Ed Pickett (U.S. Air Force, Canton, Tx.) SCULPTOR
The Veterans Memorial
(The Kneeling Soldier Statue)
“Red Montgomery asked me to come to a meeting they were having at the courthouse, about statues. Red and 25 members of his family were at the courthouse. They were interested in getting a veteran’s memorial started in Canton. They wanted to pay homage to our soldiers. I designed the kneeling soldier. I am not sure who came up with the idea.
I used a human form only to get measurements and not of the actual person. I use the live person as the model for the statue. We wanted a veteran. Steve White was a soldier we lost and his wife graciously donated $10,000 up front. For a waitress, that is a lot of money. Her son wanted to be the model. He was about 15-or-16 at the time but was too small for the model. I asked around and someone told me about Juan Herrera, a veteran, and he agreed to pose for the monument. He also had the military equipment. I am very detail oriented so I wanted to make sure every button matched. “
From a model to a Bronze Statue
“We start with a framework that we have to put the clay onto. On a double life-size, like the Kneeling Soldier, we started with a big chunk of foam. We sculpted it to a certain point and then we put clay on it. Here, we start the details in the clay. I used a lot of kids to help me with the details on the statue. We had a lot of fun with them on this statue. Once we got all the clay on and got it right, we next put rubber over that. Then we put plaster over that to make a mold. Then we take the wax inside the mold. We take the wax and put it into plaster, and melt the wax out and pour the bronze in. It is then cut into about 150 pieces, and welded all back together. We heat it all to put the coloring on it. It is very time consuming. From the initial posing to the finished bronze statue it took about 10 years. We started the statue and we ran out of money. That is the reason it initially took so long. Getting it to the bronze stage requires a lot of money. The statue cost roughly $80,000. We couldn’t get to the clay stage until we had the money because the clay kept coming apart or drying up. I first built it in carucate clay which dried out. We did it twice. Once I got the money to proceed it was less than six months to do the actual clay work and got it to the bronze stage. We got the money from everybody in town. We begged and begged. But we had some great people to help us out.” For Ed the “Kneeling Soldier” was a passion of love for the military.