"I'm Sure You'll Figure It Out": The Evolution of a Sculpture


Carl and Susan Bolch have been loyal and generous clients for almost 20 years. In the time we have worked together, they have commissioned railings, gates, doors, and fire place screens. They have never asked me to design anything average. They have never asked me to shy away from my initial ideas and inspirations.  As a result, I feel that the work I have done for them over the years is not only the finest in my own portfolio, but some of the most thoughtful and well crafted ironwork I have ever seen.

Carl and Susan's enthusiasm and attention to each individual project is inspiring as a craftsman and a designer. They are able to impose expectations and encourage quality without being overbearing. 

Their financial and personal success, while impressive, is always overshadowed by their kindness, their patience and their genuine spirit. 

When I was approached by RaceTrac, Carl and Susan’s family business, to produce a sculpture to celebrate Carl's tenure at RaceTrac, I was both honored and intimidated. After a few meetings, we arrived at a final design direction. We agreed that I would use an existing, salvaged RaceTrac sign from a station that was being renovated, and build a sculpture out of it. I explained to Susan that I really didn't know what I was doing.  Her response was familiar: "I'm sure you'll figure it out"

Working with unfamiliar materials, we proceeded cautiously, worked as a group, and did our best to be thorough and careful at every stage of the project. The sign had been run over on the construction site. So, in order to use it accurately, we first had to repair it. In some ways, this was more challenging than fabricating the actual sculpture. Once we gained momentum, we were able to incorporate the existing aluminum backing with newly fabricated corners and clips to add strength and security to the shapes. The plastic sign face was secured to the aluminum backing exactly the same way it was originally done when it was a sign. Lastly, a steel armature was fabricated to carry the entire sculpture and securely fit it to the base.

On installation day, there were no surprises. The scale of the sculpture was perfect. While commanding its own presence, it is not overbearing. With a backdrop of dark green magnolias, the primary blue, white, and red elements appear crisp and intentional.  

I can only hope that the sculpture will stand for generations to remind the Bolch family of Carl's vision, commitment, and individual thought. I know that it has special meaning to me. It is representative of the generosity and artistic encouragement the Bolchs have offered me through the years.