Have you ever heard of sculpting butter? I’m no artist so this was all new to me. Fun! I thought you might get a kick out of it, too.
Dan Ross of Ohio spent three and a half decades sculpting butter before retiring in 1999. Read more about him here or just admire his handiwork below. He isn’t the only one though to think of sculpting butter. Apparently it has been about for more than one hundred years!
Now that you learned to make butter last week, I’m wondering how many of you will take up sculpting??
A reader pointed out that butter sculpting was a major competition in the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis. I found the following data at this site.
It was estimated that ten tons of Butter was sculpted into figures in the Palace of Agriculture. Each day curious crowds watched as the sculptors worked in the mammoth freezers. A blue ribbon in the butter contest was considered a highly coveted award to take back to your state. Twelve states were represented by 300 entries in the butter contest with Minnesota having 60 entered on its behalf.
Minnesota’s subject was “Father Hennepin discovering the falls of St. Anthony”. In life size it depicted Father Hennepin in priest’s garb being rowed by an Indian in a canoe on a river of butter. This contained over 1,000 pounds of butter.
Illinois had modeled busts of Lincoln and Grant with the statue of liberty in between them.
Iowa’s exhibit dealt with the introduction of creameries to the west and showed a model of the dairy school at the College of Agriculture at Ames, Iowa. It also showed a bust of John Stewart a pioneer in the dairy industry west of the Mississippi. It also included a model of the first creamery at Manchester, Delaware County, Iowa.
Connecticut displayed its state seal and the old Charter Oak along with butter in several forms for market.
Wisconsin’s butter display included a life size statue of a cow and dairy maid, and a model of the Wisconsin University Dairy School plus a collection of butter in numerous forms for market.
South Dakota’s was regarded as very ornamental and pretty. It was composed of fruit and flowers and table decorations in butter. It was noted that the bouquets of roses and lilies were very real.
North Dakota had an equestrian statue of President Theodore Roosevelt in life size.
California had a life size statue of their state seal.
Oregon depicted a dairy farm with the family all helping. It was called “churning time”.
Washington showed “milking time” which had a milk maid milking and directing a stream of milk into the mouth of a cat.
Indiana and Nebraska both displayed butter in various forms ready for market arranged into towers. In fact, Indiana’s exhibit consisted of stacks of butter cartons.
References: Journal of Agriculture, June 30, 1904.
I found some links to other pictures for your enjoyment.