Wednesday, May 24, 2006

They Are Here!

Dick’s glasses came today, my only personal affects that have come of Dick’s. Whenever sculpting posthumous sculpture I cherish the time with personal affects. This is all I have but it is so great. I will make a mold of these glasses and cast them in wax so that they will then be made in bronze. I will need to have these wax glasses for me to be able to work on the bust or head of Dick. So I’ll get on that right away. This is so great!

Is This Dick On The Bench?

Believe it or not this is how the sculpture starts. A bunch of pipe, wire, and spray foam. This is the beginning of the armature. The armature is what the clay is put on. An armature is very important. It needs to be stable but light. A good armature makes an artist’s job easy, a bad armature can become nightmare later through the sculpting process. If I can lighten my armature with foam then it makes for a lighter sculpture and much easier to work with. So yes, for right now this is Dick on the bench.

I Am So Excited!

A few days ago I received this e-mail from Nancy, Dick’s daughter.

Hi Bridgette,
I did find glasses and they are on their way to you.

Take care,


I was thrilled! It is a huge thing, not many people would realize, but it is really important for me and for the sculpture. As you watch the process you will see. Can’t wait!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Creative Process

In my first semester at Vermont College as I studied the process of posthumous sculpture for my book"Bringing to Life the Spirit of the Deceased - A Sculptor’s Journey." I noted there are documented stages of the creative process.
“In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, German, physiologist Herman Helmholtz and mathematician Henri Poincaré defined four steps in the creative process: saturation, incubation, illumination and verification. American Psychologist George Kneller later added first insight to the list of stages of the creative process. Artists, scientists, mathematicians, and musicians journey through all these stages as they are creating a piece of artwork, seeking new ideas and solutions or creating music. Each phase of the creative process is a little different.”

In the case of the Dick Hathaway sculpture, first insight might be the idea of creating this work of art. Then I enter the stage of saturation, which that I am in now. I am saturating myself with everything that is Dick Hathaway. I feel that I am quickly entering incubation. Everything that I am finding out about Dick will incubate within me and will continue as I begin sculpting. Illumination comes when I have captured Dick, his likeness and his spirit. Verification is checking everything to make sure it works.

Saturation and verification are something that I can do physically. I can manipulate that part of the creative process. The other three are more mystical in nature. I have spoken with my husband often about this subject. He, too, is an artist. I believe you can welcome and entice the creative process, but you cannot harness it—creativity kind of floats out there. You just try to make all things ready and hope you will “catch the wave and ride it in.”

… In my inner journey and research of this idea of creating posthumous portraiture I wonder, does something or someone meet me in this mystical place of the creative process?”

Waiting is honoring

I also want to wait from one commission to the next as it feels more honoring to my subject. Sometimes one commission will overlap the other in some aspects of the sculpting. For example Patsy and Lucas.

Most of that "Peter Pan" stage comes within the face of the individual, though there is a great deal of knowing in the pose and posture of my subject as well.

You will see as I work on the sculpture of Dick that I will create the head separate from the body. When I feel I have reached the "Peter Pan" stage with the head I may proceed to work with another commission. As of this date both Lucas’ and Jeanine’s face have been approved. Lucas’ body should be approved soon and then both commissions will go to the next stage of the bronze process-the mold making. That is a mechanical process and requires no feeling or emotion from the artist. All of this means that it is a perfect time for me to begin Dick.

Never Two At Once?

When working on commissions of individuals I try never to work on more than one at a time. The reason for this is that I have a difficult time separating each. Somehow I feel that the personalities get mixed up within the clay. I don’t know if anyone else can feel it, but I do. I have to wait for what I call my "Peter Pan" stage.

This is how I explain it in the book
“There is a scene in the movie “Hook” where a little boy comes up to the grown-up Peter Pan, played by Robin Williams. He mushes his face around pushing gently here and pulling there. The contours of Robin Williams’ face change like a piece of silly puddy, and then at one point the little boy holds the face, mushed in his hands, smiles as if some great revelation has just taken place and says, “There you are Peter Pan.” It is that same illumination that I feel when I approach this point in the sculpture. Often, in jest with the clay and myself I will push past that point of frustration, and when I capture the essence of the subject it is such an “Ahha” moment, that I will mutter to myself“ There you are Peter Pan.” It doesn’t matter who the subject is, male, female, child or adult, it is just that the childlike wonder fills me up. The Peter Pan revelation is my own game between the clay and me.”

Once I reach this stage, once I “have” the subject then I can proceed to the next sculpture commission. As I documented the last four commissions for the book and my study I noticed that my stage of “having it” may not be what my client perceives as me gaining the likeness. Lucas’ face had to be reworked several times, mostly due to the fact that I had very little good photographic reference and sculpting a five year old with photograph reference that is a year or two old is drastically different then sculpting a seventy year old person with photographs that are even five or ten years old. Children change. But even though minute changes needed to be made I knew I had him. There was a peace inside of me and the anxious feeling of searching for Lucas was gone. With each sculpture there is that anxiousness until I know I have them. The commission of Jeanine that I finished last week was similar. Interestingly enough the mother felt the pain that I felt with the photograph that I was using for her eyes. After changing the eyes a bit the mother felt it was a more peaceful sculpture. Though there may have been pain in the eyes I still felt that Jeanine had reached the "Peter Pan" stage.

Ways To Look at a Photograph.

Through my study I have discovered that there are several ways that I look at a photograph. The first way is just as anyone would, “Nice scene, great memory captured”. The second is much more emotional. I “feel” things from the photographs. In the case of Jeanine, there were some photographs that actually caused me physical pain. The third way is mechanically. In this part of the sculpting I return back to the mechanical ways of comparing, “If his face is so wide, then his shoulders are one and one half the distance of the face, etc.. etc..”

Too Sensitive

This semester I am studying emotion and touch as it pertains to my sculpture and to myself as a sculptor. In the past I have studied the idea that I might have psychic empathy or there may be something spiritual going on concerning my commissions. I can’t say I really talk to the dead or anything. Though I do say, “Good morning” to each of the commissions in the studio and have been known to chat with them. I can’t say I am talking to the dead though, it is more like I am talking to my clay, and I tend to do this with all commissions, alive or deceased.

It was brought to my attention that I “develop a relationship with the deceased.” That seemed strange to me at first. How can one do that? But that is what I do. I look forward to getting to know Dick better, through this commission.

I have always been known as the child who was too sensitive, too emotional. I believe that this is why I can do what I do with sculpting the deceased.

Missing An Important Element, Dick’s Clothes

I miss not having Dick’s clothes. Nancy called and said there are no clothes left, only a pair of pajamas. I could go to the thrift store and buy some old clothes as reference, but I am afraid they will be an emotional hindrance. Let me explain… With each posthumous commission there is a point when the box of personal affects arrives at my door. That is a special time for me. I carve out my space within the day and prepare myself for what emotions will come to me. Sometimes that is not easy, as was the case with Jeanine my first posthumous sculpture that was a death by suicide. That sculpture was filled with emotion, and even after receiving the box of affects I had to travel through some difficult emotions to finally capture Jeanine.

The box of affects and the clothes feeds me somehow. When I have the opportunity of having a box and clothes I also don’t want anyone to touch them or wear them until I have had time alone with them. Then I can turn them over to the model to put on and pose, creating a stand-in for my subject.

I have nothing of Dick Hathaway’s and in many ways I feel empty because of it. The closest I can come to a “personal affects” was the afternoon I spent in Dick’s office. I wish I could have taken some of it home with me. Even when I went through the box of photographs my friend wanted to reach in the box and touch the items. I believe I may have snapped at him. “Please leave these things to me, let me touch them first. “ I surprised myself at the comment and my forwardness.

Dick's tie. I was told he kept this in his office just in case he needed it. I could not take it with me so I scanned it. Just something else that was in the memorial box.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

First Steps-Proportions

I received photographs from Nancy and wanted to describe one of my first steps in this process. One photograph was of her with Dick and the other was a recent one. I had requested that she take a picture of her with a ruler under her chin. Remember all of this part of the creative process is about comparisons. As I precede you will begin to understand my motives with these photographs.

Who would think that a sculptor that works in clay would have to know such things as Photoshop or computer programs? I do use digital images quite often and having the knowledge of different programs can make my job a lot easier.

Nancy said her face has changed some since the wedding photograph was taken. I know that the space between the eyes is going to be the same between the old photograph and the new photograph.

First, I scan both photographs and make them the same size, matching Nancy’s eyes. After doing this I have reduced the photograph of Nancy with the ruler down to match the size of her in the other wedding photograph. Now I have a ruler that can be used to take some measurements of Dick (notice wedding picture has ruler over Nancy's head).
Of course this only gives me very few measurements on one plane. If I had the real person in front of me I would take several measurements for the sculpture. On the face many measurements begin with the crock of the ear, for example from the crook of the ear to the chin, the crook of the ear to the nose the crook of the ear to the forehead and there are others like the width of the face. (Below is an example of my measurement chart for portrait sculpture.)

On Dick Hathaway’s body I will want several measurements. Ankle to knee, knee to hip, the length of the arms, shoulder to elbow, elbow to wrist. I’ll also need to figure out how tall Dick is when he is sitting. There are many unknowns and many guesses I’ll be making, but the input from photographs like these will help.

Not having the person in front of me makes my job much harder, so I try and find comparisons to other people and objects. When I sculpted Patsy I had a picture of her on the bench with her husband, Howard. I had a picture of myself taken on the bench with Howard and compared the shape of all of our bodies and faces together to come up with Patsy.

I also found and old photograph of Dick standing next to the shelves in the Noble Reading Room, at Vermont College. I called security at the college and asked them if they would check the photograph to be sure that it is from Noble and asked if they would mind measuring the shelves. I can see the knee in this picture and the bend in the arm, something that I could not see in the wedding photograph.

I am certain of the measurement of forty-six-inches to his chest. While at Vermont College I measured the podium. I had a few pictures of Dick standing behind that same podium.

I have included my sketch of proportions and measurements. It is a mess of doodles and thoughts but this is great progress and from here I can actually begin the process of creating an armature for Dick Hathaway.

May 10th, Finally The Blog Goes Live!

I am so glad to have this blog up. It is hard work trying to get my commissions that are in house complete and prepare to work on Dick. I hope the money for this project comes in effortlessly, because I don’t know how much time I can put into fundraising right away. I am so glad to have the blog live and indebted to my proofreaders.

May 9th - Back to Dick After A Long Road Trip

I just returned home from a long weekend of helping my daughter come home from college in Tulsa. There is no rest for the weary. As soon as I got home it was right back to it. My first phone call was from Nancy, Dick’s stepdaughter. I was elated. It was so nice to have that greeting awaiting me and encouraging me on the project. It never ceases to amaze me how important having contact with friends and loved ones is to the process of sculpting the deceased. I hope that many people will share their experiences of Dick Hathaway and Charlotte Hastings, that sharing becomes as much a part of the process as the sculpting.

Are the rumors true, where will Dick go?

Yes, it is true that Vermont College hopes to sell the campus to the University of Vermont.  Everyone seems to concur that Dick needs to be at the Montpelier campus.  I am working with the T. W. Wood Gallery and their Board of Trustees to be sure they will be the protectors of Dick.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

May 5- A Photo of Nancy and Dick

May 5,
I was absolutely thrilled to go to my P.O. Box and find a photograph of Dick with Nancy at her wedding.  It is a full-body shot of Dick Hathaway with Nancy standing right next to him.  As a resource for a sculptor this photograph is so wonderful! I can estimate Dick’s proportions from Nancy’s proportions.  I wish I had more of these type of photographs but this is great, I am thrilled to have it.  I also have that photograph that I requested of Nancy with the ruler under her chin.  I can’t wait for a moment to do some sketches and figure out Dick’s proportions. 

            Looking at the photograph I can’t help but think, “My, Dick had long legs!”

HELP! I Need Dick's Glasses

Please, is there anyone out there that has access to old glasses that can help me find a pair of glasses that look like Dick Hathaway’s? Ideally it would be great to have his glasses, but this will do in a pinch. I would like to make a mold of his glasses and cast them in bronze. I can get them back to you if you need them. Please, please help.

It Is Actually May 3rd- A Schedule And A Pose

It is actually May 3rd and I have just set up my schedule for the Dick Hathaway project.

Sculpting- May-July
 Foundry mold-August 2, 2006
* $4,000 needed as deposit

Foundry cast- August 30, 2006
Sculpture ships from Houston- October 11, 2006
*Balance of donations needed

Sculpture arrives at Montpelier- October 25, 2006
Unveiling of sculpture- Saturday, October 28, 2006

 “This is insane”, I think.  A real test of my abilities to get this thing sculpted in such a short amount of time.  If only I had all of my reference material in advance.  I hope that won’t keep me from proceeding.  I have all sorts of doubts, “Will the money come through in time?”  Just think about my job now, the next thing I can do, putting one foot in front of the other.  It is something that many of my clients do as they are trying to get through life after the death of a loved one. I proclaim, it’s for Dick, it’s for Charlotte. That gives me the incentive to keep going.

I had my apprentice put together a fake bench. I'll create the sculpture of Dick on this bench.   While at residency at Vermont College in spring of 2006. I borrowed the measuring tape from the maintenance crew and took measurements of the bench. 
I also had one of my fellow students, James, pose on the bench in a similar pose to what I had hoped the sculpture would be in. Of course James never knew Dick Hathaway, and he could not sense his stature or the way he held his body.  I hope that I can bring the pose of Dick in by using the photographs that are provided and a with a little of the artist’s intuition that I have written so much about 

I’m excited about this make-shift bench, it is the beginning.

Dreams of Dick Hathaway and Charlotte Hastings

The residency after the semester that Dick died I had a dream about Dick.  I was walking around College Hall and there he was-bigger than life. Dick Hathaway was kicked back on the green, on what appeared to be some type of large AC unit.  I looked up at him, because he really was quite huge and said, “What are you doing here Dick?” He said, “Just keeping an eye on things.”

This past semester I had a dream about Charlotte Hastings.  She too was out on the green, dressed in her silly socks, sneakers and a skirt. She was very focused on what she was doing.  There on the green Charlotte was cutting the grass with a push mower.  I asked her why she was doing it and she said something like, “Because it needs to get done.”

What Would Dick Think About a Sculpture?

I think quite a bit about that lately.  Dick would probably think it is too much, but then Charlotte would be right there telling him to get with it, and how important it is. Can’t you just see those two in heaven?  Then he might respond as the curator of the T. W.  Wood gallery said, “This is really quite wonderful!”

I know Dick might like the money to go elsewhere, but my point in doing this sculpture is so that others, long after I am not around, will ask, “Who was this man?”  In doing this they will hear about him and the way he helped others, perhaps they will even get the urge to be more like this modest man that everyone thought so much of that  he was honored with a life-size bronze sculpture.

Charlotte’s Help

Anyone who is a part of Vermont College knows that in residency you pick your advisor.  I had planned on culminating with Charlotte Hastings.  Coming to residency to enter my culminating semester and trying to find someone to be my advisor seemed futile.  No one was Charlotte.  I soon realized that I needed to work with Blythe because Blythe was close to Charlotte.  Now this seems strange but working with Blythe brings me closer to Charlotte and in turn helps me to find Dick.  Wow, I have a hard time even understanding that, but I know that it is true.

Visiting Dick’s Wife

In the October 05 residency I went to visit Ruth, Dick’s wife, to tell her about the sculpture.  My instructor Charlotte Hastings came with me. While there I took this photograph.

 I was told that this is the chair where Dick corrected the packets for the ADP program.  To me this chair is as much a photograph and a part of Dick as a picture of his face. 

            This is the beginning of searching for the spirit of Dick Hathaway.

            While there Charlotte told Ruth about the sculpture.  I held Ruth’s hand and promised I would try to do him justice.  I think I heard her say, “I know.”  Her eyes twinkled, we both cried. 

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Visiting with Dick

Though it took some doing I was able to get into Dick Hathaway’s office just before leaving the spring residency.  I actually visited twice.  My first visit was in the morning to scope things out before a meeting.  My goal was to find the memorial photographs that Charlotte had promised to copy.

Sarah Hooker from Goddard College, had been in charge of the memorial photographs and had explained that they were in a brown hamper in Dick's office. I was ecstatic when we found them and now I had to come back to be alone with these photographs. I also brought my digital camera to take some photographs of things that were Dicks.

“A first edition of pilgrims progress,” my friend who brought the scanner proclaimed.  I was in awe at all of these old things. They seem to carry so much emotion and a special presence, but my infatuation was with Dick.  She asked if I would be all right in the office by myself.  I am not sure why she was concerned.  I was ecstatic to spend time alone in the room.

After she left I took picture of the Christmas lights that were hanging from the book shelves. Other students had told me stories about these lights. I wandered through looking at books and taking pictures of the bookshelves. Though the collection of Dick's books had been sold and I am sure much had been removed, Dick was still there.  I marveled at the collection of things. It made me long for more time with him while he was on this earth, or to have had the honor of having been one of Dick’s students.

I was unable to get permission to remove the pictures so a friend had loaned me her scanner. The scanner was slow so scanning the memorial photographs took a long time.  It felt funny to have this Macintosh, scanner and digital camera amongst all of those historical things.

  While alone in the room something did fall or was moved.  Most people would have jumped, I did not even flinch, although now I wish I would have noted what was moved or had fallen but I was too enthralled with the photographs.

There were photographs of Dick at all angles, some full figure, some just a face.  I was glad for everything I could find.  No matter how many references I have, I will never have enough. Halfway through the box I came upon another picture of Charlotte.  It was at a commencement of sorts and all of the instructors were standing together.  Oddly enough, everyone was looking off camera except for Charlotte who stared right at the camera and in turn at me. “I know honey, I’m working on it, thanks for helping get into the office,” I said.  To me another simple confirmation that Charlotte was watching.
The last photograph that I came upon once again startled me.  It was not of Dick at all, but of Charlotte. She was with Ruth, just like she had been the last time we had seen each other.  Touching the picture I cried.

Charlotte guides the project?

Call them coincidences, some people would, I have accepted them as something else.  They are the little things that I see happen while working with posthumous sculpture.  My entire three semesters and the book that I am writing "Bringing to Life the Spirit of the Deceased—A Sculptor’s Journey." is about the process and those little nuances.  It has been a difficult and weird thing for me to even think; do I communicate with the dead?  I know there is a connection, I don’t see the deceased, until I have pulled them from the clay, but I do sense things. 

            I asked one of my clients how they felt about the entire idea.  Ellie’s mom said she knew I had a connection and felt a bit jealous.  (photograh of posthumous sculpture of Ellie below. Ellies story can be found at

I have found that often I know things about the pose or the family, little things, Mostly it is something that I feel emotionally.  They are things that I would not otherwise know.

            For example, I try to have someone pose for each sculpture.  I need concrete reference so I usually try and find someone about the same size to pose in the clothes that are provided. For Patsy’s sculpture her best friend flew down from Vegas to pose. When the photographs were developed I looked at the photographs and said, “This is not how Patsy would sit.”  I had already begun the sculpture but called the family to ask them if I could change the pose.  They told me they were thinking of calling me and asking me to change it, that I was right.  How did I know this?  I had never met Patsy.

             With the sculpture of Jeanine I had three days where I felt a tremendous amount of feeling of pride over Jeanine’s accomplishments.  I could not shake it and thought that perhaps I was focusing on a photograph of her in her graduation gown; after all, graduation was what I was hoping for myself.  I just allowed those feelings to infuse my sculpture and the process. On the third day I received an e-mail from Jeanine’s mother explaining that she was feeling such pride for her daughter.  Jeanine’s mom lives in Alaska and I live in Texas.  Is that coincidence?

            It is difficult to explain this empathy, this feeling or sensing thing concerning my sculpture, and it is taking me an entire book to define it.  As they happen with the Dick Hathaway sculpture, I’ll be sure to let you know.  The first that I want to tell here, and a few others that I will mention later, also deal with Charlotte.

            Once I made the conscious decision to pursue this sculpture for myself, the school, and for Charlotte I found the only moment in a day during a very busy residency and called Nancy, Dick’s daughter, at her work to introduce myself.  It was in the hall on the fourth floor of College Hall while waiting for  Blythe’s lecture.   A friend later told me that she got off the elevator on the fourth floor and felt Charlotte so strong it almost knocked her over.  When she turned the corner she saw me on the phone. Was it coincidence that someone felt Charlotte while I was making the first steps to continue with this sculpture?  I must say that this friend did not know what I was doing before she sensed this.

            To me it was confirmation.  Charlotte is still a part of the project.

            At the culminating presentation that Wednesday in the April 2006 ADP cycle I brought my digital camera. As people gathered I was looking in the window of the camera trying desperately to figure out how to turn the sound off on my caemra so that when I took pictures the camera did not chime.  I floated through all the menus and then turned the dial to a different setting and saw Charlotte.  It startled me.  It turns out I was holding the graduation program under the camera and I had not realized that it was pointed at the photo of Charlotte that was put on the back of the program.  A perfectly framed Charlotte stood looking at me.

Also in Memory of Charlotte Hastings

            Charlotte Hastings had a signed release form from Ruth and was helping to gather information for the sculpture.  She was so pleased that this sculpture was going to happen and I was devastated when I heard of Charlotte’s passing.  It was then that I realized that my motivation of doing the sculpture was in part for Charlotte. 

This past semester was busy.  I was trying to attempt fifty-one credits to be able to culminate in November of 2006.  I had no time to work on the Dick Hathaway project or to mourn Charlotte’s death.  My grief over Charlotte passing was as deep as hers over Dick’s.  It was not until the last residency in April of 2006. We were in the school’s memorial service for Charlotte. I expressed my longing for Charlotte to be here working on this with me, and I heard the words spoken by Blythe Silano, “But Charlotte loved Dick”.  Those thoughts began to ring in my heart and renewed the sculpture.  For me this sculpture is not just in memory of Dick Hathaway it is also in memory of my friend and advisor, Charlotte Hastings. 

A picture of Charlotte and myself, residency 2005. This was the semester residency that we planned the sculpture of Dick.

Comparisons- Did Professor Hathaway have a large head?

            I find myself yearning for something to compare.  Nancy said she had a picture of herself with Dick.  I was so intrigued.  If Dick is on the same plane as Nancy’s face then I can utilize her face to get the size of Dick’s head.  Funny, the more I think about Dick’s head the more I ask myself, “Wasn’t it larger than normal?”  I laugh thinking that maybe I am imagining his intelligence and replacing it for the actual size of his head, but then again I can’t help but wonder.  Did Dick Hathaway’s head larger than normal?

            I wished I had my sculpting calipers and could have measured Nancy’s head to compare it to Dick’s, but because I was the one initiating the project I wondered if I was intruding too much on Nancy, even if Nancy seemed very comfortable with my requests. 

            I am grateful of her acceptance of the project because I have found there are two totally different views about posthumous sculpture; you either love it or hate it. Having a three dimensional figure of a loved one that you can touch is difficult for some people, it may be difficult for some of the readers of this blog who see the sculpture.  For others it is the greatest tribute. I think about Patsy and I hope her grandchildren will come to her sculpture and talk with her.  Maybe slip love notes or flowers in her bronze hands.

            And with the sculpture of Dick I hope people ask, “Who is the man that is motioning to me from across the green?” If people ask then those knowing and loving Dick can tell them what a great man he was, describe his passions and in turn the they and Dick live on.

            I asked Nancy, Dick's step-daughter, if someone could take a photograph of her holding a ruler under her chin.  What a silly question to ask someone.  But to the artist this is so important.  Does anyone reading this blog have a picture of himself or herself with Dick both on the same plane?  If so, could they send it to me and would they mind helping me with measurements?  I need this ASAP

            I found some photographs in the memorial photographs with Dick next to the podium at Vermont College.  Before leaving I went and measured the podium.  Maybe I can utilize this to help me to find Dick's measurements.  Compare, Compare, Compare.

I still find myself yearning for the clothes. Shoes….

The subject’s clothes make a huge difference

Last residency in April of 2006 I spent a great deal of time trying to find Dick.  I met his step daughter Nancy and introduced myself. I asked her for photographs and tried to impress the importance of finding Dick’s clothes.  Someone said I could find the most modest of clothes and that would work, but for me it would lack something, they would not be Dick’s.  I think of each time I have received articles of clothing from the families that commission me.  Examining the clothes has always been an important part of the commission process.  The moments I spent with Patsy’s Dress and shoes, and Lucas’ shorts, shirt and sneakers, help me to “feel” something that somehow is translated into the clay.

              The element of a person's clothing also give me a concrete item to work from when I am trying to pull something from the abstract.  I know how long a leg is by the length of the pants.  With Patsy’s dress I was able to figure out measurements on her face and body from the space between the buttons on her dress.
I could compare this to photographs of her with the same dress and know her proportions.  Ah, to have Dicks’ clothes and a photograph of him in those clothes; that would be the ultimate.


I have noticed that often the sculpture seems to grow from the feet upward.  I can copy a shoe in clay exactly and then move on through the sculpture. Here is a picture is of the newsboy sculpture shoe, I added real brads to the clay and shoelaces.

Looking for Dick Hathaway

This sculpture commission is somewhat different from those that I am used to.  Usually I have a contact, a client who approaches me to do a bronze of their loved one.  In the case of the sculpture of Dick Hathaway this sculpture has come to be because of my own enthusiasm and desire. 

            In some ways I am my own client.  This makes much more work for me.  Usually the personal affects and photographs are provided to me.  Instead I have to go seeking out these items. Of course my clients provide the funds,  but not so in the case of the Dick Hathaway Memorial.  I am trying to raise the balance of at least $ 9,000 after my personal donation of $16,00+

             No matter what the posthumous sculpture subject, I still spend a great deal of time trying to find my subject, immersing myself in who they were.  Whether it is like the last three commissions; Patsy, a mother in Texas, Lucas, a five year old in Arkansas or  Jeanine, twenty-six year old form Alaska, my work is finding them. I spend time meditating and searching for each one.  In some ways there are advantages to my initiating this project.   For one thing I had the pleasure of meeting Dick Hathaway, however short our interaction was. I was still able to know a part of him in life that in most of my posthumous sculpture projects I never have that luxury. 

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

An Introduction

I should probably start by introducing myself.  My name is Bridgette Mongeon I am a sculptor and writer living in Houston, Texas and I am a student at Vermont College Union Institute in Vermont.  I am presently in my culminating semester and will be graduating on November 1, 2006. 

            My study through my three semesters has been continuous; I am working on a book titled "Bringing to life the Spirit of the Deceased – A Sculptor’s Journey".  I have been a sculptor for over twenty years and one of the things that I specialize in is posthumous sculpture.  After Dick Hathaway’s passing at residency in October of 2005 I proposed to Vermont College to do a sculpture of Dick Hathaway.  At first it was going to be a bust, but I longed for a life size bronze to be placed on the green outside of the historical building of College Hall. I am donating my sculpting time, and because I often do part of the casting process including mold making and wax I can also donate that part of the foundry fees if necessary.  I am in need of further funding for casting and shipping the sculpture to Vermont. The details of the costs of creating this memorial can be found on my web site at you will also find information there on how you can donate to the project and help to raise the minimum amount of $9,000 that is needed for casting Dick in Bronze. 

            My heart’s desire is to have this sculpture done and received by Vermont College by November 1, 2006, the date of my culmination.  My culminating presentation will be on finding and capturing the spirit of Dick Hathaway in sculpture. Though it is a quick turn around for sculpting and casting a bronze, I do expect to meet the challenge and extend my personal invitation to each of you for the unveiling of the Dick Hathaway sculpture and my presentation

            Given that six months is a short amount of time for sculpting, casting and shipping a bronze, much depends upon my having the necessary funding to finish the job before that date.  If for some reason it is postponed, then Dick will have to sit in my studio until the rest of the money is raised.  I can think of worse things than having Dick Hathaway hanging around.
Those interested in viewing my work can see it on my web site at
My most recent commissions was a life size newsboy commissioned by the Texas Press Association and intended for the state capitol in Austin. I have documented the process of sculpting the newsboy at

I have also just finished a life size bronze of Patsy-a posthumous commission of a 60-year-old sitting on a bench. In addition, I’m finishing up a life size bronze of Lucas-a five year old running, and life size bronze bust of Jeanine a twenty six year old, both of which are posthumous sculptures.  

            The purpose of this blog is to share the adventure of the sculpting Dick Hathaway so that everyone can be a part of it.  I would love to hear your stories about Dick.  I am also very excited to hear the “Hathawayisms.”  And please, if you have photographs of Dick they would be extremely helpful to the sculpture process.  You can mail your copies to my mailing address: Bridgette Mongeon, P.O. Box 10562, Houston, Texas 77206 or you can send them digitally through e-mail.

            I also hope to raise awareness of the project through this blog to encourage the donation of funds.  I have set up a separate account at Whitney Bank in Houston, Texas.  Unfortunately, donations are not tax deductible. I am sorry that I could not get a not-for -profit organization involved so that the donations would be tax deductible. There was just not enough time.

            If you would like to view the financials and schedule for the project you can do so at