Bronze artist Renate Fackler of Chrysalis Sculpture Studio creates life-size masterpieces for the garden and beyond.
In "Cultivating Beauty," a young woman kneels amongst her lupine plants, the start of a smile evident in the upturned corners of her bronze mouth. The sculpture-meant to symbolize the act of making the world a better place-was commissioned for a private garden and created by local artist Renate Fackler.
With 30 years of experience, Fackler has created bronze-casted pieces for Ohio State-her larger-than-life Brutus sits on a bench at the university's student union-corporations and private and public gardens.
"It is an honor to be chosen to create pieces that have meaning," Fackler says. "I feel a responsibility-a social commitment-when I am entrusted to capture someone's vision."
Fackler graduated from Ohio State with a degree in journalism, a path influenced by her father. She didn't entertain sculpture work as a plausible career until a health scare encouraged her to pursue her passion. Today, her work has evolved from small clay projects to life-size bronze works commemorating notable people and events, like Jerrie Mock, the Columbus woman who was the first to fly solo around the world. Fackler's realistic replicas of Mock stand at The Works museum in Mock's hometown of Newark and at Port Columbus International Airport.
Fackler's private-garden work has made her a local favorite. She begins by asking a homeowner to determine the complexity of a desired piece, the size and placement and what message or emotion it's meant to convey. How an outdoor sculpture fits aesthetically into the surrounding landscape is as important as which patina is selected (they range from gold to rich brown to coppery green). Each commission begins with a consultation and a preliminary design-a maquette-created at Fackler's German Village studio. The client-approved piece is then created to scale in clay and transported to a Zanesville foundry, where it becomes an installation-ready sculpture.
Fackler currently works in what she deems "looser figurative work" featuring free-flowing movement. "I like doing things that are more impressionistic," she says. "When I make a piece that's direct wax, there's no mold. You save the cost of the mold, but also this ensures the piece is truly one-of-a-kind. Even if I make the same composition later, it's still going to be different." With this style, she uses her bare hands, rather than sculpting tools, to mold the clay. Fackler's latest work can be found at the Sharon Weiss Gallery in the Short North and at New Albany's Hayley Gallery, as well as online through her studio, Chrysalis Sculpture Studio.