Education symbol spandrel panel

I’ve seen these spandrel panels quite often when passing this former library and always thought some time along I’d bring a camera and get some photos, and see if maybe I will make a model of this.
If any clients have an interest in something of this nature, feel free to drop me an email through my contact form on the main page.

Now that I have a few photos, here is one;

It measures about 26″ by 21″, I didn’t measure it but estimated the size from comparing the approximate nominal size of 2″ high and 8″ long for the bricks.

This might be better in a smaller version.

The panel is a little different version of a typical education motif like this used on schools, universities and libraries, the one’s I’ve seen over the years typically have 1 torch behind the open book, these have 2 along with a crest having the initials “C L” and 2 additional letter “C’s” near the bottom on the ribbons.
The torch, or torches in this case, along with the open book, represent knowledge and enlightenment. A book represents science, culture, education and development.

It’s a classic age-old design that has endured for a long time, and is considered an enduring education symbol much like the caduceus has long been associated with the medical arts. The caduceus can be found on hospitals, medical buildings, nursing schools etc.

This particular library was decommissioned with the erection of a new larger facility, and this building was converted into a historical museum which is a fitting use for it.
The library was built between 1900 and 1906, and fund raising was not entirely successful until Andrew Carnegie donated $10,000 to the fund to build the building.
Carnegie was a major philanthropist who donated funds like this to hundreds of small towns if not more, to build public libraries.
Most of the buildings would probably not have been built without his donations. Most of these buildings are very small by today’s standards, and they are becoming somewhat obsolete because of space limitations, the lack of handicap access, and their lack of electrical and other utilities to run today’s computer banks and other equipment never dreamed of when they were wired up for the lighting requirements of the era.

Another version I am considering is this one from PS 27, 1906 with a single torch. The school was next door to the NY Daily News building on 42nd street. It was demolished winter of 1976 when the land became more valuable than ever.
The school was almost demolished around 1929 after only 23 years! but the stock market crash prevented plans to do that. In the end unfortunately, this attractive 5 story collegiate gothic school which survived the crash of ’29 fell to increased land values, and an office building took it’s place.

I think I like this one better now that I see them side by side. I could continue the gothic border design around the sides and bottom to complete that, and square it all out.
This was sold many years ago and was quite large, about 36″ across and carved limestone.

More on the school with photos here;

PS 27

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Lady medallion found

A fellow on flickr found a building on Clinton street with 4 of these roundels like mine, but this one has a totally different border!

Image courtesy of

And here’s mine, purchased from an antique store:

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Since my change to the new domain etc. to keep things more consistant I decided to move selected youtube videos to my own server here and removing the rest from youtube.

Youtube became so full of clutter, music files and non business related friends, and subscribers I didnt know, and off-topic videos that I decided it was going to take too much effort to organize and clean it better, so I simply hit the delete button, so much easier 🙂

So as I go through and clean out some of the older stuff, some having no audio- made on a camera without audio, I’ll be replacing some of the better ones and updating the links as I find them.

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Terra cotta medalion

I was pretty close in my estimate, the lady weighs 105#, I estimated from the photo and size she would be around 100# so that’s pretty close! Now I learn the crate is just a tad under the weight limit!

It arrived today, in perfect condition, looks extremely nice!

Reverse engineering this, I find that the oak leaves were symbolic of strength and courage, while the laurel or bay leaf was symbolic of glory and victory, both of course being very popular motifs.

So the question is, in what way did courage and strength, glory and victory figure in with the portrait of the lady. I think the key is in a search of the news 1900-1910 for important events involving a woman. If she had a crown of some sort I’d think in terms of a queen.

A possible candidate is Susan B anthony who died in 1906

If I find the location of the building I remember having one of these on it, I can look it up in the archives and maybe get some info on the owner/architect which may lead to a clue too.

This is a very nice portrait, theres this one and the one in the museum’s sculpture garden and I think there is one more on a building I seem to remember. I also seem to remember the building the one I saw long ago with one of these on it was of a style from around 1905 ish.

This is an unusual design and uncommon shape, that suggests to me the lady has some significance in some way.
The design may offer some clues; the oak leaves on one side and the laurel leaves on the other both mean something they are not just random add-in’s to fill space.
Also, the dress she is wearing and necklace are clues as well.

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Terra cotta medallion

I’ve seen a similar round lady medallion in an antique store in NY for sale since last summer at least, this photo of a different one shows these had a multi-piece border originally. The one for sale is missing the border pieces.

Trying to see if I can get the one for sale at $1500, for $1350 since I know the shipping isn’t going to be cheap and since it’s 24″ by 9″ it probably wont fit in any box the UPS store would have but maybe they can pack it up on a skid and ship it freight.

Yup, you read right- UPS store, again I use them after the fiasco!!! but THIS store on Long Island is a real gem and this store follows instructions and packs extremely well. The two pcs of terra cotta they packed and shipped for me thus far were double boxed as requested and they did a fantastic packing on them, so I have every confidence they will
do this a third time just as great.

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Susan in Missouri writes back that she received the large 3 section owl panel in great shape, purchased for a gift- her husband loves it and plans to frame it some way.

Way to go, I’m always pleased to hear from happy clients, and to receive photos of their installs.
Large panels such as this owl which has 3 sections are best hung onto a sheet of 1/2″ plywood which is screwed onto the wall securely and painted the color of the wall.
Once that is up, hanging a multi-piece sculpture is real easy with a little measuring care and planning.

As I am pagan, being very similar to the native American’s earth/sky/nature beliefs, I don’t celebrate certain holidays, but winter solstice day is coming up soon and we can celebrate the waning of winter as the days slowly get longer as we head back towards spring!

It’s the time of the winter solstice, or Yule, for those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere. We’re celebrating Yule, and marking the return of the sun after the longest night of the year. It’s a time of rebirth and renewal, and the long journey back out of the darkness.

For those of you down below the equator, you’re observing the summer solstice, or Litha, right now -gardens are in full bloom, the earth is vibrant and alive, and the days are long and sunny.

Both Yule and Litha are celebrations of the sun — different aspects of it, but solar holidays nonetheless.

Whichever holiday you celebrate this month I wish you all well and prosperity in the coming New Year.

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Commodore hotel copper mask

After losing at the same auction I bid on that copper lion recently, a reader recently offered me $1,000 more than I paid for this last March, but I said no thanks. There’s more of these out there, originally 180 were on the hotel, I believe half were salvaged but it’s hard to say. Ive seen 2 or 3 come up for sale in the last couple or three years or so, so they are not rare.

The inquiry did remind me however that I was thinking last summer of modelling a reduced scale version of this, so as soon as the holiday orders are completed and shipped out I will decide on a size for this and maybe start the model soon.
The economy is of course in a big slump nation-wide and I haven’t added any new models recently except the one for a Chicago client, but I will think of adding this.

In any case, the support and everything from clients this year has been the best year ever, helped especially by a few long-time clients like Rick who adores my Art Deco… re-ordering, responses to magazine ads, referrals from contractors, and lastly, that word-of-mouth sales with visitors, friends and family to client’s homes asking where their friend/family members purchased their sculptures from has typically resulted in additional sales there.

Always great to hear the positive feedback and comments from clients!
As I say on my various pages, I’ll repeat here;

“Thank you for supporting the arts”

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Blanden Museum display

Eleven of my sculptures are now on display at the Blanden Memorial Art Museum in Fort Dodge, Iowa (Open M-Sa)
With the available pedistals and display blocks, the staff and I spent about two hours last Saturday unloading the sculptures and setting the display up in the museum around the registration/security/visitor’s desk area.

The two quick photos I took during a lecture/slideshow today at the Museum don’t do justice to just how nice the display and especially the lighting looks, simply stunning!



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Northward over the great ice

I guess I can say I am re-reading a two vol set of books I read around 20 years ago; “Northward over the great ice” by Peary. It is interesting to re-read it and gain a different perspective of this 1894 work.
I had a set that was signed by Peary himself but it was damaged by the fire sprinkler flood in Brooklyn, but I found several copies around for sale, it’s also been reprinted new but I wanted the original set.

I picked up Vol 2 really cheap a few weeks ago to read as the set in good condition runs around $100, but I just found a decent set for $60 so I bought that.

Peary was a good writer, you feel like you are there as you read. Peary detailed the weather a lot on his exploration of Greenland, and it’s interesting to note his log of the weather on one 3 day period where he said it was -50 to -60 F with an average wind of 48 MPH, he didn’t have a wind-chill chart back then as it didn’t exist, I looked up the numbers however and it was roughly about 90 degrees below zero.
Tragically his subsequent entry on that detailed looking outside the tent in the morning and finding his dogs’ legs and tails frozen in the snow and that 2 had frozen to death.

He also mentioned a curious malady several times, referring to the Eskimo term “Piblickto,” curious, I looked it up as it sounded a lot like rabies from his description of how both dogs and the Eskimo’s would be affected by this “arctic madness” and go berzerk, I discovered it was actually vitamin A poisoning!
Peary didn’t know it, but according to what I read from modern medicine- Polar bear and other Arctic animal’s livers and other organs have high amounts of vitamin A in them, Polar bear especially- enough to be toxic if consumed!
So since Peary detailed killing about 2 dozen walrus and more for winter meat, it makes sense that he would have fed the internals to the dogs, probably thinking the organs were rich in nutrients (they would be) and good for the hard working dogs pulling the sledges. What he didn’t know was, it was not a disease at all- he was slowly poisoning the dogs with high amounts of vitamin A, and some of his entries mention 3 dogs affected one day, 2 another, and so on, and that the affected dogs would go into a rage- attacking all the others in a frenzy untill they were shot.

Peary started out on one of his explorations in that book with about 90 dogs and returned with just one.

… the night to warm up the boys and keep up their spirits. The straining and flapping of the tent, the deafening roar of the wind, the devilish hissing of the drift, the howling and screaming of the poor dogs, made a pandemonium never to be forgotten. One consoling feature was the fact that, owing to the quality and construction of our fur clothing, no one of the party suffered severely from the cold while in the tent. Personally, though without sleeping-bag or any other covering beyond my deerskin travelling garments, I was entirely warm and comfortable throughout the storm. Early on Friday morning, March 23d, the wind began to subside, and at seven A.M.

I was out looking upon a scene that made me sick at heart. Half my dogs were frozen fast in the snow, some by the legs, some by the tails, and some by both. Two were dead, and all were in a most pitiable condition, their fur a mass of ice and snow driven into it by the pitiless wind. Several had freed themselves and had destroyed the double sleeping-bag and many of the harnesses which had been blown off the tripods. Baldwin’s anemometer, barograph, and thermograph, which, as the result of his ingenuity and perseverance, had kept on recording throughout the storm, showed that for thirty-four hours the average wind velocity had been over forty-eight miles per hour, and the average temperature about —50° F., with a minimum of over — 60° F.

When these figures are considered in connection with our elevation of some five thousand feet, the unobstructed sweep of the wind, and the well- known fact that ice-cap temperatures accompanied by wind are much more trying to animal life than the same temperatures at sea-level, it is believed that the judgment will be that this storm beats the record as the most severe ever experienced by any arctic party.

I decided that it was not advisable to attempt to proceed any farther this season. We were now 128 miles from the lodge. As to the condition of my party, one was now entirely out of the race with frosted feet, and must return to the lodge. Another was not entirely recovered from an attack of cramps at the last camp, and I feared another storm would bring them on again. The third had both heels and great toes frost-bitten, and was having daily attacks of bleeding from the nose. All, however, showed true grit, and were willing to push on. But the crushing blow was the existence in my pack of the dreaded and incurable piblockto, induced by the extreme exposure of the past four weeks, and which, with continued work and exposure, might easily reduce my pack to half its present number, or even exterminate it entirely. Another serious feature of the case was the lateness of the season. Instead of being at Independence Bay on the 1st of April, as I had planned.

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