Tryon Arts & Crafts introduces Penny-Farthing Bicycle sculpture

Published 12:14 pm Friday, February 9, 2024

TRYON—The Town of Tryon has a variety of noticeable landmarks, and the newest one is a nearly twelve-foot Penny-Farthing bicycle—the latest sculpture to brighten the Tryon Arts & Crafts School grounds at 373 Harmon Field Road. 

The Penny-Farthing bike is the creation of the school’s aptly named volunteer team, the Breakfast Crew. The group earned their name by meeting for breakfast early each Friday morning to socialize, plan extracurricular activities and discuss ways to enhance TACS. 

The bicycle sculpture is one of many of their projects around the campus and inside of the school, which continues to grow both in membership and program offerings. There are not many projects out of reach for the Breakfast Crew, which is made up of Fred Herres, Nick Fischer, Vern Davis, Dave Briere, Jerry Pospisil, Bernard Edwards, Gerry Drew, Madison Geer, Will Kallberg, Scott Silverman and the late Walt Myers, thanks to their complementary skills and backgrounds. They also have developed a good-hearted camaraderie that allows them to rib each other and work together. 

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Their first sculpture, a towering tree in bloom beside the silhouettes of two women is dedicated to crewmember Walt Myers, who passed in 2022 and did much of the work on the piece in his home workshop. 

The Penny-Farthing bicycle sculpture’s designer, Will Kalberg, says, “I’d made a small bicycle sculpture at my home that the guys liked, and with bicycling becoming such an important part of our community, we came up with the idea to do the penny-farthing.”

The sculpture is made of numerous found materials including old bicycles donated by the Polk County landfill. The front wheel and most of the sculpture were assembled in the Shane Urquhart Metals & Glass Studio. They then added white PVC pipe and pex piping to highlight the wheels. Showcasing the crew’s inventiveness, they heated sand inside the PVC pipe to make it malleable enough to be attached to the front wheel. Stained glass was added inside the spokes of the bicycle wheels, another challenging task that involved attaching copper to the stained glass and welding it into the spokes. The Tryon Garden Club will provide the finishing touches to the new landmark, adding flowers to the bed under the sculpture.

“TACS applauds the Breakfast Crew for their work on this monumental site-specific kinetic sculpture, a testament to their resourcefulness and creativity,” says Executive Director Will Barclift. “The vibrant array of colors reflects the Crew’s playfulness and symbolizes TACS’ commitment to diversity and our mission of providing creative opportunities for everyone.”

Crewmember Gerry Drew added, “This is truly a great group of guys full of diverse skills. We’re not necessarily a part of the Arts and Crafts School. We’re volunteers who enjoy each other’s company. We get together over breakfast and try to develop projects and ideas to help the school.”

The Polk County Appearance Commission matching grant, Scott and Adria Silverman, Fred and Pam Herres, and Breakfast Crew in-kind donations partially funded the project.

Their latest project, a specially designed outdoor grill, will be featured at the upcoming Hearth & Anvil Open-Flame Dinner with John Wilson on March 15. 

For more information on Tryon Arts & Crafts School, visit tryonartsandcrafts.org.