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Sculpting students break the summer school mold

Students get some tips from instructor Lorne Winters. Photo by Laura Colvin (click for larger version)

July 21, 2010 - Kids who spent last week up to their elbows in Winterstone, a sculpture modeling and carving compound, are something special.

That's the word from engineer-turned-sculptor Lorne P. Winters, who worked with the Lake Orion High School Art Club to create new pieces for the school's sculpture garden.

"The kids are fabulous," said Winters, who developed the Winterstone product and conducts numerous workshops for adults and teens across the country. "They've been great. I've had adults, who think they know everything, and don't do as well as these kids."

The project, said Melissa Wilson, an LOHS art teacher who heads the art club, was supported by a State of Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural affairs mini-grant.

The $4,000 grant, she said, covered the cost of last week's sculpting workshop, as well a May workshop, in which students worked with an artist from Kalamazoo to make welded metal flowers for the garden.

"We learned a lot about teamwork and following directions," said Wilson, noting she and the group had a lot of help from her husband, Dave, who helped out all week.

The club made an attempt at working with Winterstone last year, but had to toss the project after running into problems.

"This was something no one know anything about, and we wouldn't have been able to do it without (Winters)," Wilson said. "We had a lot of questions along the way, and he's been great with the kids."

Winters said he was there to help, but made it a point to avoid designing the students' sculptures.

"But I'll definitely make suggestions," he said, explaining that his engineering background helps spot potential problems structure and stability issues, so the student creations will last for generations.

In one group of three, students explained the initial design for their sculpture was mostly Nick Sena's idea.

But the design evolved over the week.

"Apparently it wouldn't have stood up properly," Sena said, noting Winters gave some tips for adjusting the design to stabilize the finished product.

The finished sculpture, Andrew Ferguson explained, would look like a crumbling Egyptian ruin.

"You should have seen it two days ago," said Nick Kim. "It was nothing."

Another group chose a more organic design, and derived the inspiration from a bucket of seashells.

Creating the form, said Molly Stajniak, was the most difficult part.

Nikki Roach agreed, adding that the material had a cumulative drying -- and painful -- effect on her hands, until she finally donned a pair of gloves a few days into the project.

Unlike clay, Winterstone doesn't need any costly secondary processing, said Winters, a Canadian resident born and raised in Toronto.

This product is presently being introduced and marketed commercially to the sculpting community.

Interested? Visit www.winterstone.com, or check out the LOHS sculpture garden, open to the public.

Lake Orion Review Editor
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