Bronze Wins Gold

Eastern Shore sculptor David H. Turner will receive 2018 Living Legend Award.

At six years old, David H. Turner began to follow his father William H. Turner’s footsteps in sculpting wildlife out of bronze. Fifty years later, Turner, 56, learned that he will receive the prestigious 2018 Living Legend Award by the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art at Salisbury University. In order to be recognized, one must be committed to passing on their skills and impacting the field of wildfowl art. David and his father own Turner Sculpture in Onley, which has served as their personal studio since 1983. Living on the Eastern Shore, an area rich in wildlife, the father and son team is constantly inspired by the surrounding native creatures ranging from farm animals to marine life.

The Turners use the lost-wax process to create their three-dimensional animals. They begin by making a clay model, which can take anywhere from a few weeks to over a year to create depending on its size. Once completed, the clay model is encased in a rubber mold, which is then cut from the clay. The team then pours wax into the rubber mold in order to create a wax casting, and then dips the sculpture into a ceramic liquid until it is ready to be fired in the furnace. Finally, the Turners pour molten bronze into the ceramic mold, and chisel the ceramic material from the bronze surface.

“I love to sculpt river otters because there are so many positions and interactions to choose from,” David says. The artist also favors birds such as the Blue Heron, whose sculpted wings can be seen at the Onancock Landing Park. Together, the Turners have created more than 173 publicly commissioned sculptures for zoos, gardens, parks and museums around the country, each of which reflect the Turners’ deep appreciation of nature. TurnerSculpture.com

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