What better mascot for an art organization than a giant 5′ salamander? After all The Great Smoky Mountains are known as the “Salamander Capital of the World!” Salamanders are an especially abundant and diverse group in the Great Smokies. In fact, the great majority of vertebrate (backboned) animals, including human visitors, in the park on any given day are salamanders.
The members of Townsend Artisan Guild were all for the adventure. But where to find the salamander? Fortunately our members are as diverse as the salamander population and not only a creative bunch but also willing to donate. The original salamander was donated by Evelyn Bryant and came from Florida, therefore the “gecko-ish” look to him.
It was decided by the group to hang the potential mascot on the east side of the Gallery building which added an “artsy” visual attraction for folks traveling East to West on Lamar Alexander Parkway. Taking it upon myself to “transform” Mr. Gecko to an native inhabitant of East Tennessee, I took him home to work some sculpting magic. He lived in my garage for a couple months while I worked on making him look not only more like a salamander but also determining the best method for weather proofing.
I sanded. Layered,
Layered again, and again
Fluffed and stuffed him to be more the shape of a realistic salamander.
Painted again, and again
Sealed and sealed and sealed.
Finally he found his way home to the Gallery. Many thanks to Bill Shinn, master salamander installer guy, for managing to install the 5′ sculpture to a rock wall!
Thanks to all the members of Townsend Artisan Guild for participating in this venture. It was truly a group effort. The original donation by Evelyn Bryant, the input and ideas of the studio artists, Susan Cooper obtaining permission from the owner of the building and the City of Townsend, the artist contributions for ideas on mounting him on the wall, etc. The list goes on. The forum is open and all members invited to contribute via this blog for a name for the newest member of TAG.
Townsend Artisan Guild Gallery and Studios
7719 E. Lamar Alexander Pkwy.
PO Box 403
Wednesday-Saturday 10:00 – 5:00
Sunday 1:30 – 5:00