Look Past The Whimsy To The Love

Today I went to Evelyn’s Park. I have not been there since the grand opening April 22, 2017. The grand opening for me was exciting, but also a little bit sad, I had hoped my sculpture would be there for all to enjoy.

The dedication plaque is a separate piece. Here is the message from the Rubensteins. Remember the love, when you look at the whimsy.

Today I went to the park, and especially the memorial garden. Many may not know that there is a special place in the park. It is on the south-east corner of the park and is called Evelyn’s Memorial Garden. You will know it because the pathway changes. It goes from pea gravel to gray brick.  In the middle of this memorial garden, there is a spot that is filled with brown mulch and empty. That is where the sculpture of the Mad Hatter tea party will go.

I was delighted that the hard work of the Rubnestein family and foundation had finally come to fruition. It was a long road for them, and they worked hard to get the park to this point.  No one, but them and those who dedicated themselves to getting the park done, knows how hard that was.  I wanted to go there today and think about that. I wanted to think about Evelyn and how thankful I am that I have been a part of creating a memory in honor of a woman that will be cherished by many. A memory that two boys began, because they loved their mom.  I’m thinking back to the dedication plaque

I think we are all so caught up in the idea of the whimsy of the sculpture, and the hidden objects, that somehow the love, the true meaning of this sculpture has been overlooked. Today I went to Evelyn’s Park and talked to Evelyn. On my way. I was overwhelmed with the need and sorrow that I did not bring a rock. I am not Jewish, but my best friend is, and I grew up surrounded by the Jewish culture. Because I also create many sculptures of deceased loved ones I have studied death and the traditions surrounding death.  The Jewish traditions surrounding death are some of the most endearing.  But my urgency for a rock came from a simple custom combined with my absolute love of rocks. I collect them from wherever I go. Rocks line my window sills. In the Jewish tradition, it is customary to bring a rock to the grave of a loved one.

On the book sits a mouse reading the copy. At the top of a book the white rabbit jumps down a hole.

In article I found on my Jewish learning  they quoteRabbi Simkha Weintraub, rabbinic director of the New York Jewish Healing Center . “They say that by placing the stone, we show that we have been there, and that the individual’s memory continues to live on in and through us.”

I don’t know where Evelyn is buried, but I want to celebrate her life. I have studied her as I was also commissioned to do a sculpture of her for the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center.   I have been celebrating her life all through the last few years by creating this sculpture. Her children have celebrated her by creating this park, and by commissioning me to do this sculpture for the park in her memory.  I do know she was an amazingly strong woman, and I hope I can have her strength, courage and business sense as I proceed in my life.   I have decided that I may go and walk this pathway once a week until the sculpture is placed. Don’t be surprised if you see random rocks in the midst of the empty spot.  I will be culling through my personal collection and placing them there to honor Evelyn and her memory.

If you go to the park, after the sculpture is installed, look behind this book and dedication plaque. If you see a rock, now you will know what it means, and perhaps you will know that I have been there, or maybe others, and that her memory is indeed continuing to live on, in and through us. We are celebrating the memory of her and finding her love through the whimsy.

Dedication plaque reads…

Once upon a time,
In a land called Bellaire, there were two brothers,
Bo and Jerry Rubenstein.

The boys wanted to do something special,
To honor their mother, Evelyn.
Evelyn would often say,

“The way to make a difference is by giving and sharing.”
And so, in her memory,
The brothers created Evelyn’s Park
And placed within it


Panther- The Unveiling

My interns helped a great deal on this project.

What a great ceremony for the unveiling. They did a good job installing it and we are so glad it is done. I’m also elated that the school says it is female. We did not actually “show” the gender. Having it female adds some specialness to this project, you see it was all women who worked on it. Here I am with two of my girls who helped me on the piece- Shirley, and Allison. I call them my Towanda girls. Lots of female energy in the piece!

I am smiling with these two men, but I must say there were many a hectic time when I was trying to receive what I needed to proceed to the next step that these guys did not make me smile, but in the end, we are all so very relieved that it is over, we can’t help but smile.

I was wondering what the sculpture would look like at night. I was a bit concerned that it was being lit from below and it really should be lit from above. I had to fight to keep the eyes the way that I sculpted them and I did so for this reason. The sculpture has intensity.

mascot of Prairie View Panther

We did it! I can’t wait to hear what others think about the piece. Please feel free to send me your comments, or post to the blog. And go back to the beginning of this blog to check out the progress, from start to finish. Oh yes, If you pose with the sculpture send me your photographs and I’ll be sure to post them on the blog.
I would like to thank photographer Bill Petty for sending me these photographs.

The Coloring of a Panther

Once the sculpture is complete and approved by the artist, the foundry does one final sandblasting and then begins the patination. Patinas are created by putting chemicals on the hot bronze. Once the patination is on a coat of wax is put over the entire sculpture. The sculpture will have to be waxed on a regular basis to maintain its finish.

Panther- Dipping The Waxes

Each wax is gated up. That means that they have pour cups and sprues added to each wax piece. The sprues help the gasses to escape when the metal is poured. When they are gated up, each piece is dipped several times in a slurry mixture. There is no hurrying this process. Time is taken to create a good ceramic shell. The ceramic mixture is both inside and outside of the wax pieces.

Each of the many pieces must be dipped in this vat.
They are then covered with this sand. This is done many times. It makes a shell.
The shells cure on a rack in the dip room waiting for their next coat.