Posts Tagged ‘sculptor’
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
Posted in George's Blog | 5 Comments »
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, 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
Posted in George's Blog | 3 Comments »
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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