above: Darth Vader gargoyle
“…Many of these examples are unfortunately high on the façades out of sight, but a pair of binoculars might help you out. In the 1980s, Washington National Cathedral became one of the first to experiment with of gargoyle reinterpretation. Some of you might have heard the story of the most famous one: the Darth Vader gargoyle, who was the winning proposal in a children’s contest organized by National Geographic. Christopher Rader, a 13-year-old kid from Nebraska, created its design, envisioning the Star Wars villain as a modern incarnation of supreme evil. Sculpted by Jay Hall Carpenter and carved by Patrick J. Plunkett, our dark-sided Anakin is today on the Washington Cathedral, wearing his iconic helmet on the first tiny peaked roof from the center pinnacle, on the right hand side…”
When Tim Stellburg, a particularly geeky Minnesotan who also goes by the name Buggeye, had to have several troublesome cottonwood trees in his yard cut down, he asked that 9-10 feet of one of the trees be left standing so that he could later hire an artist to carve it into something awesome.
As soon as he figured out what he wanted, Tim hired Curtis Ingvoldstad of Wood Sculpture by Curtis to transform the stump into a magnificent Silver Dragon based on fantasy artist and illustrator Todd Lockwood’s creation for Dungeons & Dragons third edition (3.5).
“No matter how badly I mess up a Star Wars/Star Trek/whatever trivia quiz - Nobody can take away my geek card ever again.”
The process of sculpting the tree took place over 13 four hour sessions. Curtis painted the beast as well, but Tim painted the eyes himself. Click here for more photos of Buggeye’s awesome Silver Dragon.