FRANKLIN COUNTY, Vermont (WCAX) — Elizabeth Parker of Franklin County has always had a fondness for art, but clay sculpting is something fairly new to this former painter.
“It’s so much fun because you develop something out of clay and it comes to life,” she said.
It’s a skill she picked up in an unconventional and unfortunate way.
“My cousin Tony sent me some clay after I had a head-on accident in July 2012,” Parker explained.
An Ohio teenager rammed into Parker, leaving the entertainer with a traumatic brain injury. She had to learn to walk, talk, read and write again.
“And then when I was able to be creative, I was a painter, he sent me a pile of clay, an armature and sculpting tools,” she said of her cousin, who , according to her, is an esteemed sculptor.
She fell in love with clay almost instantly as she learned to make realistic sculptures, and what her doctor saw was amazing.
“I would bring them in and he would be like, ‘Oh, my God, this is just amazing. You learned a new skill,” she said.
Now Parker is taking his sculpting skills from a hobby to a business, launching Vermont Bronze Sculptures just days ago. Using oil clay, she takes orders for all kinds of animals. When we went to visit she was working on a Morgan horse commission.
“I do sheep, cattle, pig, horse, canine, feline and bird,” Parker said.
She says she has a request for gargoyles and dragons. And she’s also working on a series of dancers.
Sculpting the pieces can take months and, miraculously, Parker doesn’t have to use reference images either. Once she is satisfied with the appearance of the clay bust, it is sent to a foundry in Randolph.
“And then it’s the teamwork with the foundry, they have to make the mold and they have to turn it into bronze using copper and tin and casting it with the investment casting,” he said. she explains.
Then it skates before heading to the galleries of Stowe or Brattleboro, or to the doorstep of those who commissioned it.
Due to the detailing and cost of the bronze, these coins cost thousands of dollars. Now that she’s turned her hobby into a business, Parker says she’s looking for people to join her.
“I actually look for people associated with disabled workers, very talented people who can sometimes go unnoticed,” she explained.
Parker says the best way to talk about a work or a sculpture is to visit him website.
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