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Tue, Nov. 12

Local sculptor finds success in equine subjects<BR><I>Passion for unique art form all started with Cub Scouts</I>

A sturdy 150-lb. bull named Big Mac currently grazes outside of the Prescott Valley Civic Center on a daily basis.

While most adult bulls weigh more than 1,000 pounds, this one is lighter because of his unusual steel frame. The bull is just one of Connie Foss' many artworks that can be seen in the tri-city area. The Prescott resident is best known for her ornate woodcarvings of horses and other animals. Foss also sculpts with the mediums of clay and metal.

Her duties as a Cub Scouts den mother sparked a woodcarving hobby after she assigned her sons' troop to carve bear claws.

"At that time we as family were just starting to show horses and we wanted to put up stall decorations," Foss said. "So I said, 'Hey, if I can whittle a bear claw, I can carve a horse head'. That is how it started."

In 1971, Foss' late husband, Rob, asked her if she would mind selling one of the horse carvings. She sold her first carving for $50 and said she was amazed that anyone would want to pay for one of her pieces. The Foss family sold the family business in 1981, which gave Connie the freedom to envelop herself in her work on a full-time basis.

The artisan and her husband moved to the Prescott area in 1989, where she decided to take several sculpture classes at Yavapai College. These experiences led Foss to expand her mediums to steel and clay.

She finds these mediums much more relaxing because she does not have to abide by specific designs. When she carves a wooden design, she relies upon a detailed drawing.

"The welding is much more freeing because you can kind of go with it," Foss said. A quick tour of the outside of Foss' home shows some of her many metal sculptures, but a step inside reveals that she has not lost her love for wood sculpture.

"My favorite woods to carve, number one is Honduras mahogany; it is the Cadillac of the mahoganies," she said. "It is hardwood that has a grain in it that you know what it is going to do."

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