Him and His Pancakes
The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association recently added a new source of Bunyan appeal to its collection of items in the Crosslake Campground Exhibit Room. Eric Waller’s marble carving of Paul and Babe, entitled ‘Him and His Pancakes”, was purchased by the PBSBA through donations from firewood sales at the campground, and delivered by the artist on December 14. The Crosslake Corps of Engineers and the PBSBA share the exhibit space and both groups are eager to start planning together how to best showcase this stunning carving for public enjoyment.
It took artist, Eric Waller, more than 1,300 hours over an 18-month span to create the marble carving of Paul Bunyan, ax in hand, working behind a log-toting Babe the Blue Ox. The carving is 8- feet, 9-inches long and 2-feet, 4-inches wide and is 1 1/4-inches thick.
Waller said carving the pine trees took him the longest to do, but they were the easiest to accomplish. The log cabin with the rocks took him a week to complete and Paul’s shirt took him two to six days. But, noted Waller, “One of the hardest parts was finding the right Paul Bunyan.”
Perhaps equally difficult was finding the right buyer; one that fit Waller’s fervent hope of selling his marble mural to a public entity so it could be enjoyed by tourists and the community. Perhaps it was a stroke of fate as sure as a stroke of Paul’s ax to a white pine that brought together the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association, the USACE-Crosslake and the artist. A summer Dispatch news story about the completed carving was brought to the attention of the Byway chair, the idea was presented at the September board meeting, artistic board member Donna Stricker and her equally artistic husband, Steve, did a personal viewing for the PBSBA, bringing back only positive comments, and in short order, the future of Waller’s marble Paul and Babe was sealed as a display to be enjoyed by the public, just as the artist had hoped.
A task group has been established to work on setting up the exhibit area for the carving. In the meantime, the public can view ‘Him and His Pancakes’ in the entry corridor of the Administrative Building at the Crosslake Corps of Engineers Campground.
Find out more about the USACE’s Crosslake Campground.
For information about commissioning a special sculpture from artist, Eric Waller, call him at 218-330-2775.