Far from town

We had a Muslim cook in our house in Zimbabwe and one year we decided to take him into the safari area to assist Timoti, the tall and very much liked Matabele camp cook. The camp was on the banks of the Zambezi in the north of the Chewore Safari Area across from Zambia on the north bank. The house cooks name was Frank. The journey into the proposed camping site was crazy far from Harare and the track was a nightmare. When we did get there with the Landcruiser, hunting cars and the 7 ton Isuzu loaded with supplies and everything to build the camp everyone fell out of the truck and we rolled out the sleeping mats and stretcher beds and without further ado the whole team greeted the night by being fast asleep very quickly. The next morning everyone was famished as we had slept without supper the night before, we needed to have more than a few canned beans and corn meal to eat so I went out onto the flood plain and in short order collected an Impala for the pot.

The crew were delighted when I pulled in with the Impala and set about skinning and butchering the animal right away. The crew had the pot going with the meat along with their vegetables and corn meal which is like grits, their staple diet, when along comes Frank to say to me that he cannot eat the meat because he did not cut the animals throat and intone the Muslim prayer. Well I had a big box with earth worms for fishing which was always part of our equipment especially when our two kids were with us, they love to fish and so I gave Frank a little tin can with some worms in it and a piece of fishing line and a hook and told him he can fish for his food but not in my time and left it at that. About an hour later I was driving out in the Landcruiser to hunt another Impala as the first one was not going to last long and as I drove past where the crew were eating and there was Frank stuffing himself with Impala stew. I stopped and asked him what the hell he was doing eating this non-halal meat, he grinned at me with his mouth full of Impala stew and said “God will not see me this far from town.” African reasoning – can you beat that!

2020-04-16T04:51:34-04:00April 15th, 2020|News|

Wrapping up 2018 at Bronze Africa

Had a really lovely comment from Barbara and Steve about Closing in the Long Grass. Went something like this:

I wanted to let you know that the bronze ‘Closing in the Long Grass’ arrived safely on Friday. My husband and I are so pleased with it. We really love the sculpture. Thank you both for what you have done for us.

John, I received a book recently from the Painted Wolf Foundation in the United Kingdom. Maybe you are familiar with it. The title is ‘Painted Wolves: A Wild Dog’s Life’, by Nicholas Dyer and Peter Blinston. It is a beautiful book with a moving story about these incredible animals.

Di, I laughed when I read your description of camping in Namibia in the winter time. I know exactly what you mean. I’m sure you and John have many fascinating stories you could tell about your years spent in Africa.

Barbara & Steve

Thanks for the kind words Barbara.

And as you will see, Di and I show no signs of slowing down if you look at the year we had in 2018. March in France, April and May in Africa to visit my sisters and many of our old friends and in November we headed for Australia to visit our son Riley, his wife Laura, Emmett going on 4 and Stella going on 2.

And in between some 7 new pieces. Still waiting for the latest buffalo piece to arrive from the foundry but here are 6 new pieces for you to peruse.

Black Powder – a very dynamic new sculpture of a black rhino

Fighting Talk – a bugling elk and my first sculpture of this magnificent American giant

Heading for Water – a male and female southern nyala

Little Big Buck – a male bushbuck

The Scent of Silence – a new elephant piece to add to the collection

Bait Ball Ballet – and something right out of left field – a sculpture of a yellow fin tuna

Not sure what is store for 2019 but for now, another Christmas, the festive table to consume with gay abandon, vast quantities of vittles prepared by our wonderful women folk who are singular in their frantic need to sink us into glutinous mounds of quivering Christmas overindulgence. Wonderful! The Kiddies open their presents from Santa, break some, fight over others and hide the rest!

Wishing you all a fabulous festive season. Thank you for your continued support in 2018 and very best wishes for 2019.

2019-08-28T16:25:29-04:00December 24th, 2018|Antelope, Elephant, News, Rhino|

Bronzes rising from the ashes

This is a tale of woe that fortunately had a good ending for 3 of my original pieces. I suspect there are a good number of you out there that have never even seen these 3 pieces.

The Kilimanjaro Bull is three feet high and was the very first Elephant I sculpted but I don’t display it anymore. It is too heavy to haul around as are the wall mount and the giraffe. Time has marched on and Di and I don’t have the strength to handle these at the shows.

So herewith the tale. One of the foundries I have used for years burned down this year. Cal Paulson’s Billings Bronze was nearly burned to the ground. Thankfully no one was hurt and few losses of art occurred but there was really not much left.

The patina room was destroyed and much of the equipment was also burned. Sometime ago, Cal cast two Kilimanjaro Study wall mounts, one Kilimanjaro Bull as well as Rain Dancer, a four foot tall giraffe and they were just there when the fire went through.

Mercifully, the flames were not hot enough to melt or damage the bronze. On my way back from the Bozeman foundry last month I stopped by to collect the two heads and the Giraffe. The Kilimanjaro Bull however, will be on its way to be displayed and perhaps sold at the African Oasis in Dillion, Montana in the next few weeks or so.

Back from the dead

Cal had to patina the heads with rudimentary bits and pieces and used a fork lift to raise the pieces so we could get it done. We managed to find a little bottle of silver nitrate which is the foundation chemical he has always used to patina the Elephant. The darker colors were the usual ferric oxides he uses which is easy to make by putting a kilo of nails in a gallon of sulphuric acid and let the nails dissolve so we had plenty of that. Cal had his pump pot with the potash mixture so we had no problem with that either. The sequence is to put potash on the raw bronze and to highlight the high bits with a blue pad which is like a nylon pot scourer and then heat the whole thing with the blow torch which he had because it survived the fire but the bottle of course had exploded so he had another one or two brought in. We worked in a room across the street from the original Foundry. It was very hot work in that summer heat so naturally a few beers assisted in the improvisations we had to make.

Kilimanjaro Bull
Elephant head wall mount

I was glad to have the chance to work with Cal on these original pieces. A lot of water under the bridge for the two of us and it felt like we had gone full circle. Cal, the foundry and I go right back to when I very first arrived in the USA to become a full-time sculptor.

And there we shall leave this tale…

If you might be interested in the sculptures, do get in touch. Otherwise be on the lookout for some new work before we go to Australia in late October to visit our grandchildren and, of course, their parents.

And don’t forget that we are going to be at the Cottonwood Art Festival in Richardson, TX on October 6th and 7th. A new show for us which we are very much looking forward to attending so if you’re in the area don’t forget to come over and say hello.

Until next time, JT

2019-11-18T17:46:18-04:00September 12th, 2018|Elephant, Large, News|

Sculptures in the pipeline

John is in Zimbabwe getting his well-earned ‘Africa Fix’ visiting family and friends and generally enjoying the place closest to his heart. I thought I might would give you a preview of what he has been working on lately. As of yet he has not titled any of them so we’ll have to wait and see…

The Elk

Very time consuming to make those antlers and few more adjustments to come when the Africa trip is done.

The Bushbuck

John has had several requests to sculpt this special animal. John will be there for the patina work emphasizing the stripes and spots which should make it very interesting piece.

Black Rhino

This is going to be in the large category with plenty of action going on as the rhino lumbers out of the brush with his little ‘passenger’ hanging on for dear life.

2019-08-08T00:50:01-04:00May 28th, 2018|News|

Charge of the Light Brigade

These 2 little elephants are ready to go to the foundry – one of my more whimsical and light-hearted pieces to join the collection of smaller sculptures – popular as gifts and adornments on desks and smaller spaces in the home and the office.

Very pleased with this piece. Rich with that special brand of chaotic excitement that little ellies are so well known for.

2019-08-08T00:05:48-04:00July 2nd, 2017|Elephant, News|
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