Posts Tagged ‘Garden Smiles’
Friday, April 8th, 2011
We’ve been working hard to develop a new patina for my designs. We will be introducing the new look at my Spring artist signing on April 16. I think the new patina highlights the details in each of my pieces. In the past directional lighting was crucial for detail to “pop”, but with this new finish the sculpture comes to life in any environment. We posted some images of the new patina on our Facebook wall and received an amazing number of positive comments. People that have enjoyed the content of my plaques are now blown away as they discover all of the subtle details I include. I’m pleased with the dimension the new patina adds to my designs.
If you look at my sculptures, they almost have a children’s book quality. Every piece has a little story going on. Look closely for added details. Insects, tiny flowers, tiny objects and most of all, eye contact and body language. With all of these subtle images, most people are drawn into the scene by something THEY can relate to. I’m not choosing an audience. I’m piecing together images that tell a story. Sort of a snapshot, or starting point. Now it is up to the audience to dig into their memory bank and imagine what the rest of the story might be.
What do I hope to communicate? My goal is to share stories and images that make me smile. As I said earlier, my sculptures have a storybook quality to them. The viewer can observe all of the subtle clues sculpted into a scene, and feel as though they can relate to what is happening. It reminds them of something they might have seen or experienced. I’m sure you noticed that animals, nature and folklore are the themes that turn up in most of my sculptures. I guess I’m still a small child at heart…in awe of nature.
I’d love to invite you to join us for the artist signing. The event will be held at Garden Smiles, in Waterville, from 10:00 AM-5:00 PM on April 16. Call 419-878-5412 or click here for more information or to get directions to Garden Smiles. Hope to see you there!
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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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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Monday, August 23rd, 2010
In June we launched a contest on the Carruth Studio Facebook fan page. The idea was to encourage our fans to post images of their gardens and how they used Carruth sculptures as accents or decorative elements. The “Beautiful Gardens 2010” contest has been popular and we have all enjoyed viewing each picture; admiring the flowers and plants and the creativity displayed in the use of my work.
We truly appreciate the feedback we receive from our customers and Facebook friends and fans. It has always been rewarding to see how people use my sculptures as gifts, expressions of sympathy, decorative elements–both inside and out–and as architectural installations. Our little contest produced some beautiful imagery. Thank you to everyone who participated. We’ll be doing another contest in the next few months and will ask you to submit images showing us all how you use your Carruth sculptures to decorate your rooms and offices.
The winner of our “Beautiful Gardens 2010 Contest is Carole Tannehill, whose creative use of the color blue around each of the plaques mounted on her garage was both impressive and visually pleasing. As the first place winner of our contest, Carol will receive a gift certificate for $200 worth of Carruth products. We look forward to seeing what she will do next!
My wife Deb was so impressed with some of the other entrants that she created additional awards and recognition for them. The second place winner of the “Beautiful Gardens 2010” contest is Pam Anderson for her beautiful photos of “Kindness Makes Friendship Blossom” and the “Hope Angel”. As the second place winner, Pam will receive a $50 gift certificate for Carruth products.
The third place winner is Chris Shannon for the artistic shot of “Ornithologist”: surrounded by grape vines. Chris will receive a gift certificate for $25 wort of Carruth products. And finally, we awarded an Honorable Mention to Nicole Heban for her Dad’s unforgettable photo of a chipmunk perched on the head of “Fairy of Lost Things”.
You can view all of the contest images on our fan page or on our Flickr channel. Tell us, which one was your favorite? Please share this post with your friends, and “like” it if you are active on Facebook!
Tags: "Beautiful Gardens 2010" contest, $200 gift certificate, artist, arts, Carruth Studio, client closing gifts for realtors, contest winners, garden art, Garden Smiles, George Carruth, George Carruth's blog, GeorgeCarruth.com, prizes
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Sunday, July 25th, 2010
Thanks for coming back to check on our progress and welcome to those of you who are visiting the blog for the first time. I have been documenting the process of a new stone carving commission I’m working on. The process calls for a combination of creativity and intense concentration, not mention long hours of hard work, but I love it.
You may know of me from my sculpting work, which my wife, Deb Carruth, and I market through our little studio in Waterville, Ohio. Carruth Studio is our online store and we have a gallery and retail store called Garden Smiles, also located in Waterville, Ohio. Garden Smiles is Deb’s inspiration and great delight and she takes pride in featuring my work there as well as that of other artists from all over the United States. You can also find my hand cast stone sculptures in garden shops, gifts shops and floral shops throughout the country.
Back to stone carving though. Now that all the elements are roughed out and in their proper places, at their proper depths, I start refining with home made hand chisels. The chisels are made from masonry nails that I heat, hammer, file teeth into and re-temper. The steel shaft is then inserted into a small home made wooden handle. The handles are reusable and the chisels only take 15 to 20 minutes from start to finish. The trick is getting the right angle, tooth spacing and bevel on the tip so that it cuts accurately with the control required. Otherwise, it shatters and crumbles the stone instead of cutting smoothly. By making my own tools, I always have exactly the correct shape for difficult areas.
Now for the imagery. Saint Clare was a follower of St. Francis of Assisi and had similar qualities relating to nature and the environment. The moment in time depicted in this scene portrays Saint Clare protecting the town of Assisi. An invading army had made it’s way to the city gates and was ready to capture the city. Legend has it that she appeared in the cloister door, just to the left of the round window of the basilica. Holding a monstrance in her right hand, she faced down the enemy from high in the basilica. The enemy withdrew and the town was spared.
Other elements include two birds in the upper border, a rabbit and the bright shining sun to depict her close relationship with nature. All of this was refined with small home made hand chisels. Tedious but rewarding. My typical carving day starts at 8:30 in the morning until 9:30 or 10:00 at night.
Once the imagery is complete, I will rough up the other surfaces of the stone to give it an old, hand carved appearance. The base will match as well. With time and weathering, this texture should pick up a natural patina that enhances the detail. In a year or two, this stone should have enough patina to give it that old medieval appearance I’m after.
In a few days, you can see this stone completed and mounted on it’s base. It will then be strapped to a pallet and delivered to the memorial garden in Parma Ohio.
Tags: American crafts, art, art commission, artists, Carruth Studio, Deb Carruth, garden art, Garden Smiles, George Carruth, memorial garden, Saint Clare of Assisi, sculptor, sculpture, stone carving, stone carving tools
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Tuesday, July 13th, 2010
I’m working on a stone carving of Saint Clare of Assisi for a memorial garden. We have been documenting the project in order to share it with you since many of you are unfamiliar with stone carving. I started as a stone carver but now spend most of my time sculpting whimsical designs for the garden art we sell through Carruth Studio and our retail gallery, Garden Smiles.
It’s great to be carving again.
A word about the tools I use during the carving process. I use a variety of tools including electric saws, pneumatic drills and hammers and many different types of hand tools. I tend to manufacture some of my hand tools because I have specific requirements for them.
After the stone has been prepared for carving, the next step is to develop a rough sketch of the carving. I use the sketch to think through which elements of the design must be carved first. As I carve back different things have to be carved out at different levels. For example the first thing that may need to be carved is the nose or the hand, which in this piece is stretched far away from the body. The sketch helps me clarify the spatial relationship of each element in the design and where it comes into play. After I have finalized the sketch I transfer it onto the stone.
At this point I begin to slowly take away the surface using pneumatic and hand tools. This step is usually a little unsettling because I’m trying to get a handle on how deep to carve. I know it all looks very shallow, but if too much is removed in an area, it totally affects the relationship of how everything else relates in space. Once the stone is removed, there is no magic tool that puts it back. The only option is to make everything deeper into the stone.
This might not sound like a big deal, but depending on how far along the carving has progressed, it all has to be re-sculpted at a deeper depth, face, hands and everything else.
The scene is of Saint Clare holding a monstrance in her right hand with her basilica in the background. As the carving unfolds, I’ll describe exactly what all of the images mean. Remember, this will have a rough medieval appearance. But until then, I’m just trying to put all of the elements in position at the correct depth. Saint Clare’s nose will be a little smaller when completed, but for now, a little extra stone is left on in case I accidentally bump it with a chisel while working on an adjacent area.
That’s all for today, but if you enjoyed this, check back in a few days to see how we are progressing. And again, if you liked this post please share it with your friends and networks. If you’d like to learn more about our company, visit our website or join us on Facebook and Twitter.
Tags: arts, Carruth Studio, carving, chisel, garden, garden art, Garden Smiles, George Carruth, hand tools, memorial, memorial gardens, plastic arts, saint, saint clare, saints, Sculptor George Carruth, sculpture, stone carver, stone carving, stones, the process, visual arts
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Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
But in a few short years he took his love for animals, insects, flowers and the beauty of nature and transformed it into a thriving multi-million dollar company. Many of his themes come from medieval carvings and folk art, all gentle and light-hearted forms that blend innocence with serenity.
He left behind the security of a job in corporate America and, along with his wife, Deb, took a leap of faith and started carving stone, first in Cleveland and then in
his driveway in Waterville, Ohio.
George Carruth: An American Sculptor, a WBGU-PBS documentary, tells the story of how he and his wife created Carruth Studio, and how this shy, soft-spoken man from Ohio has become one of the nation’s premiere sculptors.
Carruth designs are featured in dozens of art galleries and catalogs and sold in hundreds of gift shops nationwide. His stone sculptures decorate homes and gardens across the country; one is even displayed in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.”
Watch the video here:
Tags: American crafts, art, artist, Carruth Studio, client closing gifts for realtors, fundraising programs, garden art, Garden Smiles, George Carruth, installations, Marlene Harris-Taylor, nature, pet memorials, sculptor, sculpture, stone, stone carving, sympathy gifts, table decorations for weddings, WBGU-PBS, wedding decorations, wedding gifts, YouTube video
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Monday, June 21st, 2010
“Plant a Smile in Your Garden” has been our desire from the beginning.
It all started when I carved a cherub face into a rough piece of sandstone using only screwdrivers. It was a gift to my wife Deborah who immediately placed it in the flower bed and saw the potential of hand carved stones as garden accents.
A year or so later, Deb was promoting our new little business and I was sculpting stone full time. We began by participating in art festivals and selling to galleries. Commissions included The National Cathedral in Washington D.C., an ornament for the White House Christmas tree , Home and Garden Television, Botanical Gardens and even a few gravestones.
In those early days, a typical schedule went like this: I would carve stone Monday through Thursday, then load the van on Friday. I’d set up at an art show early Saturday and sleep in a tent or the van. I would sit at the show all day Sunday. I made one call each day from a phone booth to inform Deb if anything had sold. Then I’d chat with the kids. I’d arrive home after midnight Sunday and start all over again Monday morning. I did 32 art shows the first year and a day at the quarry once a month looking for interesting stones that I could lift into the van.
Later we began casting smaller images that were sold in craft shops and appeared in a variety of mail order catalogs. Attention to detail and unique imagery landed them on the coveted covers of at least 13 catalogs. Our classic and lighthearted designs are now some of the most collected sculptures in America. Its truly a privilege to make art that touches so many lives for such a variety of reasons.
Currently I sculpt images that fascinate or challenge me. These original carvings are sought out by collectors, sent as gifts for weddings, holidays, bereavement, birthdays or any event that needs a little character and whimsy. Although many of these sculptures are displayed in sun rooms, kitchens and indoor areas, they are designed to give many years of pleasure when displayed outdoors in the garden.
I guess it’s appropriate the ”Garden Smile” plaque has become our signature piece and captures the essence of that very first cherub face I carved into rough stone, simply as an unusual gift for Deborah.
Found these old photos from the mid 80′s. The early days when Carruth Studio was out of our house and Deb and I were the only employees…
Tags: American crafts, art, artist, Carruth Studio, carving, client closing gifts for realtors, fundraising programs, garden art, Garden Smiles, George Carruth, installations, nature, pet memorials, sculptor, sculpture, stone, sympathy gifts, table decorations for weddings, wedding decorations, wedding gifts
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