May 4, 2022
Honoring Creative Collaboration: Bollinger Atelier and the Great Carrying Place
Collaboration is innately part of the sculpture-making process. From the conception of a piece, cities, designers, artisans, and other studios come together to create a blueprint and timeline. Within the foundry itself, artisans are working together between departments to help realize the client’s vision, working collaboratively to develop each project so that the completed work reaches its full potential, on time, and with a superb finish.
The “Great Carrying Place” started as an idea and then arrived completed in bronze to Rome, NY, on May 25th, 2021. The Oneida Indian Nation reached out to Geoffrey Woodward of Taft Design + Associates of California to help design and art direct the sculpting and installation of the new piece. Geoffrey then asked Tom Bollinger, Managing Owner of Bollinger Atelier and Debra Schwartz, project director with StudioEIS of Brooklyn to help with the Sculpting and Casting of the Great Carrying Place project. While Studio EIS was working on the Oneida Warrior figure in New York, in Arizona, Bollinger Atelier worked together with TAFT Designs and representatives of the Oneida Indian Nation to digitally design the 3 relief panels that would sit behind the Oneida figure. The left panel, depicts a turtle, wolf, and bear, which represent the three Oneida clans. The center panel depicts Oneida warriors and an Oneida leader. The right panel depicts Oneidas carrying a boat, which shows how they would carry large boats and their cargo from the shore of the Mohawk River over land to be re-launched into Wood Creek.
Using Z-Brush and other digital programs, Bollinger was able to adjust minute details until everyone was satisfied with the design. Doing this work digitally helped speed up the process as those files were then used to mill the panels in hard foam. Bollinger then went through the rest of the lost wax casting process, their bread and butter, casting over 3,000 lbs. of bronze. During this time Studio EIS’s figure was completed and shipped to Bollinger; quickly molded and cast so that the whole project could be reviewed together before the final step of the process: patina. During the patina process, TAFT Design’s Geoffrey Woodward came to Bollinger to work closely with our patina artisan Matt Weber. Together they nailed down the colors that are seen today. The panels were then shipped and coordinated through Bollinger with TAFT Designs and the City of Rome NY to arrive and be installed in time for the unveiling ceremony. This type of multi-layered coordination and collaboration requires great skill and trust between the project partners that allows not only the work to shine but to truly honor those who the work
“All of us should take great pride in the role this area played in our history…” Oneida Indian Nation representative Ray Halbritter (Wolf clan) said at the unveiling of the Oneida Carrying Place.