Growing up in rural North Carolina, the woods and the river were my playground. I seized every opportunity to explore them and imagined them to be undiscovered territory. Fueled by curiosity, my imagination landed me in some mildly dangerous, mostly mischievous, but always fun adventures. Little did I know that these adventures were then an unknown part of the career I was to have.
Collecting scrap wood and tin to build my own boats and tree houses, jumping off rocks and ropes into the river, finding just the right spot to make a perfect campsite and always wishing to be able to fly are just some of the boyhood experiences that have inspired me to create sculptures of nature and whimsy.
In 1965, I began industrial steel welding, learning from my father. At the time I acquired certification, I was the youngest certified welder in North Carolina. In 1968, discovering an artistic talent, I realized that copper is my metal of choice, but I also work with brass, bronze, steel, stainless steel and titanium. Many techniques are used to form my sculptures. I cut, burn, twist, pour, grind, polish, temper, age, hammer, oxidize, roll, brake, hand form, weld and braze at one point or another. Colors and patinas are obtained by the heat of different torches and by oxidation processes. Motion is a very important part of my sculptures. Some sculptures actually move, such as water sculptures with dippers and waterwheels and also hot air balloons that gently sway in a breeze or look as if they’re floating.
I enjoy creating sculptures. A new idea will not be still in my mind. I can see the sculpture completed before it’s started. Transforming a piece of hard cold flat metal from an idea I have into reality brings great satisfaction, but I equally enjoy seeing the fun smiles on people’s faces as they view my work. I am also greatly appreciative of the numerous awards received throughout the states over the course of my forty five year art career.
Thoughts of retiring have been dismissed as I find I can’t lay down the torch for very long. I still visualize too many sculptures that I want to create.