Inspired by Nature

inspired-thInspired by Nature

Ceil Petrucelli

Many contemporary sculptors are often inspired by nature and natural forms, the elements of fire, wind, and water, and the relationship and synergy that these various elements have with each other and with us, the viewer.

Inspired by Nature

Ceil Petrucelli

ComelightvisitmeKPondSculptors through the ages have been making three-dimensional forms by chiseling stone, carving wood, modeling clay, casting metal, and constructing a variety of both representational and realistic forms by combining various mediums to create a finished piece. Many contemporary sculptors are often inspired by nature and natural forms, the elements of fire, wind, and water, and the relationship and synergy that these various elements have with each other and with us, the viewer.

Kate Pond, well-known Vermont sculptor, says that her inspiration comes from curves she sees in nature: fiddlehead ferns, tendrils and vines, birds in flight, grasses moving in the wind, waves and ripples on water. “My sculpture invites participation—with people, with the sun, with the shadows and alignments at different seasons of the year.” Many of her sculptures document time, while others mark the various seasons, casting shadows or light at the equinoxes and at summer and winter solstice.

TellingStones2007New-ZealandKate transfers these “curves of inspiration” into calligraphic strokes, first with ink and a brush. Later, she cuts the “strokes” out of steel, bending them into shape with an oxy-acetylene torch. These small-scale works are the maquettes, or preliminary models, from which the larger, final steel sculptures are made. Many of her works are private commissions, and she often gets inspiration from the actual site where the finished piece will reside.

Her material of choice is Corten steel. It rusts to a deep dark patina and light creates subtle changes over the surface, which she finishes with her signature swirls that reflect light in many directions. Kate also uses concrete and stone boulders in some of her pieces, especially her sundials.

Her most recent work, Come Light, Visit Me, was installed and dedicated at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont on August 13, 2010. She is currently working on a piece, l’Esprit Guardien, originally a private commission but now for sale. More information about Kate Pond can be found on her website katepond.com.

NUTTFishWilliam Nutt works from his studio in White River Junction, Vermont. His route to full time stone sculpture has been a bit circuitous by his own admission. He has a degree in geology from Dartmouth College and competed nationally and internationally in kayaking and at one time was a top U.S National Champion, Number one ranked U.S. paddler, and a U.S. National Team Member.

Asked about the transition from engineering to fine arts, Nutt explained that he doesn’t find much difference between art, science and engineering. “Like great works of art, the theory and results of engineering and scientific discovery can contain incredible beauty, elegance, artistry and meaning. I often marvel at how these traits show up in mathematical equations, theory, numerical models, computer programs, and in all kinds of engineered devices. Think about it, an artist’s creations are in response to an inherent appreciation of aesthetics and beauty that pervades life.”

Although most of Bill’s work is representational, the degree of realism varies with each piece. Typical subjects for his stonework include a rhino, a walrus, shells, algae, birds, polar bears, snakes, and birds. He is currently working on a piece that features a raven feeding on a snake. It is life sized and being carved from Lake Champlain Black Marble (also known as Radio City Black Marble as it was used extensively in the construction of Radio City Music Hall in NYC).

The time it takes to complete a piece of sculpture will vary depending on the size, the shape, the complexity of the design, and the material. A small piece may take only a week or two. A larger, more complex piece could take months or even years. He says, “I only work on one piece at a time because it’s easier to focus and concentrate.”

Bill Nutt is president of the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in Rutland, Vermont. More information about Bill Nutt and his work can be found at wnuttsculptor.com.

AndyMoerlain_joyce_Dann_image_Andy is another area sculptor who is often inspired by nature. A New Hampshire-based artist, Andy will be exhibiting at the 2010 Sculpture Fest in Woodstock, Vermont (September through October). In addition to sculpting, Andy has been a teacher and gallery director. His work has been exhibited nationally in museums, sculpture gardens, and galleries from Alaska to New York.

Andy spent most of his childhood in the Alaskan outdoors and has a personal familiarity with rural life. Daily work and physical activities inform all of his creative challenges. He says that he loves to observe and respond to the way the world is constructed. “The equilibrium we see as our everyday world is the result of a beautiful and dynamic balance. The interface between roots and stone, frigid snow and warm earth is always a confrontation. My role as an artist is to present my own personal understanding and interpretation of this natural conflict.”

The piece that he is exhibiting at Sculpture Fest is called Upwelling. It is constructed of saplings painted silver, with several hand made boulders suspended within the framework of the saplings. The theme for Sculpture Fest 2010 is “Water” and this piece is a personal expression that represents not only the upwelling of emotion, but also the natural phenomenon of cold water coming to the surface and displacing the warmer water. It also expresses the struggle to find balance, shown by the saplings supporting the heavy boulders.

A graduate of Dartmouth College with an MFA from Cornell University, Andy has an extensive resume of public art works. His work has also been featured at the Johnson Museum, Ithaca, N.Y., the Hood Museum, Hanover, N.H., the Currier Museum, Concord, N.H., and the Everson Museum in Syracuse, N.Y. For more information, visit andymoerlein.blogspot.com.

Whether sculpted from steel, stone, or saplings these sculptures are all unique and beautifully designed and executed by their makers, using natural materials from the earth and inspired by the beauty, harmony, balance, and rhythm found in Nature.

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