Mount Morris, Illinois — Some artists prefer to make it from clay, while others prefer to make it from wood or marble. However, one artist was encouraged to sculpt using a more unusual medium.
Making a snowman in his twenties was the first to arouse the artist’s interest in sculpture by Fran Voltz.
“This is the angel Marilyn Monroe,” he said, looking at the picture of the snow sculpture.
Today, his art studio, once a hardware store, is a great workshop.
“I specialize in larger statues, especially the human body. The human form,” Voltz said.
He has worked in all kinds of media.
“Over the years, I’ve been pretty good at chicken wire, fiberglass, and Styrofoam,” he said.
He carved monuments, Greek gods, and even boxing robots.
But it was the more rustic straw medium that turned out to be one of his most unique.
“It’s a naturally growing type of plant, and as you know, I’ve never actually worked in it, so it was a challenge,” Volz said.
His first straw work took five months to create. A huge 21ft 600lb replica of the Statue of Liberty. It was built into the section and assembled using a crane.
“We put a door behind it and you could look inside and see the summit of the Statue of Liberty.”
Straw sculpture is an art form practiced all over the world, including Japan and China. Voltz first came across it on his visit to Germany.
To create the piece, you can weave straw around the chicken wire with a wooden frame as a support.
In 2016, Volz determined that the challenge of straw sculpture could stimulate interest in art forms here in the United States.
“I used a friend who is carving snow from Rockford and other places in Wisconsin and told them about it. And I said,” Do you want to turn your talent into straw too? “?” Said Volz.
This year marks the 6th National Straw Sculpture Competition in the United States.
Here in Mount Morris, Illinois, artists have tried out their work.
“It’s exciting to see the straw sculptures. It’s exciting. Jeff Bold, chairman of Angkor Mount Morris, the organizer of the annual convention, said:
The entry must be at least 6.5 feet high or wide and have a surface made of at least 90% straw.
“The first year I made this giant bison. It was amazing. That’s why I was hooked,” said rival Doreen White.
From the beginning, Voltz has created numerous straw sculptures, including ballerinas and giant spiders with nightmarish proportions.
And as for the future, he still has one idea that is moving around.
“I was thinking of turning the scuba diver upside down and going down like a treasure chest,” says Volz. “I might do it in the snow too. Do you know?”
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