1857 Royal Academy exhibition in London, she nevertheless still had to deal continually with rumours that one or another of her male associates did her work. Slander and prejudice dogged most of her career. Anne Whitney (1821-1915), also from Massachusetts, was driven by a passion for social justice and many of her sculptures reflected her social sympathies. Her colossal “Africa” (1864, destroyed) embodied antislavery sentiments in an idealized neoclassical form. Sometimes her work proved too controversial—for example, Roma (1869), a realistic depiction of the city of Rome as an impoverished old beggar woman, which with its irreverence caused a sensation when it was exhibited. Experiencing much of the same prejudice that Harriet Hosmer faced, and with a similarly supportive family, Anne too went to Rome where she was one of several young American women sculptors who went to work there among their male colleagues. In 1875 Whitney won a national commission to portray abolitionist Charles Sumner, but, when it was discovered that the designs were by a woman, her submission was rejected. 

Marble 1867 Forever Free. Edmonia LewisEdmonia Lewis (1844-1911)
had not only to struggle with prejudice against women sculptors, but also against her mixed black and Chippewa heritage. After school she went to Boston, the center of liberal thought at that time, and began studying with Anne Whitney. Eventually, she too went to Rome to study, there creating life-size marble works celebrating emancipation and her Indian heritage. Although some feel that her work lacks the conventional polish of some of her contemporaries, her passion, expressiveness and ethnic content have great appeal. Her life-size marble “Forever Free” powerfully symbolizes the emancipation of black people. Lewis said that she was expressing her “strong sympathy for all women who have struggled and suffered.” Refusing to be stopped by racism or the patronizing attitudes of her times, she became the first major black sculptor in America.

3 Youth Taming The Wild by Anna Hyat HuntingtonAnna Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973)
 
In the early 1900s, although it was still considered odd for a woman to choose sculpture as a vocation, more and more women became accepted. One of the most respected and influential, was the renowned sculptor of animals, Anna Hyatt Huntington, who broke new ground for women sculptors. Her bronze “Joan of Arc” (1915) was the first equestrian statue by a woman. Independent of spirit, her formal training was short and she could often be found at the Bronx Zoo, “a tall young woman in a tailor-made frock and red plumed hat, doing a clay study of a bison.” She did not attend art school aside from studying briefly at the Art Students League in New York City. Huntington was a self-made success with a natural talent for modeling detailed sculptures of animals and enormous equestrian sculptures portraying the likes of Joan of Arc (New York City), El Cid (New York City and Seville, Spain), and Andrew Jackson (Lancaster, South Carolina.)
Although she had no plans to marry, she finally accepted the repeated proposals of wealthy philanthropist Archer Huntington. Now, with unlimited financial resources at her disposal, she was able to work on a larger scale and support the work of other artists. The Huntingtons were responsible for the founding of fourteen museums and four wild life preserves. The most famous of these being the 9,000 acre Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina founded by Anna and Archer in 1931. Originally intended as a setting for her sculptures, she soon commissioned works from her friends and it eventually developed into this country’s first public sculpture garden and has the world’s largest collection of figurative sculpture by American artists in an outdoor setting. This award-winning sculptor lived to be nearly 100, making art until the year before she died.
Abraham Lincoln by Vinni Ream

 
Vinnie Ream (1847–1914)
Ream is the sculptor of an iconic marble Abraham Lincoln that stands in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol (unveiled 1871.) A virtually untrained 18-year-old, Ream was the first woman to win such a commission from the federal government. She completed a plaster model for the statue in her studio and then, accompanied by her parents, took it to Rome in 1869 to translate it into white Carrera marble. In 1875, up against better-known male sculptors, Ream again won a major commission from the U.S. government, this time for a bronze of Civil War hero Admiral David G. Farragut. She went on to create portrait busts of other military and political figures of that era. Two later sculptures—Samuel Kirkwood (1906) and Sequoyah (1912-14)—are displayed in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. Ream abandoned sculpture for many years in deference to her husband’s wishes, but in her later years she executed a statue of Iowa governor Samuel Kirkwood (1906), as well as the model for a statue of Sequoyah (1912–14), both for Statuary Hall in the Capitol.

The Three Bares 1931 By Gertrude Vanderbilt WhitneyGertrude Vanderbilt Whitney 1875-1942
Bearing the surnames of two notable families, Gertrude could certainly have gotten by as a socialite, but she became a highly influential art patron (cofounding the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1930) and pursued sculpture, finding that she had a natural talent for it. Whitney created numerous dramatic memorials throughout the country and the world. Some of her better-known works include The Titanic Memorial (1914–31; in Washington, D.C.), The Scout (1923–24; in Cody, Wyoming), and the Peter Stuyvesant Monument (1936–39; in New York City).

But ironically, the prevalence of stone sculpture by women during the Suffrage Movement of the latter part of the19th Century and the early 1900s began to take a downturn in post-war America. Around the 40s, the image of woman as homemaker seemed to take over and it wasn’t until the feminist movement of the 1970s that acceptance of women in new fields began to be seen again. Little by little, prejudice against women as sculptors grew less adamant and by the late 20th century there were many successful women stone sculptors. Cleo Hartwig (1911-1988), Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975,) Jane B. Armstrong (1921-2012) and Anna Mahler (1904-1988,) to name only a few. It has been a long slow ascent for women as sculptors. Starting in caves making household crafts and goddess worship paraphernalia, they were denied anything much more than that until a few began modeling figures in wax to make a living with traveling displays. With a few lucky breaks and access to some money, a handful of women began producing world-class art, allowing them to finally force their way into what had been man’s domain and produce their own renaissance.

Here’s to women everywhere, past and present, who have worked hard to follow their muses and create their magnificent art that we see throughout the world today.