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Category Archives: Stories

The stories about the people behind the sculpture.

My friend is a sculptor…Guest Post by Kelley Leigh

When my friend Scott starts to tell a story, a chatty room gets quiet. His stories are witty, drawn out patiently, and worth hearing. He’s like big ole’ Grizzly Adams, Will Rogers, and your favorite cousin, all wrapped together. A few years ago, one of my sons described Scott as a “Santa in Summer.” If that’s true, then Santa lives in a big-timber log house in the mountains and does road trips on a huge yellow motorcycle with his wife Hermine.

People listen to Scott. And, Scott leans in to listen to people. That is probably why he’s so outstanding at what he does. Scott Stearman is a sculptor. He tells his stories in bronze.

Bronze sculptures are timeless containers for our collective stories. What sculptures capture in the present, they continue to speak long into the ages. Bronzes outlive the generations that birth them. They preside over public places and whisper their history into the present. Like no other art form, they withstand the weather of time, and tirelessly ask the future to pause and remember.

Scott’s studio and partner foundry are here in Colorado, but his work permanently stands and whispers in places like universities, city squares, military memorials, hospitals, financial institutions — all over the country.

One of my favorite things about Scott’s work is the layers of detailed symbolism he includes. It’s like playing “I Spy” to find the embedded messages. For instance, one of his military sculpture includes details only a soldier will notice.

  • A wristwatch set to 9:11 as a nod to the New York terrorist attacks.
  • A picture of a soldier’s fiance’ tucked in a helmet.
  • A metal feather taken from Saddam Hussein’s palace — placed on the ground under a boot, in symbol of defeat.
  • A right shoulder empty of gear, and one knee-pad on a right-knee, for a rifleman’s clear shot.
  • A wedding ring quietly speaking it’s promise to someone back home.
  • And his memorial sculpture at US Central Command in FL, places a very real replica of Scott’s Fort Carson model, Sgt. Amy Perkins strategically. She is now standing permanently, looking directly at the name of the fiance’ she lost, killed in Afghanistan.

The stories embedded in his work are rich and varied. And he continues to cover new territory with his sculpture. This is what I wrote, in black Sharpie marker, on a locker door in Scott’s studio:
“In this space, our friend shows us life. When he creates with clay, he makes something from nothing, truth from dirt, beauty from earth and he points us to our creator.”

‘True that.

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Special Forces Monument

In my home town of Woodland Park, we have a lot of soldiers. The Army’s Ft. Carson is 40 minutes down the pass and we hear often about another soldier from the base who’s not coming home from war.

“Fergy” was a Master Sergeant with the 10th Special Forces Group, a Green Beret. A friend introduced me to his wife and we began to talk about creating a place where Fergy would be remembered. I was invited to attend a ceremony at the 10th Group where they honored the fallen. Names were read and families recognized. At the center of the ceremony they had erected a battle cross; boots, rifle, beret, and dog tags standing straight and silent in their tribute.

We talked about this image and she told me this was how she wanted to honor her husband.

Creating a military memorial is a huge honor and a huge responsibility. I learned 20 years earlier, with my first military sculpture, that the work and detail must be correct. But, more important than just creating an accurate sculpture, I have to tell the story well. I have to take cold, impersonal bronze and mold something that connects with the heart; deeper than mere accuracy in the detail.

So, I sculpted the battle cross as correctly as I could and placed it In the park, in the middle of town on top of a large piece of Pikes Peak granite.

But, his story is presented in the personal. He was serving in the desert when he died, so I created a helmet with desert goggles. I made molds and cast replicas of his dog tags.The 10th Special Forces Group guidon is sculpted so it drapes over the granite base. Military coins were added as if they’d been left there by friends. Fergy’s Master Sergeant stripes, his name patch and his service ribbons were modeled onto the banner.

The sobering truth is that this monument to Fergy will outlive us all. I have to tell his story well to assure that the future will know him. His grandchildren will someday stand here. If my effort was successful, they will see, and feel, and know his story.

 
 

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