Iron works on the courthouse lawn
By James Henry Frazar BCC Contributor
Esther Benedict of Pipe Creek creates iron sculptures. For 22 years she's turned her vision of horses and wildlife into metal sculptures, be it two-dimensional metal images or three-dimensional rod renderings.
She brought her metal art to the Bandera County Courthouse lawn over the Labor Day weekend as part of the Celebrate Bandera Arts and Crafts show.
Benedict takes flat pieces of stainless steel and cuts them into shapes representing horses, birds and other animals, then applies heat to the metal at different temperatures to achieve the correct color.
She learned her craft from her time as a farrier. While working those hot, handmade shoes, she learned how to work with steel. "When you hot rasp a shoe, there'd be a rainbow of color," Benedict said. Different temperatures, of course, create different colors. "If I control it (the temperature), then I can control the color," Benedict said.
Additionally, the coloring she does to the metals sometimes requires a metal dye, such as a red or green.
Benedict also takes steel rods and turns them into her signature 3-D sculptures representing horses and other animals.
Her creations are available at Mac & Ernies in Tarpley. The people who come to the restaurant "are the right clientele" for her art, Benedict said. Her work is also exhibited at the Western Trail Antiques Mall in Bandera.
Benedict also does pieces by commission, such as a line sculpture of a colt and dog looking at each other. That work tops a high-end apartment building in Chicago. "It's part of their green space project there," she said. Another commission is two sandhill cranes she did for client in D'Hanis. The 48-inch high cranes were done to look 3-D. Then there's the life-size grizzly bear for Norris Warner of Pipe Creek, which he keeps at his summer home in Idaho.
Benedict has also created a life-size beaver for a lady based in Oklahoma City. Her business, Short's Hattery, specializes in beaver felt hats. After a taxidermy beaver on display wore out, she needed a work from Benedict. "Mine will be steel," Benedict said.
She also makes small, 3-D sculptures of animals and people, called "pick-me-ups," gifts that motivate, inspire and encourage. To see this line, visit: www.pick-me-ups.com. Other metal works are available at www.estherbenedict.com or www.benedictmetalart.com.
Pictured: Photos by James Henry Frazar
Esther Benedict exhibited her iron sculptures at the Celebrate Bandera Arts and Crafts fair over the Labor Day weekend.