Posts Tagged ‘American Artisan’
Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
Deb and I are in Atlanta right now starting the first day of the AmericasMart International Gift & Home Furnishings Market. We exhibit Carruth designs at AmericasMart during their trade shows and then have our showroom open year round here in Atlanta. The Carruth product line is sold by retail vendors across the United States and Canada and we are always eager to meet new vendors and to hear the feedback they offer.
We’ve been working feverishly to move to a new showroom and prepare the displays. It’s exciting because we will be introducing my newest designs as well as the four new colored patinas. Adding the new colors really changes the traditional look of the Carruth line. We’re really interested to see how the gift buyers react to the new designs and to the new colors.
- It’s been a crazy and busy time for us. Introducing new designs always includes a lot of behind the scenes work for our staff at Carruth Studio. They do an excellent job and we’re proud of them.
We’ve made things even more hectic as I’ve worked on the development of the new colored patinas. The process of developing the proprietary new colors has been long and arduous. It has involved many hours of testing colors and combinations of colors on different designs. Each paint shows differently at different stages of the process and it has taken quite a bit of time to find just the right look for each new patina.
- I’ve been wanting to add new colors for some time now. In the past we had to rely on directional lighting to help make the details stand out on each piece. Now, with the new finishes, the sculptures seem to come to life–in any environment. People are amazed to discover all of the tiny details I include in each piece. The new colors include “Aged Stone”, which is not too dissimilar from the traditional wash we have used on my work, but really enhances the look and gives each piece more depth and character.
“Designer White” was developed to fit in with the contemporary high design world. We’ve learned that so many of our customers purchase Carruth designs for use in interior decorating that we wanted to develop something that would contrast well with different wall colors and really stand out in interior settings. “Terra Cotta” and “Green” each add a subtle warmth to the designs and will work well both inside the home and outside in the garden.
- Back home the “Beautiful Gardens 2011” contest is taking place. We’ve asked customers and Facebook fans to share their photos of their beautiful gardens decorated with Carruth sculptures. We’re really pleased with the range of pictures coming in. Every day we receive email and Facebook posts with pictures from gardens all over the country.
Each gardener has a different approach to decorating their gardens and we all enjoy seeing Carruth sculptures in different settings. Today someone posted a photo of their water garden with some of the sculpture appearing to float above the water (using a garden stake to insert the piece in the water garden itself). If you haven’t thought about using garden stakes to mount your sculptures, that picture will give you some ideas.
We hope you’re enjoying your summer and finding plenty of time to rest and relax as the days unfold. Deb and I are about to greet our first customers of the day right now, so I’ll sign off and get to work meeting and greeting the visitors to the show. Wish us well…we can’t wait to hear the feedback.
By the way, the prize for the “Beautiful Gardens 2011” contest is a $150 gift certificate for Carruth products. We’ll be choosing a winner on July 22nd so you don’t have too much time left. Post your photos directly on our Facebook wall or email them to us at info@CarruthStudio.com. We look forward to seeing what you’ve done with your garden!
Friday, May 27th, 2011
With Memorial Day only days away I thought I would share the story and images of the Tommy Tucker Veterans Memorial.
Our daughter Libby Krock worked as assistant sculptor to the artist, Rip Caswell, in the creation of the Tommy Tucker Veterans Memorial. The piece was sculpted in clay and cast in bronze. As Libby tells it, the inspiration for the piece was U.S. Army Pfc. Thomas “Tommy” Tucker, from Madras, Oregon.
Tucker was one of two U.S. soldiers who disappeared after an attack on a traffic control checkpoint just south of Baghdad on June 16th, 2006, launching a massive three-day search effort, and galvanizing citizens of the United States.
As described by the sculptor, Rip Caswell, The emotion-packed figure represents a U.S. soldier, reaching upward to aid an Iraqi girl – who is both fearful and hopeful at once, as she sits perched on the edge of a shelled building ledge.
The life-size bronze of this magnificent piece is installed at Friendship Park in Madras, Oregon.
On Memorial day I will pause to think of the many who have died or been injured in service for our country and of the artists whose work helps us remember them.
If you like this post, please share it with your friends and family and ask them to like and share it too.
Thursday, May 12th, 2011
One of the things that inspires our work at Carruth Studio is the feedback you provide; the stories, the pictures and the suggestions we get from all of you. Last year, a little girl’s comment about the moon inspired me to sculpt “A Child’s View of the Moon”, which has become one of my favorite pieces.
Earlier in the month I asked you to post your stories about Mother’s Day on our Facebook page and we enjoyed reading each of them. I have shared a few of those stories below. We were so moved by Wendy Weldon’s story about holding her daughter on Mother’s Day, that we have chosen her as the recipient of a $30 gift certificate for a Carruth piece.
I’m always looking for sources of inspiration for new pieces and am particularly interested in finding new verses that resonate with you. I’m also interested in the way young children, like Megan, who provided the inspiration for the moon piece, describe the world around them. Especially their views of the natural world and family members.
Do you have any verses you’d like us to consider using? Any things your children have said that you think we would find inspiring? Post them here or on our Facebook wall and we will review them and may even decide to use them in the future.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to share your Mother’s Days story. We enjoyed your contributions.
Your Thoughts on Mother’s Day:
Here is my Mother’s Day story. On April 27, 1990 I went into early labor with our daughter. She was not only 5 weeks premature, but she was also born with Spina Bifida. We had no idea what Spina Bifida was until the doctor explained she had an opening at the bottom of her spine which was allowing her spinal cord to be exposed. They took her away for care immediately after she was born. Meanwhile the pediatrician was trying to locate a Neurosurgeon in Toledo as she had to have a surgery to close her back. He later told me the nearest one was at Children’s Hospital in Columbus.
When the ambulance came to get her in the middle of the night, that’s when I got to hold her for the first time for about 5 minutes. Then she was swept away to have surgery the next day all by herself. Three days later I finally was released from the hospital and traveled to Columbus. A few days later I was told she would need another surgery for a shunt because she had hydrocephelous or water on the brain. She made it through that ok and she was finally released from the hospital on……Mother’s Day. The day I finally got to bond with and hold my baby girl in my arms at home. I always cherish that day! Wendy Weldon
Okay, here’s one on how we surprised my Mom on Mother’s Day last year. My folks live halfway across the country from us, so we planned a little surprise. On the day before Mother’s Day, we called her from my cell, told her we had plans on Sunday so were calling a day early. All the while we’re parked in her driveway, and were trying to sneak past her kitchen window without her seeing us. We rang the doorbell, and I said, “I heard your doorbell ring, go ahead and answer, we can wait.” So she opens the door and there’s my husband with a big bouquet in front of his face like a delivery guy. Then he lowers it and I pop around the corner, and I think it was the first time in my life I saw my Mom speechless. She’d had a hard past couple of years with health issues and other things, and we just wanted to give her something to put all that aside. It worked! Carolyn Dreiling Hammerschmidt
What I have become, what my daughter has become, and what her daughters are becoming, has come down from one mother to another throughout time. I’m thankful that I came from a long line of strong , loving women. Paula Schrickel Renfro
I lost my mother to Cancer after a long, hard fought battle. She showed me what a True Hero is with her grace and love of life. Mothers day has been a particularly hard holiday for me since her passing. My heart aches to feel her comforting arms around me but I thank God for blessing me with a mother so loving and kind. Don’t ever miss an opportunity to hug your momma! Paula Stapleton Gossman
As my mom progresses in age I become a mom to her. So glad she taught me well. Do blessed to have a Godly example. Becky McIlroy Brown
One of the Carruth pieces I bought for my Mom was Hope. It is such a beautiful angel piece and makes a nice piece for Mom’s or anyone to have. My Mom was the one that told me about the Roots of a Family Tree piece (the older version one) when it came out and went with me to buy it The new design of it is beautiful as well. Deb Cameron
Mothers Day makes me think of my Momma. She passed away in 2008 and not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. She had Alzheimers and it was so hard to see what that terrible disease did to her. I am a Busia now, as she was to my kids and I feel she lives on through me and my children as well as her beautiful great granddaughter Emma. Mary Smigielski Toth
My mom was my best friend. I would tell her everything. She and I would laugh until we couldn’t breathe. She never said a bad word about anybody or gossiped. She read her Bible every night and helped me have a great faith in God. She was a wonderful mom. Ann Teatsorth Broughton
I don’t have a great story, but I do have many great memories and pictures from lots of mothers days gone by…and I appreciate so much that I am able to hold on to those we’ve lost with those memories and pictures! Emily Stover Barnes
Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
Mother’s Day is in the wind. The day when families everywhere take their mothers to brunch to remind them of how special they are, offering gifts of baby handprints and homemade cards from school where the alphabet has been practiced and sweet little drawings of the family appear made in crayola by little hands.
In our case Mother’s Day spans three generations honoring both the living and the dead. It is a time to honor Deb’s Mom, who at 89 continues to embrace life with vigor and joy, and a time to honor George’s Mom who is no longer with us but whom we adore and miss dearly. Deb who mothered three beautiful children and our daughter Libby who is a magnificent mother to our beautiful grandson.
We wish you all a wonderful Mother’s Day everyday!
I put together this short video showcasing a few of the designs I think make special Mother’s day gifts.
Finally, we take so much pleasure in hearing your stories about how you enjoy and celebrate the special days and holidays so we are again launching a Mother’s day contest on Facebook. Post your thoughts, stories, images and videos related to Mother’s Day and we will pick on person at random to receive a free Carruth design as a Mother’s Day gift.
Questions? post them here or on Facebook or send them to us in an email. We appreciate your input and value your support.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Thursday, December 30th, 2010
Some of the new directions for 2010 included the History of Motorcycles # 1183 and A Child’s View of the Moon # 1186.
On the motorcycle piece I tried to capture the raw thrill of motorcycles by creating a dust cloud and executing a looser ”sketchy” surface technique. By adding more texture and not defining every detail, the essence of the scene feels stronger.
On the moon plaque, the sculpting technique is similar. But the wonderful verse, ” The Moon is so full he must have eaten all the stars”, is the trigger for our imaginations. The quote came from a 4 year old girl named Megan. I really can’t express how much I enjoyed sculpting Megan’s observation of the moon. Since many Carruth sculptures already have a children’s book feeling, the quote from Megan made the sculpture complete. In 2011, I hope to receive a few more observations of nature in the form of children’s quotes.
Over the holidays I’ve been working on a sculpture that is influenced by how much people love and look forward to their morning coffee. Again, the sculpting technique is a little looser, but the scene is full of delightful details. Naturally, I’ve included some family pets in the composition. Anyway, the characters are coming along nicely and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds. Because so many people display their sculptures indoors, I’m more comfortable choosing topics that are not garden related. Plus, people who post comments and photographs on our Facebook page, allow me to better understand how the sculptures are displayed.
2010 was full of new experiences and subject matter. It seems fitting to mark this passage with The Birthday Fairy, a new design we introduced only weeks ago. Because of the internet connection to our customers, 2011 should be just as exciting.
So, thank you for another good year! Everyone at Carruth Studio will be busily creating and shipping original new designs that serve as fun and meaningful gifts.
Tags: A child's view of the moon, American Artisan, American crafts, American made, artist signing, Carruth Studio, George Carruth, gifts, hand cast stone, History of motorcycles, sculpture, The Birthday Fairy
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Thursday, December 23rd, 2010
As Christmas and the end of the year approach I find myself thinking about both. One aspect of the holidays I particularly enjoy is rediscovering decorations that have been packed away all year. Specifically the hand made ornaments and drawings our children have gifted us over the years. I love sitting and reminiscing, while surrounded by hand made decorations that say ” to Mom and Dad”.
And somehow, another year has come and gone at our little company. Everyone at Carruth Studio (all 19 of us) has worked extra hard and feels especially grateful to do what we do. We appreciate the conversations with people that have used our sculptures as fun or meaningful gifts. Whether they are used as a ”Thank You” or “Thinking of You” gift, it feels good to know that our images are used for more than just decorative accents. Certainly we have fun making light hearted sculptures that make people smile, but it’s the meaningful gifts and stories that stick in our memories.
From dogs and cats in cars to angel sculptures–it has been a wonderful year. Who knows what sculpted images will emerge from the studio in 2011? Facebook has allowed me to listen to stories and see photographs from around the country. In the past, I quietly strolled our Garden Smiles gallery, listening to people discover and talk about how they intended to use the sculptures. But now I can go to my computer, while still at my desk, and enjoy the same experience. The wonderful quote from 4 year old Megan, about the moon eating all of the stars, is a perfect example of this.
Another satisfying project this year was the 1000 lb limestone sculpture of St. Clare of Assisi now placed in a memorial garden near Cleveland. Although I don’t carve stone as often as the early years, it felt great to use a hammer and chisels again.
So thank you for taking an interest in Carruth Studio. We truly do appreciate the support of our valued customers. To everyone we’ve come in contact with over the years, have a wonderful Holiday and Happy New Year!
George, Deb and everyone at Carruth Studio
Tags: American Artisan, American crafts, American made, art, artist, Carruth Studio, Christmas, Facebook page, Garden Smiles, George Carruth, gifts, Grateful, hand cast stone, Moon, New Year, Saint Clare of Assisi, Sculptor George Carruth
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Monday, December 13th, 2010
Stories, stories. People love to tell me the story of why they are purchasing a particular sculpture as I sign the back. You may have seen the image, sent to our Facebook page, of my leaf face sculpture that looked remarkably like someone’s father. I’ve heard quite a few ” look alike ” stories over the years.
I commented about how opposite the two sculptures were, and asked where she intended to display them. She then leaned across the counter and said almost in a whisper, as if she was telling an important secret. ” The happy face I’ll hang on the east side of my house. The neighbor on that side is a dear and I just love her to death.”
“The grumpy face will go on the opposite side of the house, facing my other neighbor,” as she rolled her eyes.” That neighbor, well, you get the picture, I just can’t stand her.” With serious eye contact and subtle nod, she made it clear that this was our little secret. She then shuffled out of the shop with a package under each arm, ready to implement her diabolical statement.
Since I can’t meet everyone and hear your stories, please send us any amusing tales of receiving, giving or displaying Carruth sculptures. Oh yeah, if anyone asks about a Garden Grouch displayed on the west side of some sweet little elderly lady’s home…I’ll deny any knowledge or memory of sculpting such despicable image.
As always, if you like this post, please share it with friends and family. We appreciate your support. And, please join us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about Carruth Studio news and special events.
Tuesday, December 7th, 2010
People always ask me where I find inspiration for my work. Well, I’ve always been daydreaming when I should be paying attention. As a result, I’m constantly aware of my surroundings: Sounds, textures, people. So when it comes time to sketch out an idea, I have huge amounts of unrelated images floating around in my imagination. Usually I’m drawn to a texture or shape that seems interesting. Sometimes it’s a scene or emotion. Anyway, something always bubbles to the surface and I’m never sure what it might be.
Several months ago I read a young child’s description of the moon. According to four-year-old Megan Vollmar, “the moon is so full it must have eaten all the stars.” Megan’s comment and her perspective sparked my imagination. I was entranced with her view of the moon.
Last weekend we hosted an artist signing at Garden Smiles, our gallery and retail shop in Waterville, Ohio. Megan and her family came to Garden Smiles and I had a chance to meet her and to sign a piece especially for her. We both enjoyed that. Megan’s mom has since emailed to say that she is also signing her moon and has offered to sign others.
I’ll be talking about my work with Cynthia and Jack Ford on “Coffee with the Fords” this Sunday. The show airs at 12:30 PM on WTVG.
We’ll be hosting one more artist signing at Garden Smiles this Sunday, December 12th from 12 Noon – 5PM if you are within driving distance of Waterville, Ohio. If you aren’t able to join us, you can still find a limited number of signed pieces on our Carruth Studio website.
And now for one more piece of shameless promotion: if you enjoyed this post, please “like” it and share it with your friends and family. We can use all the help we can get to spread the word about this blog and about Carruth Studio. Thanks!
Tags: American Artisan, American made, art, artist signing, Carruth Studio, children, Christmas, Coffee with the Fords, Cynthia Ford, Garden Smiles, George Carruth, gifts, hand cast stone, holidays, Jack Ford, Moon, sculpture, Waterville Ohio, WTVG
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Saturday, November 20th, 2010
Bringing art to the marketplace has its challenges. Among them is helping people understand the work that goes into the creation of a piece of art. In previous posts I talked about my stone carving commission because I thought people might be find the steps that go into carving a stone sculpture interesting.
I start with a clear image of the finished piece. It may change as I work on it but I always have an idea to begin with. I begin kneading a ball of the acrylic clay called “sculpey”.
I slowly rough out the image in the “sculpey” using dental tools and some of the homemade wooden tools I have crafted over the years. Magnified eye glasses are another valuable tool.
After a week of two of refining details and smoothing the surfaces, the image is baked with a heat gun.
We create a mold for the piece by covering the original art with rubber. The original design is usually damaged or destroyed during the removal.
While being vibrated, the rubber mold is gently filled by hand with a custom mix of cement. stone and colored dye. We embed a wire hook in the back.
After about 24 hours we pull the cured but fragile casting out of the rubber mold. The scrap rate is 20-30%.
We work on the rough edges and spill-over on the back by hand by filing or sanding. Then we re-inspect the piece.
We apply a custom paint or stain by hand in a three step process. This helps to highlight the details and the texture of the piece.
The finished piece. “Celestial Attraction“.
After a final inspection, each piece is gift boxed, using recycled biodegradable packaging materials. The piece is now ready for adoption.
A few times each year I choose a handful of pieces to sign since we have many people who collect my designs. They feel that having a piece signed by the artist adds special value. These signed pieces are available on our website in very limited quantities. We also host special artist signings at our gallery and gift shop, Garden Smiles. Both Deb and I truly enjoy these events and hearing the stories about how people are using my designs. We have three artist signings scheduled for the holiday season: Saturday, November 27th 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, Saturday, December 4th 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday, December 12th Noon – 5:00 pm. Visit our site for directions or, for more information, call 419.878.5412.
Hopefully this helps you understand the process behind the Carruth Studio collections. It is easy to assume that the pieces are churned out mindlessly in vast quantity but the reality is that each piece is thoughtfully crafted by hand here in the United States. One last thought: we often have pieces that are slightly damaged or imperfect and we offer these “seconds” in our slightly blemished area fondly dubbed “The Pursuit of Imperfection”. Only Garden Smiles carries these slightly blemished items and, as a result, customers come from great distances to take advantage of our minor mistakes. If you like this post, please share it with your friends and family. We can use all the help we get to get the word out about this blog and my work. Thanks!
Tags: American Artisan, American made, art, artist, artist signing, Carruth Studio, collection, collectors, completion, concept, Garden Smiles, George Carruth, gift, hand cast stone, processes, sculptor, sculpture
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