We kicked off Gulf Coast Reads today with forensic sculptor, Amanda Danning. The book by Stephen Harrigan, Remember Ben Clayton, is about a father who commissions a sculpture of his son who was killed in World War I. Amanda brought her personal thoughts about being a sculptor and gave a slide show of some of her favorite pieces showing remembrance throughout history. She even told us about the tempestuous love story between Rodin and Camille Claudel, both famous sculptors. Amanda covered all the bases: love, sex, power, bravery, feelings, murder, kidnapping, and syphilis.
What is exciting is the technology available to forensic artists today. In the TV show Bones, we have a forensic doctor who works with an artist. Amanda said that the TV show’s depiction of the technology is quite over the top, but we are getting close. Amanda showed us pictures of bone fragments and how her talent assisted by modern technology allowed her to sculpt a bust of the Marquis Sablonierre, a French settler from the Fort St. Louis settlement from 1686 in Texas. He was killed by Indians and this gruesome tale mirrored the kidnapping in our book. What a way to start our Gulf Coast Reads month.