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Sun, Aug. 18

Grace of nature's creations inspires sculptor's creations<BR>

A sculptor is, by definition in the Oxford Universal Dictionary, "one who practices the fine art of sculpture and produces works of statuary in marble or bronze." Dennis Taylor of Chino Valley is a professional sculptor who moved here with his wife Heidi about two and a half years ago, and does bronze, wood and stone carving.

Dennis does very intricate designs in his door knockers as shown above

"I create in anything that's carveable," Dennis said with a grin.

Dennis likes reproducing things from nature, such as hummingbirds, animals and flora. He believes he got his artistic ability from his father, but his real inspiration was his older brother Tom, an accomplished artist who died in 1983.

"Just living out here in this beautiful setting is a source of inspiration everyday," Dennis admitted.

As a young man growing up in California, Dennis took art in high school and college but also had been whittling since he was a small boy. For 30 years Dennis made his living as a builder and painting contractor, and sculpting was just a hobby. Now he is fortunate enough to be able to sculpt full time.

"I love creating functional art, which is why I got interested in door knockers" he said.

Making door-knockers requires several steps – first, Dennis sculpts each piece in clay. Then he makes a latex mold that he pours into. He refines all the details of the piece in wax before casting it in bronze. The intricate detailing in his artwork requires the use of a microscope and dentist tools to achieve the effect he wants. It generally takes from two weeks to a month to finish each door knocker. Nature inspires his work.

"I appreciate nature and strive to capture the true movement and grace of the earth's creatures in each piece I create," Dennis said.

In the future Dennis hopes to do bigger three-dimensional sculpted pieces.

"I enjoy reproducing natural things, and like the idea of people being able to enjoy my art because it's functional," he said.

Heidi is very proud of her multi-talented husband's art work.

Said Heidi, " Dennis said to me once, 'I just love creating something out of nothing.'"

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