Mission StatementCreative ProcessOur HistoryGlossary
We believe that art is a testimony of the larger desire of man to express what for him has significance and meaning. We hope the sculptures our artists create are an imaginative outlet to communicate something meaningful for others to appreciate and draw upon. Enduring works of art that spark the imagination and create a deeper desire to understand and appreciate our relationship to one another, the natural world, and our Creator.
The beautiful wildlife, western and Native American sculptures found in our traditional Mill Creek and Mill Creek "suffused bronze" collections represent the finest in traditional American art, while our "Imago" collection presents a more contemporary and impressionistic treatment of traditional themes.
The "Village Life Collection" by Stacy Bayne carries us all back to our unique social and cultural roots while reminding us of our shared humanity.
"Natures Friends" is pure American folk art, capturing the simplicity and humor intrinsic to our furred friends with whom we share this planet.
Whether your home is a sprawling Teton lodge, or an apartment in the city; a home by the sea or a southwestern adobe, we hope that you will find a unique Mill Creek design that perfectly reflects your lifestyle.
Mill Creek Studios seeks to be a company who not only demonstrates, but also communicates Beauty, Inspiration, Integrity, Truth, and Quality, in and through the art we produce. For Mill Creek Studios creating art is not just a business enterprise, but also a journey into imagination and expression that seeks to create a dialogue between artist and viewer; an image someone can take with them that will at some point evoke memories and emotions that are meaningful.
One quality that helps separate man from the animals is our perception of beauty. We respond to an objects shape, surface and mass, and in our minds we have the conception of an ideal. Somehow we intuitively sense when the harmonious relationships of line, form, texture and balance, among other things, approximates that ideal. We believe it is the attempt then of the artist to coalesce into a limited space or form, that harmony, that symmetry, that balance, that unity in diversity, and that truth which can but poorly approximate the ideal from which man derives his knowledge of the beautiful.
Art has the ability to elevate or to debase, to express that which is good or that which is evil. These absolutes are expressed in a variety of forms, but because humans are extremely visual and imaginative beings the visual arts especially have a profound effect on how we see ourselves, our families, our communities, and the culture and world at large. The outcome of this dialogue is influenced to a great degree by the intent of the artist. It is our belief then, that if we are affected by the things upon which we reflect, than the art we reflect upon should inspire us to a higher and nobler concept of what we all were created to be.
When speaking of a work of art, integrity refers to the works overall truthfulness, completeness, or wholeness. But integrity is a quality that can and should also be applied to a person as well as a business. It refers to soundness, honesty, sincerity, and moral principle. These are qualities we at Mill Creek Studios strive to manifest both in our dealings with people and in the art we create.
A famous poet once wrote, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty. That is all we know on earth and all we need to know”. As true as this statement seems, it is yet imperfect and incomplete. Truth has many facets or characteristics, and art can be a fundamental means of telling the truth. The artist, as best he can, in his humble, creaturely way, has an obligation to embrace and signify something of truth in his art. Philosophers long ago determined that truth was that which related to reality. If art is to signify something of truth, of reality, then it must be consistent, it must be sound, it must have integrity, and it must be faithful. So a work of art must be what it purports to be. It is the commitment of Mill Creek Studios now and in the future to create works of art in which honesty, integrity, and a faithful commitment to excellence are inherent.
Plato once said, ”Nothing imperfect is the measure of anything”. In addition to the many facets or manifestations of truth, is the standard of excellence. While perfection is a goal we can never achieve, we nevertheless have one true and ultimate standard of perfection and excellence that we can set our sights on and strive to emulate. It is Mill Creek Studios commitment to reach for the best according to our ability, not only in our art but also in our business and our community.
Imagination is the power to visualize. As human beings made in the image of God, we alone out of all other creatures, have the capacity to mentally conceive images or ideas, express those ideas in language, and by the power of our will give those ideas material form. We believe art is a testimony of the larger desire of man to express what for him has significance and meaning. The sculptures our artists create are therefore an imaginative outlet to communicate something meaningful for others to appreciate and draw upon. Mill Creek Studios hopes to create enduring works of art that spark the imagination and open windows of exploration that create a deeper desire to understand and appreciate our relationships to one another, the natural world, and our Creator. For Mill Creek Studios, neither beauty nor truth stands without integrity, nor does quality exist without imagination and inspiration. We strive to be a company based on all six of these tenets because if a thing of beauty is created without integrity, it is no longer true and if a piece is made with quality but lacks imagination and inspiration, it will lack beauty. It is our hope that Mill Creek Studios will reflect these founding truths in the art we produce, and in so doing, that the windows of imagination would indeed be opened to a new awareness of the possibilities life presents to all of us.
At Mill Creek Studios we strive to not only offer the best in affordable art, but in addition, to ensure an ongoing pursuit to a higher standard of customer service. Customer Service is the critical link between the creative and manufacturing processes, of Mill Creek, our very professional sales representatives, and our customers.
All of our personnel are highly trained to answer any questions, and have worked hard at developing internal procedures that expedite and guarantee shipping of orders in 48 hours or less. At the final shipping stage, all orders are thoroughly inspected for final quality assurance prior to being sent around the world as Mill Creek Studios continues to “open your window of imagination.”
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THE CREATIVE PROCESS
What is it made of? How long did it take for the artist to create? Do you fire each piece? How are they painted? These are some of the commonly asked questions I encounter at an artist appearance or trade show. The questions come not only from collectors, but from the sales people and managers of retail stores as well.
To begin with, any artwork is born in the artists’ imagination, and takes form with an idea or concept. Some artists will sit down and sketch their ideas on paper to further formulate their concepts. Others, like myself, will begin by “sketching” their ideas three dimensionally in clay. For myself, this is the most inspirational time. This is when the composition is established and the mood, movement, and emotion are created giving the sculpture “life.” This is what is most important, not all the detail that will come later. This is the time when the artist is “interpreting” what he knows and feels about his subject, and “communicating” that feeling to the eventual viewer.
The entire creative process may take a week or many months depending on the size of the work, its complexity, the artists’ familiarity with the subject, and obviously, the amount of time dedicated to that project. Many artists, myself included, will work on several projects simultaneously in order to maintain a fresh perspective each time they touch a piece.
THE MOLD MAKING PROCESS
When the artwork is completed, our team of gifted and knowledgeable mold makers take over to create a flexible rubber mold of the original clay which will capture every detail with fingerprint accuracy. During this process, the clay original is damaged and lost forever. The initial and all important “master” mold of the original is then used to create subsequent production molds for the edition castings.
THE CASTING PROCESS
Now, at last! What is it made of? Very simply, each piece is composed of a blend of fine resins and pure white alabaster, or alabaster and porcelain powders. When “catalyzed” and poured into a mold, this resin composition will go through a chemical reaction, causing the mixture to harden and expand into every crevasse and detail of the mold. When cooled and removed from the mold, the result is an exact duplicate of the original art.
THE CHASING AND PATINA PROCESS
At this point each casting is examined, detailed, and cleaned to prepare the sculpture to receive a natural palette of the finest artist acrylics applied layer upon layer by skilled artisans. The beautiful finish which results is designed to enhance and define all the subtle detail of the artwork, as well as contribute to the life and realism of the subject.
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Mill Creek is a delightful and perennially running stream that has its beginnings in the winter snows high in the San Gorgonio Wilderness of the San Bernardino Mountains. Summer monsoons over the southwestern deserts create giant thunderheads which build up over the high peaks and occasionally send rushing torrents which turn our lazy gurgling stream into an angry flood.
Native Indians camped along the banks of the creek during the hot summer months, and later early settlers to the Redlands area would ride up the canyon in wagons and on horseback to camp and fish and enjoy the cool canyon breezes and refreshing pools the creek provided.
A sawmill was built at the upper end of the canyon which would be called Mill Creek Canyon and in the early 1900’s Mill Creek became a popular spot for trout fishing. Small weekend fishing cabins soon began to spring up in areas along the creek, and eventually one of these cabins became the home of a poor and struggling wood sculptor, his loving and supportive wife and their three boys.
During the warm summer months “Mill Creek Studios” was a clearing in the shade of giant sycamores and in the winter the shelter of an old drafty barn.
Creating large wood and stone sculptures by hand with only chisel and mallet or hammer can be a very slow process requiring weeks and even months of work, so we had what we called our bread and butter line. These were folksy wood sculptures carved out of pine knots found in the local mountains, and every weekend you could find me and sometimes Deb and the Boys, Travis, Jared and David at a local arts and crafts show.
After a while, my larger sculptures began to attract the attention of galleries and collectors and the little folk art carvings began to be a problem. They were very popular and kept us going, but they were taking too much time away from what I really wanted to do. If only we could figure out how to faithfully reproduce them, maybe we could reach a wider audience.
Well, to make a long story a little shorter, we did figure it out, and that old drafty barn became the first home of Mill Creek Studios. In 1989 with a total of five employees including ourselves we started creating and shipping those little folk-art characters, we called "Knot Knoggins."
Today twenty years later, we are very proud and feel very blessed by what Mill Creek Studios has become a publisher of very beautiful and affordable fine art sculpture.
An armature is an internal frame or skeleton which supports a modelled sculpture. A typical armature for a small sculpture is made of heavy gauge wire, bent and twisted to form the basic shape. Often the armature is designed to leave one or more pins protruding from the base of the finished sculpture to facilitate attaching it to the plinth
Carving is one of the oldest sculptural techniques. It is a subtractive process; starting with a solid block, the sculptor removes material using chisels and other tools to 'reveal' the finished form. Traditional carving materials include stone, especially marble, and fine grained woods.
Casting is a method of producing one or more copies of a sculpture. Typically, the original sculpture is modelled as usual and covered with a moulding material which sets hard when dry. The mould is then separated to release the original sculpture. Once the mould is reassembled, the casting material is poured in to the void and left to set. Traditionally, molten bronze is used as the casting material, but modern alternatives include resin. When the cast sculpture has cooled, or cured, the mould is again separated to release it, and reassembled ready to cast the next copy.
The cast sculpture may then require some finishing work to remove mould lines and other imperfections. The sculptor may also wish to patinate the work to produce the final piece.
a term used to describe a supreme artistic achievement.
what we call our ½ scale publications of a Masterwork.
from a Latin word meaning “sketch”. In sculpture it refers to a preliminary model.
to spread over or through in the manner of fluid or light. This best describes the technique we use to manipulate and blend colors in our in our “suffused color” and “suffused bronze” patinas.
a term used to describe a surface appearance of something grown beautiful especially with age or use. In sculptural art, especially bronze art, this term is also used to describe the process of layering acid washes over the heated surface of a bronze to create a natural and organic looking finish.
not enclosed within a definite border; We use this term to describe a sculptural style where the edge of the sculpture seems to fade into negative space.
in the usual sense, this refers to a part broken off. In sculpture, there are times when an artist uses part of a larger work to create a smaller study that focuses upon a particular aspect of the larger piece.