Stopping Time

These are the words Beth Franz uses to describe her art. Her business is Mountain Air Creations, a commission sculpting enterprise. The transformative event of becoming a sculptor began in 1987 from an adult education class designed as an introduction to ‘3-D form and creation in clay’, taken shortly after earning a Masters of Arts degree in English. The focus is creating not only the facsimile of the person, but more importantly the ‘spirt’ or essence of the individual.

Working primarily from photos of the individual and close collaboration with the client, the process begins. Through stories and descriptions, as told by the customer, a connection or resonance is developed with the person to be honored. These stories are what fuel the creative energy to generate the piece. As the piece matures from a lump of clay towards the finished work, numerous ‘check-ins’ are suggested, to affirm the piece is proceeding in the right direction. Upon completion, the approved work is transported to Cleveland, where using the lost wax process, the bronze casting is done.

While in-depth knowledge of human anatomy, proportion, and a little mechanical savvy to create the internal support structure is required, the real gift is translating those ’sparkling blue eyes’ into something that is felt by everyone who views the sculpture. Sounds easy to the novice onlooker, but consider that the slightest change in a smile reconfigures almost every muscle in the face. Do you get the idea now?

While not an inexpensive undertaking, honoring someone who is important to you is something to consider. You probably have seen her work in the entrance lobby of Ohio Health (Ralph Phillips) or in front of the Child Development Center on the Mansfield Ohio State/NCSC campus.

Beth can be contacted at or 419-774-9225.

To quote her favorite writer, Willa Cather, ”What was any art but a mold in which imprison for a moment the shining elusive element which is life itself –life hurrying past us and running away, too strong to stop, too sweet to lose.”