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Lance Dooley | How I’m bringing E.T. Pybus back to life

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Lance Dooley
Visitors to Pybus Public Market can watch sculptor Lance Dooley at work.

As spring transitioned into June, I was anxious to begin adding clay to the metallic armature that would become the sculpture of E.T. Pybus, the legendary man who constructed the building that is now the Pybus Public Market on the Wenatchee riverfront. The contractors receded in numbers and were replaced by market goers pushing strollers and curious onlookers asking questions about the process.

This fell in line with the strategy laid out by Joann Walker, Jan Cooke Mack and myself. It was our vision to allow the Wenatchee populous to enter the room at all hours and see firsthand how a seven-foot sculpture is made. As the months passed by, I slowly met thousands of new faces showing enthusiasm and interest in the sculpture project and the market. It is difficult for a visual artist to expose oneself for so long to random comments, but I knew it was worth it when parents hoisted their children up on the sculpting platform for a photo opportunity. I recall meeting established artists when I was a child and that experience enriched my life and inspired me as an artist, as I hope it will for the children who stood in front of the sculpture here.

The positive comments continued all summer long and I tried my best to cater to everyone’s curiosity. As time passed on, I felt as though I had come to know the true character of E.T. Pybus. There were several conversations with his granddaughters Marva and Linda, who were a big help in painting a picture of who ET Pybus really was. I came to understand that E.T. Pybus was a hard working and sincere man with unquestionable morals. This is a common thread in many successful people and I saw it in Mike and Joann Walker as they held true to their vision of the marketplace.

The summer was ending and the fatigue of the marathon sprint had caught up to me. I carefully placed the last morsels of clay on the sculpture and continued shaping and fine-tuning the forms, while thinking about how the surface would look when we would eventually create a bronze cast for the main concourse of the market. I wanted the sculpture to have a natural and functional look, yet convey a sense of superhuman qualities, as most legendary historical figures seem to have.

Lance Dooley is in the process of producing a sculpture of E.T. Pybus at the Pybus Public Market. He can be reached at lance@lancdooley.com

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