Sculptures created by stone collector really rock

NEIGHBORS

March 22, 2000|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IF YOU'VE SEEN one rock, you really haven't seen them all -- at least that's how Conrad Sigmon sees it.

He finds inspiration in the fractured chunks of rocks that surface in his garden. The whitish quartz is colored by orange traces of iron. Some stones have peculiar shape, color, or mineral stripe. When one strikes his fancy, he saves it. Some inspire him to make sculptures.

"The idea is the biggest thing," he says.

Sigmon rarely breaks a stone to fit the sculpture. He'd rather fit lots of stones together. He usually finds what he needs, or is inspired by what he finds.

"I thought this rock looked like an apple, and this one, a bag of seed," he explains, showing a small statue of the legendary Johnny Appleseed.

It's a compilation of a dozen or more small rough-edged stones, carefully glued together to express arms, legs and a friendly face. One arm rests upon a round, greenish stone, the "apple." On a squarish white stone Sigmon has printed "seed."

Sigmon started building his miniature world last summer, when it was too hot to spend time outdoors.

He made things his grandchildren would enjoy, like the baboon from "The Lion King," a snake and a poodle.

He fit together a choice selection of squarish quartz rocks to create an alligator.

From rocks he's made a bear, an eagle and a nest of three white owlets complete with soft cotton around their feet.

Most of the sculptures are about 4 inches tall.

A figure of Paul Bunyan is Sigmon's largest creation.

It's about 18 inches tall, complete with a weighty ax and a belt of stone rubble rivets over mineral-striped trousers.

For the beard, he applied tufts of steel wool.

The rest of the collection of 22 stone sculptures includes Noah's ark with animals of carefully paired nubs of gravel and sandstone.

Using stones has led Sigmon to develop his style of abstraction, depicting familiar themes.

Sometimes the result is an intriguing visual puzzle, such as a frog from a rough-textured stone or his miniature Nativity placed on a stone hillside.

Some sculptures he gave to relatives because they enjoyed them.

Some are patriotic, or represent memories. Stone soldiers are raising a flag on Mount Sarabochie, a memory of World War II and Sigmon's service in the Navy.

Two pebble children are diving from the big rock at Harpers Ferry -- a childhood memory. The moon landing is here, too, the astronaut in stacked-up broken stones, with tiny stone face peering through a lens Sigmon cut from a plastic soda bottle.

"I have everyone looking for rocks for me," Sigmon says.

A retired home-improvement and remodeling contractor, he chooses to use fast-drying construction cement to bond the oddly shaped stones together.

He works in the garage, where he has plenty of ventilation and room enough to store exciting bits of rock.

It's just a stone's throw from inspiration waiting in the rocky soil.

Benefit dinner

The annual bull and oyster roast to benefit Hampstead Lions Baseball and Softball Association will take place from 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday at Hampstead Volunteer Fire Department, 1341 Main St.

Tickets are $25 for a large buffet menu that includes pit beef and turkey, shredded pork or beef barbecue, oyster stew and a raw bar of Chincoteague oysters and cherrystone clams.

Vegetables include mixed green salad, coleslaw, garden peas with pearl onions, tangy baked beans, and potatoes au gratin.

Beer, wine, soft drinks, coffee, tea and desserts are included.

Music by a disc jockey will run from 7 p.m. to midnight, and activities are planned throughout the event.

Ticket reservations: Heath Hale, 410-374-2546 or Ken Bosley, 410-374-4091.

Toast the equinox

Two new white wines are being released to toast the spring equinox from noon to 5 p.m. April 8 and 9 at Cygnus Wine Cellars in Manchester.

Ray Brasfield, master winemaker of Cygnus, pressed whole clusters of grapes to make the new Late Harvest Vidal Blanc, a "wine that is sweet without being cloying, perfect for sipping with peach sorbet or apricot torte."

Fruit grown on the Eastern Shore was cluster pressed for the new sauvignon blanc and fermented in oak barrels, said Brasfield.

Tasting of the newly released wines and other Cygnus wines is free. The winery is at 3130 Long Lane, one block east of Main Street.

Information: 410-374-6395.

Community yard sale

St. George's Episcopal Church, 2434 Cape Horn Road, will hold a community yard sale and flea market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 20. Vendors are needed.

The event will include children's activities, silent auction, refreshments and baked goods. It will be held, rain or shine.

Vendors must provide setups.

Information: 410-239-8381.

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