Saturday, February 5, 2011

George Ferrell

In the early 70s my husband was a grad student at Emory University in Atlanta and I taught elementary school. We only had one car so I would stop by the Chemistry Department every day to pick up Pete. I would always be greeted by George, the building custodian. We'de get a cold  "Co-cola" and visit and George would whittle while I waited for whatever experiment Pete was running to end. 
George gave us one of his sculptures and I recently did some research to find out more about him and his work. I found this:

"George Ferrell was janitor for the Chemistry Building for many years. He was a most likeable man who became looked upon as a member of the family. An article in the May 1964 issue of the Alumni Magazine reported on his talents as a sculptor. "For his carvings he uses ordinary blocks of wood and he describes his methods as 'trying to see if you can do something interesting with an idea.' A wood carver, Ferrell has had no formal training in art. He has developed his style entirely on his own."

 This is my original carving that George gave me so long ago.
I believe he used some good old red Georgia clay to secure her to a piece of granite (possibly some chunk from the old chemistry building itself?)

The article continues: 
  "In the March-April, 1970, issue of the Alumni Magazine there was another article about George entitled "Emory's Whittling Custodian.” It had a picture of George and said that it was estimated that he had completed about 1000 carvings in the last 15 years. It said that he recently had a one-man showing in the Candler Library and that he had had exhibits at local art shows including the spring outdoor art shows in Atlanta's Piedmont Park."

I would love to hear from anyone who knew George or could tell me more about his work.


AutumnLeaves said...

What an amazing story, Kathleen! And what a gift you have in George and from George. He sounds a local legend.

Karen Koch said...

Fascinating story, and what a great carving. How big is it? It looks fairly large.

Kathleen Harrington Paints said...

I think he really was a local legend. And so well loved.

Kathleen Harrington Paints said...

Karen, Its about 14" high