This “human sundial” is built with path of months, somewhat like a hopscotch board, along with vertical hour markers arranged in an ellipse around the date path. Standing on the square for the current month, a person acts as the sundial’s gnomon, with their shadow pointing to the hour.
The sundial is located behind the Parsonage building at the Cummington Historical Museum (Kingman Tavern Museum), and the hour markers also tell local history through sculpture, text and painted images. Four of the markers are pedestals displaying sculptures of historic figures: William Cullen Bryant, 19th century suffragette Henrietta Nahmer, historian Bill Streeter, and Colonel John Cuming, after whom our town is named (he spelled it with only 1 “m”).
The rest of the hour markers are built from pieces of the timber frame barn that used to stand behind the Parsonage. Mounted on some of these timbers are poems about town history written by Olive Thayer, a former resident from a historic Cummington family, for our 1979 bicentennial. A town-wide poetry contest will provide poems that bring our history up to the present day. Other markers reference the pre-colonial indigenous presence on our land, Cummington’s cultural and literary legacies, and our support of the abolitionist movement. A workshop in tile painting will be offered to residents and visitors in late July, and these tiles will be added to the installation.
The sundial is a fun interactive local history experience. If the Historical Commission agrees, the piece can stay in place beyond the time-frame of this exhibition and continue to evolve with additional contributions from the artist and the community.
My sculptures, like scenes on a stage, capture moments of distilled emotion. Classically sculpted figures in a contemporary world invite the viewer to engage in silent dialogue. My figures and masks are characters with stories to tell. Some contain interior dioramas, paintings or texts that add to the narrative. My art is inspired by almost 40 years as a theatrical mask- maker and principal makeup artist with Los Angeles Opera. Wearable masks evolved into art masks, then into heads, busts and full figures. I trained as a prop maker for theater, and learned to work in a variety of materials. In my sculpture, my choice of ceramic, bronze, resin, fabric, and mixed media also adds to the depiction of character.
I have been a professional sculptor for almost 40 years. In addition to the exhibitions mentioned above, I was hired to sculpt relief panels on the Dutch House in Brookline, MA, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Other awards include grants from the National Education Association, several Cultural Councils and has received Artist-in-Residence grants to create public art projects with community input.