Local Artist Work

The Kellogg Free Library has an assortment of local artist works on display.
Come see these amazing pieces in person.

Earl Rumsey Durand 1935-2004

“Artist in Residence” for the NY State Parks Department for many years, Durand is perhaps most known for his demonstrations of the lost art of wood sculpture. Using native basswood and an unlikely tool, the chainsaw, he produced sculptures somewhat typical of chainsaw carvers, but after the wood dried completely, chisel and mallet were used for fine detail.
Durand learned about his unusual talent almost by accident. When he was 15, his artist’s clay piece “The Agony of Saint Seven,” was mistakenly entered in the professional category of a contest for metropolitan New York artists and won first place.
His next step was acceptance at the prestigious Cooper Union School of Fine Art in New York City. After a tour of duty in the U.S. Army, he spent 15 years in mold making, drafting and as artist/designer creating animated slide shows, prototypes for Avon, dioramas for 3-D photography and other unique art projects for a display firm in Westchester County.
Over the years, his talents expanded into ultraviolet paintings, bas-relief portraits, furniture carving for Stickley, plaster relief restoration at Boldt Castle on Hart Island in the St. Lawrence River, life-sized bronzes for the Boxing Hall of Fame in Canasota, architectural effects for both the Schweinfurth Museum and Cayuga Museum of History and Art in Auburn, a large relief carving of Hawaii’s King Kamahameha for display on the island of Kauai, restoration projects at the historic village in New Harmony, Ind. and heroic-sized statues for building facades.
Durand raised funds for the 1976 bicentennial in Cincinnatus by creating a medal depicting the Roman farmer turned statesman (for whom the town if named). The first of the limited edition medals was presented to the President of the United States at a special ceremony. Another Durand work that was presented to the president was an American Eagle commissioned by Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Corp. of Hartford, Conn.
Durand completed medical models of unborn infants in various stages of development, and a five-foot human brain which is translucent and contains sequential lights to demonstrate the phases of sleep, dream, and awakening. These interesting and detailed models went on tour.
Durand sculpture is collected and displayed throughout the world, and he has been referred to as “A Renaissance Man.”   He was adept in many mediums, handling diverse subjects from the human figure to animals and birds. His real love, however, was for realism and the classical.
(Biography information from Chateau Durand Art Gallery & Studio of Sculpture pamphlet)

The Kellogg Free Library is very fortunate to be able to have 6 pieces of Earl Rumsey Durand’s work on display for all to enjoy.


John Irvin Forshee 1883-1974

Born in Willet, NY on August 23, 1883, John Forshee early learned the art of tinsmithing alongside his father Walter and his grandfather, this in their shop in Willet.  Years later he married Jennie Spencer (from nearby Lisle), and they moved to Cincinnatus, living on Taylor Avenue (in the 1910 house where Tim and Melanie Campbell live today/2023).
Following the ways of his father and grandfather, John used hand tools to make an array of tin pieces—from cookie cutters to candelabra.  In the early 1970’s film maker Jack Ofield “discovered” John and his work and shot an on-location film of him, entitled “Tinker.”  That film became part of a larger PBS special entitled “Inheritance.”  In the film John is quoted as saying:  “I don’t want a helper, ‘cause his work would look different than that which I do.”
In the last part of his life John was placed in a nursing home in Cincinnatus.  He left the home and committed suicide in 1974.  John’s grandson commissioned local artist Earl Rumsey Durand to make a painting of his grandfather, and that painting was presented to the library (where it presently hangs).  John’s tools, belonging to his father and grandfather, are supposedly housed in The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, NY.  John is thought to have been the last practicing tinsmith in the country, “the last of a vanished breed of pioneer craftsmen.”  Many of his pieces are owned by the library and the Cincinnatus Area Heritage Society, with the society holding the copyright to the Jack Ofield film “Tinker.”
(Information provided by Cincinnatus Area Heritage Society)


Austin MacRae

Austin MacRae is an award-winning artist and singer-songwriter, a poet, a husband and a stepdad.  He currently lives in an 1860 farmhouse in Ithaca with his wife Rebecca, stepdaughter Erin, and their two senior cowboy cats, Clem and Blue.  MacRae creates representational landscapes that strike at the heart of the every day–a trodden pasture, a crooked tree, or a sunlit power line.  Inspired by the Cortland County hills and rural upbringing of his youth, he enjoys exploring the properties of light in both exterior and interior spaces.

Russel Spillmann

Russel was raised on the North Shore, Three Village area of Long Island, New York and is an alumnus of SUNY Cortland and the School of Ceramics at Alfred University. He currently resides in Central New York, in the historic Village of Homer. Russel worked on a commercial fishing boat during his adolescent years (out of Port Jefferson Harbor on Long Island Sound). Transitioning to the Central NY area to attend college, Russel set up his first studios in Cincinnatus and Solon, NY. Now living in Homer, Mr. Spillmann’s career has spanned forty years, during which his work has achieved national recognition, received awards at prestigious exhibitions and been represented in many fine craft and art galleries. He has been featured in numerous one-man and group shows, and his work is included in many private, corporate and public collections. Russel’s work is also included in the Sydney Swidler Collection, recently donated to the Crocker Art Museum of Sacramento, California. Russel has thrown over 30,000 clay works of art in his lifetime, and he has earned the respect of fans, patrons and collectors throughout that time.
(Biography information taken from www.russelspillmann.com)