There are over 300 mastodon excavation sites in Indiana! Farmers will plow their fields or heavy equipment operators will dig into the soil and then "clank!" Giant bones from these distant relatives of elephants emerge from the soil. As a child I remember going to the Walkerton Public Library in search of books on dinosaurs. The small library had an excellent collection of fossilized mastodon teeth, vertebrae, skull and leg fragments. My imagination and desire to learn more about ancient life was fired up every time I looked at those specimens!
The mastodon challenge was on. We needed a lot of cardboard. We were going into uncharted territory. We had never built something this large before. We knew we would need a sturdy framework to support the exterior of the sculpture. Our sculpture method of connecting sticks of cardboard to a reinforced skeletal framework would work just as well for a mastodon as it would for an apatosaur. We just needed to begin. Over Winter Break, I transformed the neck piece of the apatosaur into a mastodon spinal column. Hips, head, shoulders and leg sections would come next. We had a primary structure to begin attaching, connecting and weaving cardboard sticks that would become Fred Jr. Off and on, over the course of three months, whenever we could put in time, we fleshed our life size mastodon sculpture out.
|We estimate Fred Jr. the cardboard mastodon weighs about 190 lbs.|
|Clark reinforces new cardboard to Fred Jr's back leg.|
|Fred Jr. is 9.5 feet tall and nearly 20 feet long with his tusks!|
|Fred Jr. with two jubilant sculptors!|