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Fairburys Love of Clay, Fairbury NebraskaFairbury’s Love of Clay

When visiting Fairbury, one cannot help but notice the large bas-relief brick sculptures at Fairbury’s four main entrances, a hint that this community has a special affinity to brick.  And not just any brick, Endicott Clay.

Since 1920, Endicott Clay Products has been producing brick products near the town of Endicott, NE, 6 miles southeast of Fairbury. Today, German-engineered brick-making machines, ovens and conveyor belts churn out 150,000 tons of product a year, including 75 million standard bricks, thick bricks, thin tiles, pavers and pool coping. Endicott Clay products are commonly regarded as both the finest quality in manufacturing materials and the industry standard for beauty, elegance and versatility.

Situated along the Little Blue River, Endicott Clay Products sits atop a vast natural resource – clay deposits, part of the Dakota Formation, stretching from Sioux City to Lincoln to Concordia, Ks. The unique composition of minerals in this clay ribbon give Endicott Clay an advantage over other clay products due to the wide variety of colors into which it can be fired, ranging from traditional terracotta to dense black.

Over the years, Endicott has become somewhat of an artist’s mecca. Endicott Clay Products is known not only for the traditional building products it produces, but also for the unique brick murals and three-dimensional structures created in its artist studio. Artists and sculptors from around the country come to Endicott to take up residence in the specially-created studio, carving masterpieces in clay.

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Sculptor Donna Dobberfuhl from San Antonio, Texas, recently spent the better part of a month carving a wall mural and two large pillars for a mural park in Frisco, Texas “This is the best clay product in the country for carving,” Dobberfuhl said, as she scraped and shaped the green (unfired) clay bricks. It’s also easy to shape, Dobberfuhl said, “very plastic.” Dobberfuhl has been to the artist studio in Endicott many times over the years and examples of her work can be seen on her website, www.sculpturaldesigns.com.

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Also in the studio was Tom Meyers from Lincoln, carving the facial detail for the top of a 25-foot-tall mural destined for an Iowa community. You can see more examples of his brick works on his website at www.imagesinbrick.com.

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Meyers is part of a group of independently minded artists who come together for the purpose of creating brick sculpture for a company called Images in Brick in Lincoln, Ne. He and sculptor Jay Tschetter have worked together creating several designs for projects all over the U.S. using Endicott clay. To see examples of the works from the studio, visit www.imagesinbrick.com

 

 

How do they do it?

“We begin with the design, which is arrived at by working closely with the client’s basic ideas. Once a design has been worked out and accepted or approved, we then go through the process of working with the brick manufacturer to order the desired size and depth of wet clay brick, or “green ware”.  We then stack up the "green ware" on an easel and begin sculpting the design by reduction carving. After the sculpting is finished, it is disassembled and readied for the drying and firing process. After the brick manufacturer has fired the mural, it is reorganized and "dry stacked" back on the easel to make sure everything is accounted for. Then it is then carefully packed on pallets with cardboard padding between each and every brick, delivered to the job site, and taken through the final process of the installation...every aspect of the project being carefully attended to and handled in the most professional manner possible,” according to Tschetter.

Visitors to the Fairbury are able to see masterpieces in brick created by these and other artists. Many fine examples of brick sculpture can be found in and around Fairbury. Brick murals can be seen at Rock Creek Station State Historical Park Visitor Center, the Rock Island Depot Museum, the Fairbury Frontier Funpark, the Village of Endicott, the Fairbury Jr. Sr. High School, Jefferson Community Health & Life, and the Burkley Family Center located inside the First National Bank.

See the  photo album on our facebook page!See the photo album on our Facebook page.

 
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