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Circus Carvings at Shelburne Museum

Rick and Ellen VT Sept 2014 007

Circus Carvings at Shelburne Museum

Rick and Ellen VT Sept 2014 006Rick and Ellen VT Sept 2014 012

Every now and then you come across an example of woodcarving that is humbling for carvers of any level. Recently I had a chance to see the Circus Carvings at Shelburne Museum in Vermont, the home of some of the best examples of American Folk Carving in the world.

The first set of carvings depicts the Circus Big Top and was carved by Edgar Kirk (1891-1956). He dedicated more than 40 years of his life to recreating the excitement of Barnum and Bailey’s three ring circus. Over 3,500 carvings make up this extraordinary model.

The other work is the Circus Parade carved by Roy Arnold (1892-1976). He recreated the pomp and pageantry of the Barnum and Bailey parade bringing the Circus to town. Created in a one inch to one foot scale, the entire parade consists of thousands of figures. When it was exhibited it filled two sixteen-foot trucks, and took a crew of workers two complete days to set up the 525 foot model.

Both the examples were donated to the Shelburne Museum, and are housed in their own separate building. If you’re ever traveling through Vermont, take some time to check it out. It is truly inspiring.

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