The Sports Legends of Delaware County and Delaware County Veterans Memorial will be honoring Emlen Tunnell, an American hero, on June 2nd at 2:00 PM by unveiling a seven-foot a bronze statue at the Radnor Township Building.
• Grew up in Garrett Hill
• Graduated Class of 1942 from Radnor
• WWII Coast Guard Veteran, saving the lives of two men
• Played for the NY Giants and Green Bay Packers
• First African American that was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame
The 7-foot tall bronze statue cost $75,000 and was funded through donations. Without the dedication and belief of Phil Damiani, Jim Vankoski, Rich Pagano and Chuck Weems in the importance of honoring Emlen Tunnell this monument could not have been made. Sculptor Jennifer Frudakis created the piece and it was forged at Laran Bronze Foundry in Chester, Pa. The statue was a year and a half in the making. Jennifer, a graduate of PAFA, has been in the world of sculpture since the 1980s. In her early years, she assisted Zenos Frudakis in creating the ten foot bronze statues of the Four Phillies Greats – Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts and Richie Ashburn, that resides at Citizen Bank Park in Philadelphia. She currently teaches at the Wayne Art Center and is an active artist living in Doylestown.
Jennifer is an artist that works in the art of Lost-wax casting, a process by which a duplicate metal sculpture, often bronze, is cast from an original sculpture.
1. Starts with lots of research including reading about her subject, looking at pictures, YouTube videos – anything she can find about the person. The process is quite complicated and we’re simplifying it here
2. A scale model is sculpted in clay, working out the pose, action, motion, and likeness, every detail. The scale model goes to the foundry and a 3D model is made, enlarging it to seven feet tall
3. This goes to milling machine and an exact copy in Styrofoam is created.
4. The model is then brought to her studio and she builds an armature inside of the statue. After it is constructed she covers in in clay and goes over every inch again.
5. Then it’s taken back to the foundry
6. It’s now like making a hollow chocolate Easter bunny. A wax positive is made that is identical to the original sculpture. The wax sculpture is then cleaned up.
7. An elaborate system of wax rods, called sprues, are applied to the wax pattern or 3D wax.
8. The ceramic shell casting process begins with the wax image being dipped into a mixture of silica sand and slurry. This step can take several weeks to cure or harden into a rock like substance able to withstand the temperature of poured bronze
9. Then it’s heated and the wax is melted so you then have an empty shell.
10. Once you have the shell and it’s ready for casting the bronze can be poured
11. After the bronze shell has cooled, the ceramic mold is carefully hammered and chiseled away, revealing the bronze sculpture within. The pieces are welded with great care and the artist may have to rework areas in the bronze. The sculpture is finished to give the piece the chosen patina according to the artist’s specifications
“This is the kind of sculpture that gives meaning to what I do,” said Frudakis. These types of sculptures, where I can learn about someone and pay tribute to them through my work is what makes it so rewarding.”
So if you go to the unveiling or the next time you walk by or drive by this statue pause and appreciate how much went into the creation.