By Caitlin Taylor
The Mason Times
Calling all creative thinkers: the Mason Public Library is holding a community-wide contest to name the library’s newest art piece, a whimsical sculpture of a girl, created by Doug DeLind and the Mason Art Guild.
Suggestions may be made at the Mason Library as well as Bestsellers bookstore and Kean’s Store Co. through April 4. The winner will be announced on May 9 at Bestseller’s Soup to Art fundraiser, a night where art by local students will be featured throughout the store.
The contest is sponsored by the Arts Initiative Mason, which will award the winner a $50 gift card, according to John Takis, a library assistant at the Mason Public Library. Takis said that the winner’s name also will be featured next to Doug DeLind’s on a nameplate accompanying the sculpture.
“Initially the naming contest was just going to be for the children,” said Shirley Renwick, Mason Art Guild member. “But we thought, ‘why not get the whole community involved?’”
Community and collectivity were consistent themes, not just in the sculpture naming contest, but throughout the entire creative process of the artwork.
“Typically we (Art Guild) go to Doug’s studio for a session with him every October,” Renwick said. “This particular time he suggested we take on this project together. It is a collective work.”
Takis describes the whimsical sculpture as a depiction of a woman or girl wearing a dress or robe. The dress, he said, is composed of 12 tiles. These tiles, Renwick explained, were designed by 12 members of the Art Guild, covered in colorful glaze and compiled.
According to Renwick, the piece is a raku sculpture, a type of art that uses ash to achieve its blackened character. With that said, the remainder of the sculpture was created with clay and heated in a kiln. Afterward, DeLind put the clay in garbage cans with newspapers – the most crucial step in creating raku art.
“It is a Mason treasure,” said Cheryl Lyons, head librarian. “Doug is well-renowned and a regular patron of our library. He is very important for our community.”
In addition to his piece at the library, DeLind has done art for the Potter Park Zoo and the MSU campus, along with surrounding communities. He not only does sculptures, but paintings too.
“Doug is such a community-minded, giving kind of person,” Renwick said. “It is just such a pleasure to work with him. He is very generous with his time.”
DeLind’s work is the first of many local art pieces to be featured at the Mason Public Library, as it is a goal to feature more community work throughout the building in the future. Looking forward, the next piece of art that the library is expecting is a hanging rails fixture from another local artist.