Artist: Jamie Herndon
Palmetto with Flowers
GJ: How were you contacted to create this piece?
JH: South Carolina Artists forwarded the call for art from the Mauldin Cultural Council. I have been a member for eight years with SCA.
GJ: What is the inspiration for this piece?
JH: The executive director of SCA, Alexandra White, gave me a push to create it after having my son. I was on maternity leave recovering from a c-section when the idea began.
In memory of the Charleston church shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and the overall theme of strength and resilience shown by South Carolinians during a recent flood at the time, I proposed to use the South Carolina palm tree adorned with handmade blacksmithed flowers, leaves and stems centered on a steel base.
I used a heart in the tree trunk to represent the love that South Carolinians have shown time and time again when historical events happen, as well as nine magnolias to represent the nine lives tragically lost in Charleston.
GJ: What materials did you use to create this statue?
JH: The materials chosen were aluminum and steel. I used a powder-coating painting process to ensure this sculpture will easily endure 10 years, if not a lifetime. I used colors such as South Carolina royal blue and red oxide [rust] to represent the history of the state, the flowing waters of the flood and blood, respectively. The base of the sculpture was cut in the shape of South Carolina out of 3/8-inch steel.
The main 8-foot-tall palmetto tree was constructed of 1/4 sheet aluminum and powder-coated royal blue. Strong acids and phosphates were used to prep the aluminum before powder coating to strengthen the bond of the high-grade powder coat to the aluminum structure.
GJ: How long did it take to create? What was the creation process like?
JH: Four months. Blacksmithing is hot and dirty. The fun part is working with fire and watching metal come alive.
GJ: What is your favorite part of the piece and why?
JH: My favorite part is the heart. It is an implied negative shape that the viewer has to look up to. It rises above the blacksmithed flowers [the people]. Being a new mom, I wanted to show how important love is.
GJ: When was it completed?
JH: December 7, 2016.
Located on the Mauldin Public Art Trail, 101 E. Butler Road in Mauldin.