Liturgical Sculpture

In recent years, I have had the opportunity to provide sculpture for various churches around southeastern Wisconsin.
Below is the most recent installation, made for “First Baptist Church”, West Bend. The theme is “Missions”. This church, which I attend, supports over twenty missionaries in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and more.
The map of the world points to and embraces the cross above, signifying “To Christ be the Glory.” The verse from Isaiah 45:6 reads: “That they may know me from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.”
This sculpture measures nine feet wide.

The cross is made from 3/4″ square bar, and was slit and drifted for the “pass through” joints. Slitting is performed by heating the metal, then using a very sharp, chisel-like blade to cut through the bar. In this case, the bar was slit half-way from one side, flipped 180 degrees, and then slit from that side to complete the cut. The bar was slit from both sides to minimize distortion. The hole is then upset, which literally means “to increase the cross section of a bar.” When upsetting the area around the hole, which is again performed while very hot, the sides of the slit hole increase in cross section, and at the same time the hole walls are spread apart to accept a square “drift.” A drift is a sizing pin that is driven through the slit hole to form the hole to the desired size and shape. The drift is usually tapered on both ends so that when driven onto the hole, it gradually increases the size of the hole , and then easily exits the hole.
Below is a close-up of the cross…please excuse the grainy image.

The latitude and longitude lines were made from 3/16″ x 1″. The joints are riveted, and then “stepped down” to provide some dimension, thereby all the bars are in the same plane. If you click on the image, then click on the new image that appears, you will get an enlarged picture that better shows these features.
I would like to acknowledge Jimmy Breazeale of Charleston, SC, who assisted me on this project. Jimmy spent a ten week internship here at Bighorn Forge as a student from the “American College of the Building Arts”, of Charleston, SC.
Below is a sculpture made for Trinity Lutheran Church, West Bend. Sandy Poenisch of Kewaskum, (and a member of TLC), provided the design. This piece measures 48″ tall.

At first glance, this sculpture may appear as a crucifix. Look again. This is rather an image of Christ embracing the world. Below is a larger, 14 foot tall version for the church building’s exterior.

These sculptures were largely made utilizing the power hammer. To get the texture on the edge of the bars, a 1/2″ round bar was placed on the edge of the hot bar, then forced down into it with the power hammer.
The stock size for the outdoor piece was 1/2″ x 4″.
Below is a sculpture that creates a border for a processional cross for “Holy Family Catholic Community” in Fond du Lac, WI. The size of the main sculpture is 48″ x 60″, and stands 10 1/2 feet tall.

Below we see an oil vessel supported by a sculptural element. Three of these were made for Holy Family Catholic Community. They are for the parish’s “ambry,” which is a cupboard or niche in the chancel wall, for utensils for the eucharist. Also known as an “armarium.”

The candlesticks below are two of five of varying heights, made also for Holy Family. These two stand 36″ high. The interior designer wished to have a fluid feeling to the design, signifying baptismal water. Stylized wheat sheaves were added to represent the “Body of Christ.”

The largest of the candlesticks, was a Paschal candlestick, standing at 48″. It is a processional candle, and thus needs to be removed from the stand. The image below shows a detail of this feature.

Last, we see a sculptural archway for the entrance of the Eucharistic Chapel at Holy Family. The design elements include stylized wheat sheaves, and grape vines, signifying the “Body and Blood of Christ.” The candle in the center is the “Eternal LIght”, which signifies “God’s Eternal Glory.”

…….Dan Nauman
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” ….John 3:16

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