BUT­TERED UP

Cou­ple’s White House sculp­ture would melt in the mouth

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - DAILY LOCAL NEWS - By Gary Puleo gpuleo@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mus­tangMan48 on Twit­ter

CONSHOHOCKEN » But­ter can make any­thing — even pol­i­tics — palat­able, right?

Although the 400 pounds of but­ter that the hus­band and wife sculpt­ing team of Jim Vic­tor and Marie Pel­ton used to carve a stun­ning replica of the White House has sac­ri­ficed its ed­i­ble ap­peal for the sake of art, the pair gets to keep any left­over un­used goods sup­plied by Pres­i­dent But­ter.

The mak­ers of French ar­ti­san but­ter and cheeses had com­mis­sioned the cou­ple fa­mous for their but­ter sculp­tures for state and county fairs and other events to sculpt a White House for their so­cial me­dia cam­paign “A Taste­ful Elec­tion.”

“They had done a few sculp­tures for us in the past, like the Eifel Tower, in but­ter and cheese,” ex­plained Ar­den Kroetsch, Pres­i­dent But­ter’s mar­ket­ing man­ager. “Our goal was to wel­come the new pres­i­dent to the White House. It’s timely, and with the name of the prod­uct it was a per­fect fit.”

In a re­frig­er­ated trailer at their Conshohocken home, Vic­tor and Pel­ton, both grad­u­ates of the Sculp­ture Depart­ment of the Penn­syl­va­nia Acad­emy of the Fine Arts, were hard at work on Fri­day morn­ing, well into day four of their non­par­ti­san ho­mage to the of­fi­cial res­i­dence and work­place of the Pres­i­dent of the United States.

With the bones of the build­ing solidly in place, their at­ten­tion turned to the colon­nades and in­tri­cate ar­chi­tec­tural facets.

“We don’t al­ways nec­es­sar­ily work to­gether,” said Vic­tor, whose solo work in­cludes choco­late por­traits of Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller as a pro­mo­tion for their Broad­way play

play “Su­gar Ba­bies,” and his first of many but­ter sculp­tures for the Penn­syl­va­nia Farm Show in 1995.

How­ever, the mak­ing of 1600 Penn­syl­va­nia Ave. was al­ways re­garded as a two-per­son en­deavor, kind of like a you-take-the-East-Wing-and-I’ll­take-the-West-Wing type of thing.

“This is def­i­nitely a good job for both of us be­cause it’s so big and she can work on one side, I can work on the other. It’s just a lot of de­tail,” Vic­tor al­lowed.

The Pres­i­dent But­ter White House is not the cou­ple’s first round of govern­ment-style con­struc­tion.

“We did the Capi­tol build­ing for Cabot Cheese,” Vic­tor said.

Among the nondairy en­ter­prises was a Mount Rush­more made out of Werther’s caramel.

“For Na­tional Caramel Day, one of those ob­scure hol­i­days,” Pel­ton added, laugh­ing.

Typ­i­cally, none of the sculp­tures are ever con­sumed, she ex­plained.

“We’re not chefs. Chefs do get into culi­nary art, but we don’t take it from a chef’s point of view. We take it from an artist’s point view, com­ing at our work with tra­di­tional sculpt­ing meth­ods, us­ing mar­bling and sculpt­ing tools.”

Although the Pres­i­dent But­ter White House — which, at 400 pounds, must seem like a piece of cake to the man who carved a NASCAR Chevy out of 3,500 pounds of ched­dar — is not des­tined to be slathered on cobs of corn, melted as lobster dip or spread onto English muffins, it will be re­pur­posed, noted Kroetsch.

“The but­ter goes through a process at Re­in­ford Farms in Mif­flintown, where the atoms are bro­ken down and it’s turned into meth­ane gas,” she said. “They ac­tu­ally use that en­ergy to power their farm and they also give en­ergy back to the grid where it goes out to other coun­ties in Penn­syl­va­nia.”

Other sculp­tures, such as the one that stayed in Ve­gas at Her­shey’s Choco­late World are a bit more lon­glast­ing, even if they do re­quire a lit­tle ren­o­va­tion from time to time.

“We soon need to get to Ve­gas to re­fresh that one,” Vic­tor re­minded his co-worker. “Yes, we need to get back to Ve­gas.”

GARY PULEO — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Hus­band and wife sculpt­ing team Jim Vic­tor and Marie Pel­ton of Conshohocken were com­mis­sioned by Pres­i­dent But­ter to repli­cate the White House from 400 pounds of but­ter.

GARY PULEO — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Jim Vic­tor works on an in­tri­cate de­tail in a corner of a White House build­ing made en­tirely of but­ter.

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