Scintillating Sculptures Come to Life at Stonybrook Fine Arts in Jamaica Plain

Posted by Jake Safane

On the way to the Sam Adams brewery, post-apocalyptic-like creatures pose on Porter Street in Jamaica Plain. A steel lady blows a kiss and a dog pants through chains and cables. Inside, the mad scientist behind this operation boils wax, ladles molten bronze, and bends scrap metal with his bare hands.

Just another day at the office for Morris Norvin.

At Stonybrook Fine Arts, Norvin and his crew make sculptures of all shapes and sizes, ranging from a bronze statue of Miley Cyrus used as a cake stand for her 16th birthday to miniature horses contrived from thin, curved lines of metal.

This past summer, Norvin rented his sculptures out to be used in an upcoming movie Frank the Bastard and created original work for the film with sculptures of the actor William Sadler.

“Every job is crazier than the last one,” said Norvin.

Despite the uniqueness, Stonybrook is consistently buzzing with projects, never seeming to be short on ideas.

“I’m an idea person, for me it’s easy,” explained Norvin. “I’ll write a sentence down and then a year, five years, ten years later, I’ll look back and remember exactly what I was thinking and I’ll make [the art].”

For example, when Norvin was in college he took a class trip to see a gallery in the Federal Reserve Bank Building and he noticed that the massive interior resembled a giant fish tank. So he jotted down a sentence about putting a big shark in the space. Six years later, a friend called and offered Norvin a chance to display a sculpture at an animal-themed art show in the building. Sure enough, Norvin created a massive steel shark.

When Stonybrook opened its doors in 2007, Norvin and his two partners—his wife Anne Sasser and Benjamin Todd, created a space not just for commissioned work but a space to teach new and emerging artists. The studio hosts eight and ten-week long courses in subjects such as welding, stone carving, figure modeling, and jewelry making. Stonybrook also has open-studio time for class members to work on their projects and one-day workshops every Saturday. Stonybrook even offers low-cost classes for teens in an effort to provide kids a safe, enriching after-school experience.

“It’s rewarding to teach,” said Sasser.  “We give kids an opportunity to learn at a time when art has been taken out of the schools.”

Stonybrook students come from all walks of life and most come back time and again for additional classes. The students are so committed that some have volunteered to pay rent for a space across the street to be used as a wood shop.

“We’ve created a community,” said Sasser. “There’s a good vibe here.”


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Posted by Jake Safane on Oct 13 2011. Filed under Featured - For home page featured article, Lifestyle. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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