Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Brian Bill Memorial Commission

I was recently asked to create a memorial sculpture for Brian Bill, a Navy Seal who was killed in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011. He was a Norwich University graduate and, to celebrate his life, the school organized a memorial race (the Brian Bill Memorial Challenge) that was held on February 16. As part of the event, the organizers wanted to present Brian's family with a sculpture that included a small Navy anchor. Below are a couple of images of what I came up with.
Brian Bill Memorial Sculpture
navy anchor, quilted maple, butternut
(french polish shellac finish)
approx. 20" x 35" x 9"
I was impressed with how beautiful the anchor is. I don't know its age or history but the officer I worked with in designing the piece, Captain David Castro, said it was a functioning anchor for a small boat and that he had it cleaned up for this project. I find it somehow reassuring that our military cared so much about the aesthetics of the object.
Brian Bill Memorial Sculpture (second view)
Below is an image of Captain Castro presenting the piece to Brian's stepfather, Michael Parry. David did a nice job of adding Brian's name in front of the anchor and the dog tags of participants along the side. Given the importance of piece, and the emotional impact for the family, I was nervous about their reaction but, thankfully, I've been told that "the family loved it" so I am relieved. 
Memorial Presentation

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