April 5th, 2013
Which one to Make? Help me decide….
Sometimes making miniatures as sketches can be fun and helpful. I don’t always make these sketches but when I do it helps me see how the image will translate 3 dimensionally, how things will overlap. I will do a tiny thumbnail drawing, but it doesn’t help me understand the volume and overlap. When I start sculpting everything just comes together. Currently I have about a dozen of these little “sketches in clay” on my desk. I really enjoy sculpting in this scale.
Which one to make? I have created two tiny sculptures of sheep. ”A” is more contemporary and graphic, while ”B” is quite traditional. Both will have an interesting wool texture when complete. I would love help in choosing which to sculpt & you may be the WINNER of a full size version by casting your vote. Simply choose either ”A” or ”B”. A name from the winning group will be selected at random and a finished plaque hand signed by me will be sent to one lucky person when completed. To vote please go to https://www.facebook.com/CarruthStudio and post your vote. Thanks, this should be fun for all of us! George
June 26th, 2012
We have always been huge fans of Mary Engelbreit. We love her work, loved her Home Companion magazine because she supported artists and so beautifully shared how to, what and why. So today I, Deb Carruth, am writing this blog because we are so excited to introduce The Mary Engelbreit Collection by George Carruth! Doesn’t a great story begin with… it came to be one day when….well it did come to be as I was perusing the web and decided to take a look at Mary’s website. Intrigued to see the licensing opportunities button I took a look see. It came to me that creating some of Mary’s designs in stone would be a wonderful idea. This probably sounds ghoulish, but my comment to George was “this is just what I would do if you were dead! I would try to find great artwork to re-create.” George’s response was basically, ”why do I have to be dead?!” Which of course is absolutely true. He also responded with, “I’m not sure I can do her work justice.” Which is absolutely untrue.
I quickly sent off an email to the info contact asking if we could indeed work with Mary Engelbreit. Almost immediately, my computer binged with a very happy and friendly email stating yes absolutely, Mary would be so pleased and honored to work with George.
This took me by surprise as George and I had only a brief discussion regarding the idea. The ball was now in the air and conversations began in earnest around the idea of whether or not to take on this project. The difficulty was George felt unsure about re-creating her work as his work is monochromatic and Mary’s is alive with color. George just wasn’t confident it would translate to the level he demands. Part of this uncertainty also had to do with the reality that George can only create so many designs within a year…so time became integral to the discussion.
Meanwhile Mary’s staff diligently followed up with me…repeatedly… more often than I like to admit, even going so far as to arrive at our showroom in the Atlanta AmericasMart. John Mavrakis, integral to Mary’s team, laughed with me & pointedly asked what was the hold up. To make a long story a little shorter, I responded that it was really a matter of convincing George that he should go for it. The awkwardness for me was that I put this ball in the air without having given George the time to thoroughly absorb the idea and get on board. So when George voiced reluctance, I felt that I had put both he and I in a compromised position, a position of embarrassment with Mary Engelbreit. It was truly a catch 22 for me as I had initiated the idea and Mary’s team had responded so very positively. Frankly I felt pretty foolish. The motto, nothing ventured nothing gained comes to mind, but still…………oh my.
Obviously and happily, George came around. He gave it a great deal of thought and I believe he took it on, in part, because he believed in me. Thank you George! The turning point occurred when George received a packet from Mary, pouring over 200 images, & contemplating the best to re-create in stone. We had piles of yes, no & maybe all over our dining room table, finally settling on 5 of our favorites. A Mother’s plaque, a nativity, two iconic Engelbreit images, and a new concept altogether we dubbed the “forever postcard” complete with a pencil for creating the message.
The man sculpted day and night. I kid you not & do not exaggerate ever about his work ethic! He worked and worked and worked. George typically sculpts 10 hours/day well into the night. For this project it was 16…..Welcome to our life!
Photographs of the work were sent back and forth to Mary & a plan was put in place to visit her studio the end of May in order to personally present the designs!
Truly it was a pressure cooker at the studio in order to get the designs made from the original sculpey piece to our cast versions. Short video filling molds for the collection. Then the excitement of the first cast piece and which patina do we like best. While it was intense, it is also what makes it all such fun.
Off we went to St. Louis for our visit with the Mary Engelbreit team and Mary herself. Her studio is just what you would expect..full of color & happiness. It was a delightful meeting of like minded people. I can’t tell you how content we feel with this endeavor and how excited we are to see the response to this collection. Formal introduction of these first 5 pieces will be the end of July…so hold onto your hats!
February 14th, 2012
It is amazing how color can transform an image. Just for fun on Valentine’s Day, I brushed a splash of red paint on two of our smaller plaques. By simply painting a couple of flowers red, the little animal images transition from cute to romantic. That one drop of bright red paint connecting it to Valentine’s Day, has given the tiny sculptures a whole new energy. Before, they were simply cute little creatures with human traits, sort of like dressing up the dog or cat for Halloween. But now, with that tiny splash of color and a Valentine’s Day connection, these furry little creatures take on imaginative personalities with busy little romantic lives.
This reminds me of how children use color instinctively. They’ll draw a house, stick figure family members, pets and trees but always add a big splash of yellow at the top. Painting a big yellow sun up above is their way of telling us the family was happy on that particular day.
October 18th, 2011
George shares his newest piece. He has captured the mood of walking the dogs, and of how what can seem to be a chore can actually be one of the most delightful moments of the day. We often find that walking in the rain, smelling the scent of the rain, the earth and the plants..especially in the night air..is particularly quieting and meditative in many ways. An everyday moment that brings great pleasure.
October 13th, 2011
Regina Wiseman our Final WINNER: When my children were little, they had a play house with a front porch that we would turn into the Witch’s Hut. We had it decorated with all kinds of fun things inside as if witches really lived there and on the outside was a grave yard and… ghosts, etc. My mother, the neighbor lady, and myself would dress up as witches around a cauldron with dry ice and hand out candy and let the kids take a tour. This was done in an afternoon so that it wasn’t too scary. Every year the traffic got more and more. The distance people came was amazing. When we moved away, we left the play house there. My neighbor lady called to tell us that the new owners were having the playhouse blessed to get rid of possible demons.
Halloween is a favorite holiday in our household. George carves out the guts of many pumpkins so the rest of us simply have the pleasure of carving our images. It’s great fun to see them come to life & then just sit back and enjoy the evening.
A bit ago I asked for “Favorite Halloween Stories” promising to share them and give the storyteller of the most favorite story the gift of one of our halloween designs. All of the stories bring a smile and, as is typical of us, we couldn’t choose just one. Instead, three stories have been chosen as favorites. Thank you ALL so much for sharing.
Kathy Farnham wrote: When I was a kid we had a neighbor who rented a huge popcorn popper and they had cider and donuts. He dressed up like a circus clown. We were scared to death but it was worth it to get the fresh pop corn. Soo fun!
Paula Renfro shares this story and has been chosen as a WINNER: For my nephews Halloween theme birthday party I dressed as a scarecrow and was sitting in the front yard before all the kids arrived. They would walk by and barely take notice. Whenever just one was around and had their back to me I would make a noise or touch them real quick like and when they turned around I would be perfectly still again. Some would go get another child and tell them and they’d both come back but they could never catch me talking or moving. Towards the end of the party as a group walked by I stood up real slow and grabbed one of them. It was hard not to laugh when they would get right up in my face to see if I was real or not. I love Halloween
From Paula Miller: So, I had my mom, dad, and older brother who all wanted a cut of my candy. They would each take turns taking me around the neighborhood to get candy. I would first go out with my mom in the costume that I got to pick from the store. Then, I would go out with my dad with my stand-by costume. And, then, I would go out with my brother in my stand-by costume #2. There would be a ton of candy that would cover the living room floor, but I hardly got any of it. All that work and I didn’t even get to reap the rewards. One year, I remember being a My Little Pony, a clown, and a race car driver all in one night! Amazingly, the neighbors never really caught on…or so we all thought. I’m sure we were the laughing stock of the neighborhood. Halloween has to be one of my favorite holidays. We get over 500 kids in our neighborhood. That’s a lot of candy!
Linda Green wrote: There used to be a house way back in the woods in our neighborhood. It was a really creepy path down a dirt road that was not lit by any streetlights. At the end of the road was a family that gave out home made candy apples. We would come home with sticky, red hands and faces with our teeth stuck together from the candy. It was so worth the journey!
From Cheryl Keiter: When my children were small(and still today) I always wore a costume to take them out trick-or-treating One year we were in a small Iowa town and they had the FULL SIZE candy bars. My kids still remember that year.
- Laurie Burnard shares this & we agree: It has to be having no boundaries OR time restrictions…canvassing all the neighborhoods with pillow case in hand. Running back home and emptying the goodies on the living room floor (much to my Father’s delight) and heading back out and doing it all over again!
From Wendy Zgorzelski-Brown: We still do Halloween BIG at my house. It takes a lot of people to help, but all the neighborhood kids love it. We have a grave yard in our front yard, with all the headstones and rickety old fence, and then to get candy (full size candy bars) you have to walk up the driveway, that is enclosed to look like a tunnel, with all the smoke, and in the tunnel are people dressed in costume that you don’t see until you’re right up to them. And then at the end of the tunnel is the coffin with a vampire who opens the lid and scares you!!! We have loud music playing and our friend talking on a microphone and you can hear it throughout the subdivision. There are many little kids who won’t come near our house, so I take candy to them, but its so much fun to see the looks on their faces. Even my 5 year old grand daughter likes to get in the coffin to scare the kids. we love Halloween!!
Janet Ashton shared a WINNER of a story: It was our first Halloween in Waterville. I was taking my daughter Trick-or-Treating in the old historical, and supposedly haunted area, not far from the Columbia House. We were looking in the windows of the Columbia trying to find ghosts but had no luck, so we went back to Trick-or-Treating. As we approached the next house we giggled about how great it would have been to see a ghost. Just then a loud ‘RRRROOOOOAAAARRRRR! and reaching hands came up from two piles of leaves. We screamed and ran away, while the home owners laughed hysterically and told us to come back. After our hearts calmed a bit we finally did go back and I let them know it was the best Halloween scare I had in years!!
Trish Weinstein shares: My favorite memory is of Halloween when I was a youngster and Dad would drive my brothers and sisters and I to my Grandparents house so they could see us in our costumes and then to the Catholic rectory for donuts and cider. Next was a stop to the local diner for ice cream cones before we went home to our small subdivision where we continued the trick or treating until our bags were overflowing with candy! But the best part was the day after when all the neighborhood kids got together to trade candy! And this was back when all our costumes were handmade! Loved it !
Denise Burrs: When I think of Halloween I always think of my sister Shannon dressing like a nun. Not sure if she was a pregnant nun but funny “nun” the less!
- When we were kids, says Paula Stapleton Gossman, we’d get to have a “parade” around the school yard. All the kids got to put our costumes on and walk the sidewalk around the outside of the fenced in play area while parents would come and park on the streets and watch the kids walk by. We would get home from school and take our “trick or treat bags” aka pillowcases, and head out right before it got dark. We would travel as far as our legs could carry us. We would usually not get home til around 9 or so.. That was back when parents didn’t have to worry so much about their kids. We would all sit in a circle on the living room floor and pour our goodies out. I’d trade all my icky black jelly beans and anything gummy to my brother for stuff like candy corn and if you were really lucky you’d get a popcorn ball! Good times!!
- Jerry “Dougherty” Vogel: one Halloween I made popcorn & thought I had plenty to hand out but I ran out & started giving apples. One little fellow came to the door, smelled the popcorn but when I handed him an apple, in a very disappointed voice he said “Oh! appples”.
- Have a wonderful Halloween & enjoy this beautiful Fall weather. Carve those pumpkins, eat lots of pie, & laugh with all of the children. It is delightful to read & share your stories, thank you from George, Deb, and all of us here at Carruth Studio.
September 18th, 2011
I’m probably overdue for a new face plaque. The very first face plaque was the Garden Smile. So far, it has remained the most popular of all the faces. After all, smiles and laughter are contagious.
From our variety of smiling plaques, my favorite is still Too Much Fun. Not only does it make me smile, it has an architecturally historical feeling about it, reminiscent of something carved above the doorway on an old stone building.
Like most old buildings with multiple carvings on the exterior, there is usually one quirky carving hidden among the rest.
Usually these uncharacteristic images are placed around the side or discretely moved up to a higher position. Historically, the carved images on a building were carefully thought out. Cathedrals, government buildings and libraries would all have sculptures that portrayed what might be going on inside. Occasionally the sculptors were given just a little bit of creative freedom on the less important areas. Anyone who has visited the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. has witnessed the creativity of the master sculptors. Some of the gargoyles high on the Cathedral are ”unusual”, like Darth Vader, a stone camera, a young girl with braces on her teeth or the playful likeness of one of the stone carvers whistling and flirting with the young women passing below. You will also find two unflattering portraits of carvers ex-girlfriends.
Even on the most prominent commercial and religious structures, somewhere hidden among the carvings that portray power or spiritual enlightenment, you might find something a little less serious, like Too Much Fun.
(To see the gargoyles sculpted on the National Cathedral seek out Guide to Gargoyles & other grotesques by the Washington National Cathedral Guidebooks.)
August 30th, 2011
I don’t always do little 3D sketches, but this flying Gnome idea grabbed my attention. This is an exercise to explore how little flying Gnomes would look. OK, Gnomes have been around forever, but I wanted to make tiny flying Gnomes that were more part of the insect world. So by giving them insect wings, they can flutter around from flower to flower. This tiny sketch was originally a model for a full size cast stone plaque series, but as it came to life, the idea of turning it into a strong magnet for the fridge or file cabinet developed. So, what do you think? Do you even like the concept of tiny flying Gnomes? Do you picture them as full size cast stone plaques or a little fridge magnets? Maybe both? I’d love your input. Good idea or too much time on my hands. George
August 29th, 2011
Autumn is approaching and as kids are heading back to school, parents all over the country are facing the prospect of school and organization fundraisers. Whether you’re someone whose child has brought home the request for help or someone who has bravely taken on the role of raising money for your group, it can feel overwhelming.
I’m mentioning all of this because I’m not sure you know that Carruth Studio has a fundraising program that can help you raise money easily. Our program provides a fundraiser catalog with 42 different Carruth designs, with pricing starting at just $15.95. Our products are completely weatherproof, have a 100% lifetime guarantee and are made in the USA. They are also gift boxed in beautiful eco-friendly packaging.
What people tell us they love about the program is that they are able to raise a lot of money and the program makes it easy to do. They find that people enjoy having a chance to help support an organization and purchase a beautiful, quality item at the same time. With our fundraising program your organization can enjoy an immediate 40% profit, which can make a huge difference to its bottom line. See what Sandy Spang, of Toledo, Ohio, says about her experiences with the fundraising program in this short video below.
We started this program years ago when a school in Columbus, Ohio approached us with a request for a fundraiser. Their interest was the spark and the first go round with the concept. It seemed to be a natural idea as our designs provide a higher return for the fundraiser and a great product, as opposed to the usual candy and pizzas. We all win, the fundraiser is not only raising funds, but also supporting and contributing to the strength of a company that manufactures and markets original designs that are made in the United States.
Today the program helps groups raise money all over the country and we’re so pleased that people enjoy it and find it so valuable. If you’d like more information about the fundraising program visit our website or call Lynda at 800-225-1178, ext. 22.
And special thanks to Sandy Spang for taking the time out of her busy schedule to talk about her experiences. We really appreciate it!
August 25th, 2011
In July we asked Carruth Studio customers and Facebook and Twitter friends and followers to contact ABC World News with Diane Sawyer and tell them about their experiences with Carruth products. Why? We wanted them to know about Carruth Studio and our American made products.
ABC World News has been running a series, “Made in America”, which focuses on U.S. manufacturing, job and what they mean for the nation’s economy. The series highlights the importance and value of buying American made products. According to ABC World News, more than 11 million Americans get their paychecks from working in factories, and if every American spent an extra $3.33 on U.S.-made goods every year, it would create nearly 10,000 new jobs. (source: Moody’s Economy.com)
As part of the Made in America series, ABC World News created an online interactive map to help their viewers easily find American made products. We were eager to be included on that map since our products and packaging are made in America–and we support buying American made products.
We were so pleased and honored by all of your enthusiastic responses. Thank you for every single one. We were also delighted to hear from ABC World News asking for more detailed information about my work and about Carruth Studio. After reviewing your comments, emails, and pictures, and then communicating with us, they added us to their online interactive map. We’d like to thank them as well.
We’re pleased and proud to be listed there. Thanks again for all of your help!
July 29th, 2011
Over the years Deb and I have enjoyed the photographs and videos you send us showing the ways you use your Carrruth designs. We love seeing your garden decoration ideas and the creative things you do with them in your homes and offices.
Last year we launched a “Beautiful Gardens 2010” contest as a way of sharing these images with all of our customers, Facebook fans, and Twitter followers. We had a tremendous response.
This June we launched the “Beautiful Gardens 2011” contest and invited all of you to email us your images or post your pictures on our Facebook wall. Again, we have had so much fun as each of the pictures has come to us. Thank you all so much for sharing your beautiful gardens with us.
It was really hard to decide between all of the beautiful images but we have finally chosen a winner. Elizabeth Bohland’s picture of her tranquil water garden with William Turtle being serenaded by Turtle Musician won our hearts. You know what we say about William Turtle? He’s not your typical sculpture. He looks you straight in the eye and lets you know what he’s thinking. He looks best displayed near a pond or fountain, as this photo clearly shows. Turtle Musician is truly into his music and is happily playing by the side of the pond. Turtle Musician is a classic design brought back for a limited time…
Elizabeth will enjoy a $150 gift certificate for the Carruth designs of her choice. We hope she enjoys her new Carruth pieces and continues to share her pictures with the rest of us.
Next week, we’ll be asking you to share your stories, photos and videos about your pets. Do you have any? Please share them with us by posting on Facebook, leaving a comment here on the blog or emailing us at info@CarruthStudio.com.
And please continue to share Carruth Studio with your family and friends. We appreciate your help!