Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘statues’

‘Born Hustler’ Now Creates Marvelous Bronze Statues

If people knew how hard I have had to work to gain my mastery,
it wouldn’t seem wonderful at all.


Alan Cottrill's Sculpture Studio is watched over by Chief Nemocilin, an American Indian who helped blaze the National Road.

Alan Cottrill’s Sculpture Studio & Gallery is watched over by Chief Nemocilin, an American Indian who helped blaze the National Road through Pennsylvania.

Often in life, people return to their hometown area for various reasons. Alan Cottrill came back to Zanesville, Ohio in 2003 to open a Sculpture Studio & Gallery at 110 South 6th Street. Here he found the perfect spot for his artistic designs in the former Zanesville News building, where the words from Michelangelo hang on his wall.

Alan tells about all the busts he made during his first two years.

Alan tells about all the busts he made during his first two years of sculpting.

Like many young people from a poor background on the farm, where his dad was a Meadow Gold milkman, Cottrill explored several careers during his lifetime. As a youngster, he never seemed to run out of ideas or job opportunities. In high school, he sold candy bars at lunchtime, worked as a guard, supervised Y-City umpires, and helped at the Skyway Drive-In.

After trying the college scene, the army, and being a milkman himself, he founded the Four Star Pizza franchise with his dad, and became an international entrepreneur. As he traveled the world, art museums attracted his attention and he began collecting art and paintings – his first being in Bulgaria.

Alan with his Sculptor's Bible, an old anatomy book.

Alan holds his Sculptor’s Bible, an old anatomy book.

Then in 1990 in California, PA, Cottrill touched clay for the first time, realizing his intense passion for creating. He sold his business and devoted himself full-time to becoming the finest figurative sculptor in the world. His studies at the Art Students League and National Academy of Design in New York City developed his abilities.

Cottrill sculpted a brass plaque of the McIntire Library in Zanesville, because he said it opened the world to him. His love of books continues to this day. His Sculptor’s Bible is a well-worn book on anatomy, as he feels the need for accuracy in all of his creations, which display intricate design but most importantly, emotion.

Outside his studio, statues line the street making it a treat to drive past his gallery, but it also gives a desire to know what’s inside. His working studio is on the ground floor, with the gallery above. The bronze sculptures demonstrate his passion and curiosity to always be looking for something new. He feels, “The degree of passion in artwork shows the degree of passion one has within.”

Alan checks his favorite sculpture - two tombstones for him and his wife.

Alan checks his favorite sculpture – tombstones for him and his wife.

Once Cottrill receives an inspiration or a consignment, he then assembles photographs of objects, researches clothing and accessories, and then begins the formation of a clay bust, where he makes the face come to life with emotion. The clay he uses comes from Laguna Clay in nearby Byesville, Ohio.

In order to have quality bronze available, Cottrill, along with his lifelong friend, Charles Leasure, established Coopermill Bronzeworks, Ltd.  All of his pieces are bronzed there and they also do work for other artists.

Woody Hayes sculpture at OSU Center

Thomas Edison Bronze Sculpture will soon be placed in U.S. Capitol to represent Ohio.

Over 400 bronze sculptures are displayed in his Zanesville studio. They range in size from 18 inches to lifesize, which takes about seven weeks to complete. While his favorite piece of work is the tomb sculpture he did for him and his wife, the one that receives the most attention is his Woody Hayes bronzework, which appears in front of the Woody Hayes Center at OSU in Columbus, Ohio.

Bronze Ohio Coal Miner Statue

Bronze Ohio Coal Miners Statue stands at the old railroad station in Byesville.

In nearby Byesville, he sculpted the Ohio Coal Miners Statue, paid for by contributions from those who rode the train over a several year span. His Thomas Edison statue has recently been accepted for the U.S. Capitol; while for Cambridge, Ohio, the Hopalong Cassidy bronze statue is only just begun.

Bicentennial Legacy Monument stands on a mound at Zane's Landing on the Muskingum River.

Bicentennial Legacy Monument stands on a mound at Zane’s Landing on the Muskingum River.

Watch Alan Cottrill at work in his studio in Zanesville, Ohio, where you will find the world’s largest bronze sculpture collection of any living sculptor. If you are lucky, he will share stories of his life and his passion. This amazing sculptor still works seven days a week…but doesn’t start as early anymore!

To discover Alan Cottrill Sculpture Studio, take I-70 exit 155. Drive south a half-mile. Turn right onto Marietta St., then right again onto S. 6th St. The studio is one block ahead on the right. Look for the statues lining the street.

Experience the World of Krishna at New Vrindaban Temple

Temple Altar

Temple Altar

The spirituality of India comes alive in the mountains of West Virginia. After the visit to the Palace of Gold, the tour continued just down the road in their New Vrindaban Temple. Arrival happened just in time for one of their worship services, which are held seven times a day every day of the week. Before entering, shoes must be removed or covered, to pay respect to the deity within the Temple.

Stained Glass Ceiling at New Vrindaban Temple

Stained Glass Ceiling at New Vrindaban Temple

The inside of the Temple is where the statues of Krishna can be found in a golden setting. The statues are shimmering while the stained glass ceiling allows filtered light to fill the room. People from all over the world come here to worship their Hindu beliefs. Ladies were dressed in their finest saris to honor Krishna. Their fine dress also showed their affluence and success to everyone present.

This is a congregational worship service with all those in attendance chanting a prayer to their God. They also use prayer beads, a string of 108 – a special number for their faith. To say a full prayer, you must go around the string sixteen times, which usually takes about an hour. Basically, the prayer that is repeated says: Hare Krishna, please allow me to serve you.

Children chant and dance before the altar.

Children chant and dance before the altar.

But mainly going to the Temple becomes a place to receive Darshan – you are looking at Diety and they are looking at you for a transfer of grace and spirituality. A priest made and accepted offerings at the altar through fire, incense, and water. An offering tray filled in the center with their holy burning butter was carried through the Temple. Those who desired could receive a blessing connection from its fragrant smoke.

After the service, a vegetarian lunch was served in the courtyard of the Temple. Dishes included: Basmati rice; Chickpeas sauteed with spices;  Subji -sauteed mixed vegetables; and Halavah – a sweet dessert made with farina toasted slowly in butter.  Our table was honored to be joined for lunch by Andy Fraenkel, the wonderful storyteller, and even Jaya Krishna Das, the president of New Vrindaban Temple.

Andy Fraenkel, Master Storytaller

Andy Fraenkel, Master Storytaller

Back inside the Temple, listeners sat on the floor with Andy as he told stories of Krishna.  One, in shortened version, began with Krishna’s birth in a dungeon of a wicked king. They were imprisoned because the king wanted to be certain to kill the new baby boy, as he was the eighth son born on the eighth night of the month, and was prophesized to be the king’s slayer. But, he escaped with his father after everyone fell into a deep sleep and the dungeon door opened.

Krishna and his father were protected on their journey by a Divine snake. His father carried Krishna in a basket through the waters of a river that parted to ensure their safe passage. There they traded Krishna for a female child and his father took the female baby back to the dungeon before the king discovered the birth.  Eventually as years passed, Krisha came back to the city and killed the wicked king.

Many stories were told that day but you will have to visit yourself to hear more!  Many of the stories describe the many forms that Krishna took during his lifetime. Some of those include:  Butter Boy, Blue Boy, amd Lion Man.

Surrounding the Temple is the New Vrindaban community. Only a small portion of the believers now live on the grounds, but there is a group of apartments where devotees can stay. The basic teaching of the Krishna Consciousness is that we are all individuals and have a loving relationship with God.

Cows and Cabins

Statues of Cows with guest cabins in background

Where once only woods stood, now visitors can stay in a beautiful lodge built in 1981-82, or cottages along Swan Lake. Many families spend their vacations here to worship in a Hindu atmosphere. Around the lake are several gigantic statues honoring their faith: Sacred Cows, Elephant, and a pair of 30-foot-tall Sri Sri Gaura Nitai statues.

These Krishna followers are basically very simple people who enjoy serving God in the way they believe.   As Andy said, “If you can’t be satisfied with a little bit, you will never be satisfied  with a lot.”

Andy Fraenkel ( )  is an award-winning author and recipient of a WV Artist Fellowship Award. He is available for in-depth tours to small and large groups, and even student groups from elementary school to college level. For more info you can get in touch with him at

New Vrindaban is located just down the road from the Palace of Gold.  From Moundsville, WV take Route 250 South. Watch for signs along the road for easy directions.

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