Nebraska artist Jay Tschetter sculpts murals for Peru State College

Nebraska artist Jay Tschetter sculpts murals for Peru State College

Peru, Nebraska – June saw the completion of the new brick sculpture mural on the western facade of the College Theatre.  The College Theatre and event space is being renovated into a performing arts center.

The work was completed by Jay Tschetter of Images in Bricks. Tschetter’s work includes the Iron Horse Legacy Mural in the Haymarket District of Lincoln, Nebraska, and the Imagination mural at Shenandoah Public Library in Shenandoah, Iowa.

Tschetter writes, “I am honored that we were chosen to do the artwork for the theatre building, am pleased with the results and how it fits into the building and that the themes represent the history. I am excited to come back down there to see the murals once the scaffolding is removed and the sun is shining on it.”

Images in Brick’s foundation was laid in 1987 when Tschetter first saw a photo of a brick sculpture in an Endicott Brick brochure, and started imagining the wide world of possibilities inherent in the medium of brick. As a journeyman mason with many years experience in the field, and also being an accomplished part time artist in Nebraska, he realized this was the perfect marriage of the two separate disciplines.

Endicott Clay Products began in 1920 in Jefferson County Nebraska. The area is rich in clay that yields a variety of authentic iron spot colors (dark spots caused by the presence of iron salts) and is of excellent quality for bricks and sculpting.

The facade is built from bricks.

The left image is of W.H. Hoyt, long time faculty member and namesake of Hoyt Science Hall.

The facade is built from bricks.

The right image shows Normal Hall, most often referred to as Old Main, the original building in the space occupied by Hoyt Hall and the College Theatre.

Jason Hogue, director of marketing and communication adds, “Both images are based on photographs gathered for the sesquicentennial book project, Nebraska’s First College. The photos and sculpture share a background of the hills of Peru, as you would see them, from the vantage point of the current buildings.”

Tereza Kamenar wrote about the sculpting process earlier in the year following a trip to Tschetter’s studio, “At Endicott, the clay bricks are stacked according to the plans. A ‘dummy layer’ is added at the top so the sculptors have somewhere to pin the plastic, which covers the clay at night.”

“A second dummy layer, this one three bricks high, is added on the bottom to prevent the artists from having to lay on the floor to sculpt. As soon as the clay is arranged, a grid is grafted over the drawing and the bricks,” Kamenar continues. “The initial image is cut into the brick and the artist begins reduction carving. Several layers of refinement and adding of detail are done before the mural is complete.”

The clay is wet and cut into by special tools.

Tschetter carving the mural. After carving, the wet clay is fired brick by brick in a kiln.


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