Art faculty find creative, contemplative conduit

Published 07.07.2020

Faculty & Staff
Graphic Design & Art
Business, Arts & Sciences

Plein-air production: (from left) Vanderlin, Flynn and Wilson chip away the hours in their makeshift work space. (The sculpture at far right is Stabley’s; he was on a break when our photographer stopped by.)Tools of the trade: Flynn powers through with a chain saw …… while Wilson sends chips flying old-school.Vanderlin levels up.The creative buzz doesn’t stop on campus – even though this summer is much quieter than usual. On the west side of the Bush Campus Center, outside doors to the wood sculpture and ceramics labs, four Penn College art faculty have conjured up an inspiring way to meet – by carving wood sculptures. “Socially, this is good for us to get together for some creative brainstorming,” said Brian A. Flynn, assistant professor of graphic design. Joining Flynn in the wielding of chain saws and chisels are: David A. Stabley, instructor of ceramics and wood sculpture; Keith A. Vanderlin, assistant professor of graphic design; and Mark W. Wilson, instructor of graphic design. The foursome gather once a week for about five hours, working away on their cherry and chestnut sculptures, one reaching approximately 7 feet tall. The faculty plan to donate their finished pieces to the college. For Flynn, this summer’s wood carving endeavor brings back memories of his participation in the Estonia Wood Carving Symposium in 2007. “Getting together weekly brings to mind a quote from Thomas Merton: ‘Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.’ This sentiment seems appropriate for what this experience has meant to me,” Flynn said. “This has been a great escape and a wonderful creative outlet.”