Booker T. Washington

Bridgette Mongeon has been working with Booker T. Washington High School in Houston to create a sculpture that they will place outside in front of their school. This monumental sculpture is of a seated Booker T. Washington in a chair reading his book. To follow along with the Booker T. Project, search the category Booker T. Washington in this blog or visit the school’s project blog at Booker T. Washington Sculpture Project.

In the blog, the artist not only documents her process but also gives students, parents, and teachers information and resources for STEAM education. STEAM is an interdisciplinary education using Science, Technology Engineering, Art, and Math.

Eve, Hope, Sacrifice, Perseverance and Tenacity


It was not long ago that my sculpture of Eve was installed at Generation Park. We never had a dedication because of the the pandemic. Then, my client sent this email that came from the CEO of Apache Industries, who apparently is housed in the building where Eve resides.  It lightened my heart. There are so many stories behind this sculpture. Many are miraculous to me. One day I hope to share.

Hello All,

 As we approach the Holiday weekend I cannot help but feel that regardless of creed, race or religion the celebrations of Easter, Passover, Ramadan etc… seem to take on a more elevated meaning in this moment.  The Christian faith practices Lent, which importantly involves some form of personal sacrifice, self-denial and penance for the 6 weeks leading up to celebration of resurrection on Easter Sunday.  In the Jewish faith Passover and the Seder celebrates the holy spirit “passing over” the marked doorposts of those who would otherwise be inflicted by the last of the 10 plagues preceding the Israelites escape from slavery.   And in Islam, Ramadan (albeit a couple weeks away) is a month of fasting aimed at cleansing the soul and encouraging self-discipline, empathy for others less fortunate, generosity and compassion.

 How fortuitous is it that we all find ourselves battling a pandemic (plague), while at the same time, we find ourselves making great personal sacrifice of the comforts, freedoms or indulgences that are typically available to all of us, and it is our reliance on our collective self-discipline and humanity to find a pathway to salvation?  In this moment, when we all learn to do without in the face of adversity, I can’t help but feel re-centered on the things that matter most—my family, my friends and my colleagues.

 Each day at the office, I look out the window onto Redemption Square (also a biblical reference).  Installed in the middle of the square is a 15-foot tall statue of Eve.  The curator told me that the statue is an image of Eve, later in life, head tilted towards the sky, arm and open hand raised high, reaching for the Heavens in search of redemption from God.  To me, the image is an extraordinary symbol of perseverance, tenacity and hope.   

 However, every time I look at Eve, I also cannot help but visualize the statue taking motion and watching that outstretched open hand turn powerfully into raised, clenched fist—the universal representation of the underdog’s ascension, the warrior’s triumph or the champion’s demonstration of victory.

 So on this holiday weekend let us all share in a moment of prayer or reflection with our families and our loved ones.  Let us not take for granted the people in our lives that matter most.

And, also, let us all mark this weekend…let it be the inflection point…where our collective sacrifice, perseverance and tenacity starts to turn open hand into clenched fist.

 I am always grateful for all of the Apache family!

We will triumph!
We are Apache!

Happy Easter!


 Michael J. Knigin
Chief Executive Officer
Apache Industrial services. 

Files For 3D Printing?

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Pixologic has lots of tutorials on different things concerning creating and 3D printing.


You may remember that in previous posts, sculptor Bridgette Mongeon talked about G-code. That is what a machine needs to be able to 3D print, or CNC, which stand for computer numerically controlled milling. 3D scanners also use G-code.

Just like when you work on a picture on the internet, there are many different types of files. For example, you can create a photo file as jpg, png. giff, pdf’s and more . There are also many kinds of files, depending on the software you are using and the software version. So it is with the case of 3D printed data. There are a couple of different types of files. To print your work correctly the files from your machine have to be able to translate that G-Code correctly.

Marc Eberle in New York and Bridgette in Houston were working on the file of Booker T. Washington’s book. They both work in a program called Zbrush. Bridgette also works in a program called Mudbox and wrote a book on that as well. Mark and Bridgette can send Zbrush files back and forth, but they have to be sure they are both working in the same version of Zbrush. The other option in sending a working software files is to send a 3D print files to someone in a recognizable format.  These are usually an STL or an OBJ. What is the difference? 3D printer Insider created an article that describes the differences between STL and OBJ’s. Pixologic also has a great article on how to prepare your files for 3D printing should you like to learn more.

Bridgette talks a lot about the pitfalls when 3D printing. She learns from her experience and shared a lot in her book 3D Technology and Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting, and Milling. No need to go get the book, just keep watching this blog, she will be sharing a lot of that information here. In the next post, we will look at how to fix a file and what can be wrong with a file that might keep the file from printing. There are a few free programs that allow you to be able to check your files for 3D printing.

Teachers and Students

If you would like some free software to start working in 3D check out the following:

Sculptris -Pixologic, the makers of Zbrush, has Sculptris. It is free and an excellent way to begin creating in 3D. It is available for Mac and PC. You will have to download it.

Tinkercad  – works in a browser, so there is nothing to download

Vectary– works in a browser, so there is nothing to download

We will post some more for you later. Please let us know if you create anything with these programs. We would like to see it.

Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon

Technology Comes Into the Art Again. Booker T. Washington’s Book.

booker t book_2Dr. Phillips wanted to switch out the papers in Booker T. Washington’s lap. Instead, it would be Booker T. Washington’s Book Character Building.  Originally, Dr. Phillips had a new version of the book.  After consideration, Bridgette decided to make it into an older version of the book.  After all, the modern paperback books would not be around until 1935.  Changing to a more original version was done for several reasons. The first is that the viewer might not see the book title if Booker T. Washington’s left hand is holding it open.  Instead of trying to sculpt such a tiny book with tiny text, Bridgette decided to do it digitally.

booker t book

Bridgette decides to create a separate design of the book one where the cover is connected so that the students at Booker T. Washington High School and others can 3D print it out and have their own tiny book used in this small sculpture of Booker T. Washington.

Mark Eberle in Western NewYork has helped Bridgette on several different projects, including education on 3D Technology in the Western New York area.  Once again he came through. Mark and Bridgette created the book in a digital sculpting program called Z Brush.  There is a free sculpting program that is offered by the same company. It is called Sculptris, should any students be interested in check it out. The other problem was that Bridgette was not sure how open the book would need to be. She could not really decide this until she worked on the design and the hands. So, to remedy this situation, Bridgette separated the cover.  That way, she can tip the cover to whatever angle she needs. Mark 3D printed the book on a Form Labs 3D print. If you remember, we discussed the different types of 3D printing. Form Labs is one of the best consumer 3D printers. It uses the stereolithograpy ( SLA) process of 3D printing.


  • To obtain STL FILES or OBJ’s for 3D printing follow this link.
  • If you would like to learn more about STL and OBJ files check out this article by 3D Insider.

Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon

Booker T. Or “There You Are Peter “


DurScreen Shot 2020-03-15 at 9.23.18 PMing the process of sculpting, I always find there is a moment that reminds me of a scene in the 1991 movie “Hook.”  A little boy squishes up Peter Pan’s face and finally recognizes the little boy inside him. I have these moments when I’m pushing the clay around and “feel” I have the face of the subject. Sometimes I even say that line of the movie out loud. I’m definitely feeling comfortable about Booker T. Washington’s face. He is on a toothpick stuck inside of a block of clay.  I love to be able to turn him upside down and around.  I’m getting much closer. You can see some video of my Booker T. Washington sculpture in progress on this Feb 12th Instagram and this  Feb 14 Instagram post.

Teachers and Students
We learned about all of the cool math in the body, and about Leonardo Da Vinci’s obsession with proportions. I have sculpted many faces, and it always fascinates me about the proportions.  Sculpting and drawing are really about comparing one thing you have drawn or sculpted to another.  I used to teach Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and would talk about this all the time.  Here is a cool video on how you can check the proportions of your own face using string.

As a portrait sculptor, I have studied many different aspects of the face. One of my favorite things is the facial action coding system by Psychologist Paul Eckman. Paul has studied emotion in the face and can tell when people are lying just by watching their face. I have a very freaky story to tell you about my experience with that research, but it is too long to go into here.

Creating real expressions in animation is hard. Animators have been using Facial Action Coding to create realistic faces.  This video from the University of London talks about Animation and the Facial Action Coding.

Animation studios also use something called Motion capture or mo-cap.  They have actors wear optical markers that capture the motions in the face and body.  Disney created the movie A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey in this way. With a head-mounted camera, the animators can capture the expression and transfer it to their animations. I wonder how hard it must be for an actor to act in these costumes and without the visual props.

Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon

Moving Along

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It’s a long process.


I’m working diligently on getting the small Booker T. Washington ready for the school to approve. We may hold off on casting him because there is an event, and I will need to have something for guests to see at the event. I can bring the clay if I’m careful. Casting a small sculpture like this can take a little while. Remember, this is a limited edition, and you can have one. You can even pre-order one. Buying a small Booker T. Washington can help with the cost of the monumental sculpture. We will get a price on that soon. Contact Dr. Phillips at Booker T Washington High School if you are interested.

Before I can add his jacket, I have to sculpt the folds int he waistcoat. Much of it we will not see, but I can see it. I hate that the hands are these wire stubs, and I can’t wait to move onto the shoes, but for now, he is coming along.
I have to do it. To sculpt the face, I’m going to have to cut off his head.

Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon

What Does Harriet Tubman Have To Do With Booker T. Washington?

February is black history month, and as I always do, I am immersing myself into everything about my subject.  With the Harriet Tubman movie, we have been hearing a lot about her as well.  I also am a hiker, and they have been having some Harriet Tubman hikes in the Texas State Parks. So, I could not help but wonder. Did Harriet Tubman and Booker T. Washington know each other?

Harriet was born in 1822 and died in 1913. She was 90-91.  Booker T. Washington was born 34 years after Tubman, in 1856 and died in 1915. A lot of things happened in 34 years.  As reference, the emancipation proclamation happened in 1863.

I’m sure Harriett had influenced Booker T.  Washington. After all, she was recognize around the world for her accomplishment. Even the queen of England awarded her a medal and gave her a shawl.  My curiosity got the best of me, and I had to stop sculpting and do some research.  How interesting it was to find that Booker T. Washington delivered the oration at the Tubman memorial service. 

Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon


Proclamations and Other Things


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Off with his head! This helps me a great deal. I can turn the image upside down and easily see all sides. The most difficult part is the aging in the photographs of Booker T. Washington.

It is crazy busy in the studio these last two months.

I took a trip to Florida to Tampa to be with the All American Girls Professional Baseball League AAGPBL. If you don’t know the story about this league, check out the movie A League of Their Own. I hung out with many of the original women in the league. Many of these women are in their 90’s The AAGPBLis an incredible part of history. One of the reasons I was there is because the AAGPBL commissioned me to do a sculpture of Penny Marshall. Penny Marshall was the director of the movie A League Of Their Own. She made a difference in the lives of many through making this movie. 

Latin Jazz.
One of the subjects that I have sculpted was honored in the Mayor’s office. She is getting her own day and is one of the first Latin American sculptures in the city of Houston. So, I was able to go to the courthouse and present part of the sculpture- A bronze dog named Kippy. I love this little dog. Then, later on, there was the unveiling of a sculpture of Norma Zenteno. She is a musician who died of cancer, she is loved by many. Her family has been in the entertainment industry for years and really played a part in Latin music in the city of Houston.  They created a movie about the family and presented at the unveiling. Unfortunately Norma won’t be installed for a while, but she is done.

There was a radio interview on KPFT. I also  had a 13-foot tall sculpture install in the North Part of Houston in Generation Park. No dedication set at this time. It is a sculpture of Eve.

It has been a busy two month, and in between all of that I have been working on the small sculpture of Booker T. Washington. Now that all of these are off my plate I can turn my focus onto Booker T. As you can see. I had to cut off his head.

Sculptor/Writer Bridgette Mongeon

A Famous Teapot Tells the History of Technology.


Bridgette poses with the clay of the Mad Hatter and a very famous teapot.


Bridgette has worked both traditionally and digitally for a long time. She has said time and again.

In my studio, Alice and her friends have gotten bigger and smaller, not with elixirs and mushrooms but with digital technology.

As an artist, she has had a foot in the digital world and another foot in the fine art field, and created a niche for herself. Her book on 3D tech in fine art was the culmination of a lot of trial and error on her part. In an interview with Women in 3D printing, she said, if she can’t get it out of the computer, it is useless to her. That is where CNC milling and 3D printing come into her studio.

When she was creating the monumental sculpture of Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter Tea party for Evelyn’s Park in Bellaire, Texas, she wanted to pay tribute to the man who started the technology. After all, it all started with a teapot. She wanted an homage to the man. It had to be at her famous tea party.

You may not know that she hid 150 things in the bronze scene of “Move One Place On.”that is at Evelyn’s park. She did this to encourage literacy. You have to know where they are in the story, as well as in the sculpture. She also hoped to encourage curiosity. Many people have begged her to release the list of 150. She is only doing this through riddle and rhyme on her social media pages. One of the 150 hidden things that she put in the sculpture was in honor of the technology she uses. Do you see it?

Teachers and Students

Here is the riddle

Tech marries clay in Wonderland,
The Hatter steps in and lends a hand.
Not from Texas, but Utah it came.
Not victorian but rather plain.
Because Sandra and Martin liked their tea,
an homage to a man you now do see.

If you don’t know, watch this video. You will learn all about the famous teapot.


Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon