Artists tell their sto­ries in sculp­ture

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By CON­NIE CON­NOLLY cconnolly@ches­pub.com

— Fea­tured Water­fowl Fes­ti­val sculp­tor Pati Sta­j­car said it’s not hard to part with a piece af­ter work­ing on it so long. “It is a la­bor of love; how­ever, by the time you’re done with it, you’re kind of sick of it.”

“When I’m work­ing on a piece, I ab­so­lutely love work­ing on it, but I’m al­ways think­ing about the next piece,” the Colorado-based sculp­tor said.

Sta­j­car joined about 20 sculp­tors ex­hibit­ing their work in three down­town venues at the 47th an­nual Water­fowl Fes­ti­val.

As the ex­hibits opened Fri­day, Nov. 10, an eclec­tic blend of sculpt­ing styles in var­i­ous me­dia were on dis­play within easy walk­ing dis­tance at the Water­fowl Build­ing, Art at the Pavil­ion and the Avalon The­atre. Visi­tors chat­ted with sculp­tors and leaned in to ex­am­ine in­tri­cate de­tails of each artist’s work.

“As I’m work­ing, the sub­ject tends to re­veal it­self,” Sta­j­car, who left her ca­reer at Fron­tier Air­lines in the 1980s to sculpt full time. She works in wood, bronze and stone.

“Your brain is al­ways think­ing about it,” Sta­j­car said. “You just let your brain fig­ure out the prob­lems, and your hands can do the work.”

Across from Sta­j­car in the Art at the Pavil­ion tent on Har­ri­son Street was Colorado sculp­tor Kim Shak­lee’s bronze sculp­tures. She has been sculpt­ing for 27 years and ex­hibit­ing at the Fes­ti­val for 12 years.

“This is a great show — I love be­ing here “said Shak­lee, who said she is par­tial to marine sub­ject mat­ter.

“We’re stay­ing in a home in Eas­ton on the wa­ter, and it’s like par­adise. We got up this morn­ing, and there were maybe a thou­sand geese on the wa­ter. You can’t beat that.”

“Eas­ton has a dif­fer­ent fla­vor. I don’t even know how to de­scribe it,” Shak­lee said. “It’s laid back, but the peo­ple are very warm and gen­uine. It feels kind of homey.”

Éric Tardif of Gatineau, Canada, has ex­hib­ited his styl­ized wood sculp­tures at the Fes­ti­val for the past five years. With a slight French ac­cent, Tardif said he has had “good suc­cess each year.”

By 10:30 a.m. Fri­day morn­ing, first-time ex­hibitor and western North Carolina wood sculp­tor Joe Wal­droup had sold three pieces. Work­ing with burl wood he finds while tramp­ing in the woods with two artist bud­dies, Wal­droup al­lows the wood to sug­gest how he will carve the wildlife sub­ject or bowl that will re­sult.

Wal­droup and his wife Ann said, laugh­ing, that since he started sculpt­ing eight years ago at their son’s sug­ges­tion, they see each other “at break­fast and din­ner.”

Dis­play­ing her whim­si­cal style as she sculpts in clay, Kar­ryl of Love­land, Colo., who goes by only her first name, worked on a bas re­lief of a blue heron as visi­tors walked among the ex­hibits in Water­fowl Ch­e­sa­peake’s head­quar­ters at the old ar­mory down­town.

The com­bi­na­tion of sculp­ture and paint­ing on dis­play in the build­ing “adds tex­ture, breaks up the space and makes the dis­plays more in­ter­est­ing,” Fes­ti­val co-chair­man Martha Horner said.

The free­dom to mix me­dia al­lows artists to bring other pieces into their dis­plays.

“The artists love it, and it seems to be work­ing for us,” Horner said. “Our thought is, make our artists happy, be­cause their sales are what pro­vide the money” for con­ser­va­tion ef­forts.

“Our artists love com­ing to the Fes­ti­val, I think, be­cause we’re vol­un­teers and we love what we do,” Horner said. “We love be­ing here, and that car­ries over to the artists.”

PHOTO BY CON­NIE CON­NOLLY

Colorado sculp­tor Kar­ryl works on a bas re­lief of a blue heron in her booth at the Water­fowl Fes­ti­val head­quar­ters on Fri­day, Nov. 10.

French Cana­dian artist Éric Tardif stands next to his styl­ized black wal­nut water­fowl sculp­ture ti­tled “Hero.”

PHO­TOS BY CON­NIE CON­NOLLY

Fea­tured Water­fowl Fes­ti­val artist Pati Sta­j­car poses with her “Ot­terly Point­less,” a large, styl­ized bronze of two ot­ters at play.

First-time Water­fowl Fes­ti­val ex­hibitor Joe Wal­droup from North Carolina sculpts burl wood, pre­fer­ring “nat­u­ral edges and patina.”

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