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A Work of Art

A NEW BUST OF CHARLES ADAMS MARKS THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS MONTH CENTENNIAL

By Ian A. Stewart

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“I always like to get that sparkle point in the eye,” explains Paula Slater. “That gives it that life, imbues it with that lifehood.” She’s describing the bronze bust she’s just finished sculpting of Past Grand Master Charles Adams, commissioned by Grand Lodge in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Public Schools Month. The bust will accompany Grand Lodge officers to school celebrations and reside permanently at the California Memorial Masonic Temple.

For Slater, the challenge was one of reference: She had only a single photograph of Adams, which showed just one side of his face. Using computer software, she was able to mirror that and create a composite. “Basically, it’s a kind of forensic-intuitive way offiguring out how he would look straight on,” she says.

The results are convincing. “He has a very distinctive look,” says the artist, who works out of a studio in Lake County. “From the type of beard he had, and the shape of his nose and those big bushy eyebrows, he had some really interesting characteristics.”

The process of shaping and carving and fine-tuning took several weeks, after which the clay mold was cast in wax. That, in turn, was sent to a metal foundry in the East Bay and poured in bronze. “It’s just a matter of editing, over and over again,” Slater says, “until you go, ‘That’s him! That’s the look!’”

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Paula Slater

More from this issue:

A Beautiful Experiment

A century after the first Masonic Public Schools Week in California, schools continue to face serious challenges. But Masonic support remains steadfast.

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