Sawyer’s ‘Spirit’ honors McLaughlin’s
Warren — Sculptor Jay Sawyer will host an open studio Saturday, Aug. 24, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; through October, his Stemwinder Sculpture Works & Gardens is open to the public the same hours Sundays and Mondays. Entrance to the outdoor sculpture gallery is on Route 90 a quarter mile in from Route 1 (look for the patriotic pickup truck).
In the midst of all the seasonal activity taking place around his outdoor sculpture gallery, Sawyer has announced the recent addition of his "A Spirit of Its Own" to the permanent collection of the Davistown Museum in Liberty, which will loan it to the Portland International Jetport. The sculpture was created with materials salvaged from Hangar No. 2 at the Brunswick Naval Air Station during its demolition in 2000. The shear rings were set aside as 120-foot long wooden trusses were disassembled by the crew of Barnstormers, a company that up-cycled the dimensional lumber.
The rings were later acquired by Liberty artist David McLaughlin and used in his sculptures and several spheres he created with the stock. Some time later, he and Sawyer crossed paths and a special friendship came to be. In 2010, just before McLaughlin's death, the remaining shear rings were bequeathed to Sawyer to "carry on with the subject of spheres …" in McLaughlin's absence. The first sphere Sawyer created from the rings is 32 inches in diameter. Inside, Sawyer positioned a smaller sphere McLaughlin had created and titled the work "Late Collaboration"; creating such a sculpture was something both men had spoken of but neither had attempted. “Late Collaboration" inspired the larger "A Spirit of Its Own."
The following summer, Sawyer included an image of the piece in an email to clients and art fans, one of whom, a Delaware resident, commented that the sculpture deserved to stay in Maine and offered a way for that to happen. As the President of the 1916 Foundation, he proposed that an appropriate organization be located that would exhibit the sculpture in a prominent location within the state of Maine and the 1916 Foundation would financially support the project. Davistown Museum seemed very appropriate considering its mission and McLaughlin's years serving on its board of directors; however, both Sawyer and the museum had concerns about exhibiting the sculpture only yards away from McLaughlin's estate. After considering the aviation history represented with the sculpture and an opportunity to pay tribute to McLaughlin, the Davistown Museum proposed a long-term loan of "A Spirit of Its Own" to the Portland International Jetport. Final details are being worked out for the precise location for exhibition on the jetport campus.
For now, the sculpture rests on a pedestal at Stemwinder; a base will be created for the Portland installation. The 1916 Foundation's gift to the Davistown Museum also provides for a historical booklet about the museum and McLaughlin's work. More information can be found at DavistownMuseum.org.
"A Spirit of Its Own" and dozens of other sculptures, many representing Maine history, are showcased throughout the multi-acre sculpture garden. What started as Sawyer's backyard is increasingly gaining recognition as a Maine treasure and destination. Sawyer's body of work is largely inspired by materials with a distinct history and by his appreciation for the spherical form, as well as the abstract. For more information, contact Sawyer at 273-3948 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or email@example.com.