It’s busy-ness as UNusual (for me)
Just a week or two before the Corona Virus took over our lives, demanding Coloradoans to stay at home, my sculpture business was it’s busiest it had ever been in the past twenty years.
To give you an idea of what was going on in my studio in early March 2020; I had finished prepping waxes for 29 sculptures to be cast in bronze for various projects (one of which was honoring Colorado Springs philanthropist Julie Penrose) and I had just finished sculpting my monument honoring the McPherson Globe Refiners, which had taken me about 6 months to sculpt. I had finished two of my larger scale garden elves for a couple of very good clients and was metal chasing trophies for the Western States Endurance Run in California. There had been a couple of potential projects in the pipes, one of which I thought would start in the coming days of finishing the Refiners project and, then finally, I had a life size clay sculpture to finish and cast in bronze for a Recreation Center in Fraser, Colorado.
It was a busy time and it was only a few weeks ago. All of the sculptures had significant deadlines so I was working long hours and 6-7 days per week, multi-tasking on the various stages. I was EXHAUSTED but I was moving forward and chipping away.
Light (and uncertainty) at the end of the tunnel
While I was working on these various projects, I got an email from a wonderful lady named Sally, the daughter of Joe Fortenberry. Sally lives 10 miles from my studio and contacted me to ask if she could see the sculpture of her dad and his teammates. I had just finished sculpting her dad so the timing couldn’t have been better. My jaw dropped to the floor, in all honesty! I remember standing in my studio smiling and marveling at how the universe works and how connected we all are. Naturally, I invited her to the studio.
Sally’s dad Joe Fortenberry was the top scorer in the Gold medal Olympic basketball game of 1936, the first year basketball became an Olympic sport. The US basketball team dominated in Hitler’s Olympics and during the final Gold medal game on August 14, 1936 Fortenberry scored the same amount of points as their rivals from Canada.
Her dad inspired the term “Dunk” to refer to the method in which a player scores a basket (written by Arthur Daley about Fortenberry in the NY Times in March, 1936) and he was the prime example of why the defensive goaltending rule was adopted and the “jump ball after every basket” rule was rescinded. Sally’s dad was probably one of basketball’s biggest game changers throughout its long history.
On March 4, Jessica and I had the honor of welcoming Sally and her family to my studio to show the sculpture in clay before it went off to the mold maker to start its transformation into bronze.
The days following their visit saw a dramatic slowdown; projects were delivered to the foundry (and off my plate), the corona virus was changing our lives and projects fell through or were put on hold because of it. Basically, my life changed instantaneously to a snails pace. In a matter of days I was staring out my living room window (like the entire world) and wondering what was about to happen with our economy and with our lives. Now, under a stay at home order for at least a few more weeks, it is evident that this will be a long, hard fought battle. But I am and always will be grateful for the month of March 2020.