Artists tell their stories in sculpture
— 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.”
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.”
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.”