Friday, September 14, 2012

Belle Isle Aquarium Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

A few weeks ago, the Belle Isle Aquarium Committee, to which I am a volunteer, asked me to make a symbolic key that the aquarium would give to the Mayor of Detroit at the ribbon cutting ceremony marking the grand reopening of the 108 year old aquarium. So, after a week of concept designs and two left for the carving, I was happy to have come up with the fish key that is shown below. It had been awhile since I last carved something out of wood, but I jumped at the chance to do something as unique as this. I was excited to carve something again and with the weather cooperating by cooling down some, everything seemed just right. 

The symbolic Key To The Belle Isle Aquarium

This was the scene from our vantage point this morning just before detroit Mayor Bing addressed the press. Standing in the group just in front of me are BIA volunteers Gary Balduc, Doniece Langdon, Jennifer Boardman and Vance Patrick, the latter two are the ones whose efforts made this all possible.

Detroit Mayor and former Piston Dave Bing talking to the press.

Mayor Bing with the Key To The Aquarium. Thanks to my fellow artist, Leah Mangue for the screencap. Here is a link to the news story about today's event.

Here is an in progress shot of the carving. Part of what made this even more special to me is that both of my grandfathers are represented here. The workbench belonged to one and the chisels belonged to the other. When I was 19, my grandpa gave me part of his wood chisel collection and promised the rest to me when he was no longer with us. The chisels once belonged to a J. Murdock and this guy who protected railroad workers from 'hostiles' lived next door to my grandmother while she and my grandpa were dating. He had given the chisels to my grandpa and then he to me and they are probably over 100 years old. I had to covertly free the remainder after the passing of my grandpa, but that is another story. So, some history goes along with the fish key and it felt good to keep the story going.  

The aquarium will be opened every Saturday from 10-3, so come on down tomorrow for the grand reopening!

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