New: Weekly Updates
As the new year begins, I am once again reminded of the many things to be grateful for: good health, a loving and supportive partner, an extensive support system for my business, wonderful friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues.
As we head into 2024, I recently decided that I need to be more active on my blog. While I love writing and had initially reserved my blog for sculpture projects, I realized that I had missed writing about many installations from last year. To keep my writing skills sharp, I plan to start a regular weekly update. Through this, I aim to share my day-to-day activities from the previous week with my fans, including meetings with clients, involvement in bronze casting tasks, and sculpting. I also hope to discuss topics such as my sculpting habits, tools, models, and working environment.
January 7-13, 2024
One exciting (and daunting) decision I made last week was to purchase an old farm house with some land. My plan is to consolidate my home, sculpture studios, and mold storage with my partner’s business into one property. Currently, I use three studio spaces totaling 5,100 square feet and a large storage space, so combining our businesses will help minimize overhead costs and commuting.
Not many of you know that my partner of 13 years is a massage therapist and part-time photographer at Jessica Payne Sun Photography. On Christmas Day, a fire broke out above her massage office and destroyed everything. Thankfully, no one was injured. Since then, we have been considering the idea of merging our spaces. When my friend and real estate agent, Erich Menzel from Coldwell Banker, contacted me, I mentioned this idea. He sent us a property that we had been considering, and we took the necessary steps to purchase it. The seller accepted our offer last week, so we are in the early stages of planning the consolidation of our living and business spaces.
After living and working in Loveland, Colorado for a long time (19 years now), I have established connections with people from various backgrounds in the area. Erich used to work at the foundry, and we met when he would weld my life-size monuments. Sometime in 2014 when he mentioned that he was transitioning to become a real estate agent, I decided to engage his services when the housing market in Loveland started to became competitive. Since then he has been my go-to agent ever since, and this new purchase will be my fourth purchase from him.
While we are busy planning the move, I am still busier than ever running my sculpture business, Sutton Betti Sculptures, Inc. Last week, I continued with a new sculpting schedule that has me in the studio by 4am. Although there are several clays in process, I have been focusing my attention on a half-scale sculpture titled “Who’s Walking Who,” depicting a little boy walking a large great dane. This sculpture is part of my whimsical sculpture series, which I work on when I am not occupied with life-size commissions. In the early morning, I can solely focus on personal sculpting projects, which is challenging to do during regular business hours.
In addition to sculpting, I have been assisting my team with mold making, wax pouring, and wax chasing tasks that have tight deadlines. Currently, we have five monuments at various stages in the foundry. Since my shop is equipped for all metal work except casting in bronze, we are able to maintain reasonable turnaround times for sculpture projects.
Although sculpting in clay is my passion, I also enjoy the engineering aspects of mold making and problem-solving to minimize air bubbles when pouring waxes, assembling bronze and patinas. Guiding my assistants through the various bronze casting processes is a satisfying challenge that complements the artistic aspect of sculpting. So, when I wasn’t on the phone or sculpting I was with my small team of two pouring and chasing waxes for the second of two Honor Guard sculptures and setting up two smaller sculptures for mold making.
Yesterday, I received a call from a representative for the St. George Art on Loan program “Art Around the Corner”, expressing interest in featuring my life size bronze sculpture Pawsitively Love for their 20th-anniversary show. While this sculpture may or may not make it in time for the opening day, we have discussed the possibility of showcasing my sculpture of Charlie Chaplin as a backup plan.
We are currently in the early stages of a new project to honor a teacher who was very important to my close friend, art collector and client, Earl Boston. Last week, we talked about the difficulties of transporting a large sculpture and two large stone bases upstairs through an elevator, without the assistance of a dingo forklift and came up with a solution: a hydraulic manual stacker for which I use to lift heavy stone bases up and into a trailer. The life-sized bronze sculpture will portray a science teacher in a lab coat kneeling and holding two science beakers, while a child (representing Mr. Boston) stands in wonder. It is scheduled to be installed in Beatrice, Nebraska this summer.
Thank you for reading, and if you are in the Midwest, stay warm! It’s currently -4 in Loveland, a good time to stay indoors and enjoy a cup of coffee.