Sculpture project grew in scope as purpose deepened
PENDLETON — Nancy Noel, president of the Pendleton Historical Museum board, said when artist Tracy Davidson told her she was going to make something for the museum, she didn’t know what to expect.
As it turns out, it was a rather large gift that will beautify an area outside the museum for years to come.
“We had no idea what the creation was going to be,” Noel said. “We were surprised, because it’s a really nice piece.”
The gift — a steel rosebush sculpture that measures four feet wide, four feet deep and four feet above ground — was installed Monday, Oct. 23, in the garden on the west side of the museum.
The sculpture Tracy Davidson and Jerry Wymer made as a gift to Pendleton Historical Museum and in memory of their friend and fellow artist, Victor Eichhorn.
Davidson said she wanted to make something for the museum after museum workers commented on her works that she was selling during the local farmers market. Her booth was next to the museum, and she was displaying her items in the museum’s planters.
“They’d come out and say, ‘You can leave them there if you want,’” Davidson said.
Not long after deciding she wanted to make something for the museum, however, Davidson said her “best friend and mentor,” Victor Eichhorn, died.
She and fellow artist Jerry Wymer decided to use metal supplies, which Eichhorn had purchased to make flowers for around his home, to instead make something for the museum that would also memorialize Eichhorn.
In the past, Davidson, Wymer and Eichhorn, all members of Pendleton Artists Society, made the tree sculpture that was installed in spring 2022 outside Gallery 119 on State Street downtown.
Davidson said she and Wymer used three 4-by-12-foot sheets of metal “and a bunch of rebar” to make the new sculpture.
“It turned into a monumental project,” Davidson said.
She spent about 20 hours in the week before it was installed making the piece, with Wymer’s help.
While she did a lot of welding, Wymer did hours of bending, she said.
“We wanted to do it in honor of Victor,” Davidson said.
She said the roses on the new piece were made using Eichhorn’s rose pattern, enlarged.
Wymer said he was happy with how the sculpture turned out and looks next to the museum.
The sculpture weighs hundreds of pounds, Wymer said. It was made in sections, which ultimately locked together, for easier transportation.
Being out in the elements, it will rust, Wymer said, but that will only make it look nicer.
“It’ll actually look really good against the outside of the historical museum building,” he said.
Plans are to affix a plaque to the sculpture in the near future.
It will be etched in bronze, with a simple message, Davidson said.
“Just that it was made by the two of us in memory of Victor.”
And the museum has some plans too, Noel said — to spiff up the landscaping around the sculpture, so it all looks nice together.
“We’re really appreciative,” she said.