Our first example involves a memorial for a young couple, Susan and Ken, who had lost their infant daughter. Their sorrow could not be adequately expressed by temporary acts of remembrance. They wanted her life to be remembered long after their own passing, and a lasting memorial in stone seemed to be the answer. They were joined in their quest by Susan's mother, Daphne, and their search began in earnest. Catalogues, brochures, and extensive tours of cemeteries in the US, in places like New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Texas, British Columbia, New England, and abroad - in Rome and Florence, Italy, were all part of their research.
This may sound a bit obsessive, but some monuments are not considered lightly. In their many cemetery tours, they began to notice the once intricately carved marble statuary had been virtually disintegrated by the elements and pollution. That observation became a deciding factor in their choice of granite for their memorial.
While on a trip to Boston, Susan's mother visited an exhibit of granite at the Massachusetts Museum of Geology, and learned that Barre, Vermont was the granite capitol of America.
Susan began calling various granite manufacturers and quarries in an effort to find a sculptor. We would like to note at this point, inquiries of this kind are usually greeted with that old New England quote, "You can't get there from here," or "You need to contact an agent or retailer." (i.e., middle man.) If your project involves sculpture, save yourself the headaches and find a sculptor. In Susan's case persistence paid off. She formed a list of sculptors working in granite and began requesting portfolios. One set of images clicked with her vision of a young angel.
We began discussing ideas and composition by phone, which led to a meeting at the studio to review a concept drawing. The drawing was enthusiastically received and we arranged meetings with other professionals to decide inscription layouts and sourcing the right material. The granite they preferred was no longer being quarried, but after an exhaustive search a granite similar in grain and color was located.
With all the preliminary groundwork done and the stone delivered to the studio, the real toil begins. We might add that this second stage began after months of stage one and that this kind of time frame is common with projects that start from scratch.
The modeling and carving phase is best described visually with progressive images beginning with the concept stage.
Quote from clients:
"Jerry may never truly understand how he has contributed to the healing process for Susan and Ken. His openness and patience in allowing collaboration has made us co-creators in this abiding tribute to their brave and special little girl. God has given Jerry priceless gifts of vision, creation and gentleness. In all of his dealings with us he has shown how very worthy he is of these gifts. To Jerry we offer our heartfelt thanks."
-- Daphne Robinson, Professor, Louisiana College, Pineville, Louisiana
Time Frame: One Year
Cost: Approximate $30,000
(not including foundation work)
Overall Size: Six Feet
Material: Sand-toned Granite