Columbus Dispatch  (February 12, 1993):  p. 3 C.

“Students Building Ark Are Inspired By Carver.”

By Lovell Beaulieu.


Most of the students in Corinna Wilson's and Kimberly Anderson's fifth-grade classes at Medary Elementary School were a year or two old when Columbus woodcarver Elijah Pierce died.  But for two hours yesterday, they kept his spirit alive.

The students were using quilted material to build a free-standing soft sculpture that will resemble an ark. They began the project in early January as part of a competition about Pierce’s work.

A barber by trade, Pierce spent much of his time carving figures with a religious theme, including one title Noah’s Ark.

Made of cotton cloth and batting, the quilted pieces will be decorated with a colorful rainbow, the numbers 1 to 100 and the names of the countries represented by the students' nationalities.

And, as with Noah's Ark, there will be animals. Made of clay, they include bees, doves, elephants, raccoons, kangaroos, birds, reindeer, dolphins, mice and an octopus. Noah and his family members also will be on board.

When finished, the ark will be taken to the Columbus Museum of Art, where it will join the works of 10 other schools from central Ohio that participated in a project coinciding with Pierce’s exhibit.

''When people hear quilt, they think of (a) hanging on the wall,'' Wilson said. ''This is a three-dimensional quilt.”

The students at Medary, 2500 Medary Ave., on the North Side, spent a week looking at the works of Pierce. They also looked at a sketch of an ark to capture the shapes, Wilson said.  Theirs will be 4 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet, to fit museum specifications, she said. 

Tammy Webb, 11, made a giraffe that will lumber its way onto the ark. She said the time spent, an hour, was worth it. ''I ran overtime making the circles and putting in the eyes,'' she said, but “it was really fun.”

Each student in the two classes made a pair of animals. The outside of the quilt will have flags and the animals. The work will be complete with ramps for the animals and signs in different languages identifying the various animals.

The exhibit in which the students' work will be displayed is called ''Elijah Pierce, Woodcarver.”  It runs through May 16 at the museum.

''This is incredible work,'' said Columbus artist Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, who was at the school to see the students' progress. ''They not only caught the spirit, they caught the ideas, the brilliance” of Pierce, she said. 

Copyright 1993 The Columbus Dispatch