This video is a must see! Ted’s bio and links to information on his work are below.
I have a personal story to share about Ted’s Heads.
10 Years ago, I was on a hike with my Dad along the Hudson River, and we happened upon a older man riding his bike up the rocky path in the woods with a big boulder strapped to the back rack of his 3-speed. We were so impressed by his determination, will, and strength. It was inspiring, really. We assumed that the man must be the Rock Carver, who’s home we passed in Dutchtown to get to the trailhead parking lot, a painted river cottage packed to the brim with stone heads. On the way back, we stopped by the vintage wooden house with folky front porch enveloped in seemingly hundreds of sculptures, to admire all of the various carved heads.
The soul of each stone unique, had been brought out so simply. We stood there staring for almost an hour. My father, a Civil Engineer and unrequited artist himself, was profoundly inspired by the display. “If you could pick one, which one would you have?”
I couldn’t answer that, as I would want to start a collection as large as Ted’s, if given the option. “I like them all so much, I couldn’t begin to choose one. How about you?”
“I would pick The One With The Hat. It’s the only one with a hat. That is my favorite.”
Dad and I fell so in love with the idea of taking one home, after an hour of standing there, that we actually decided that maybe we could, and proceeded to knock on Ted’s door. Ted was running out, but told us that he couldn’t bear to part with any, really, and that they were not for sale. But he could talk to us more another time because he was running out. We planned to return the next day to talk to Ted again, but it was the day my dad would leave back home, and we never had a chance to return.
My dad was supposed to come visit again three weeks later. We’d talk to Ted then. He never made it, though. Two weeks went by, and my dad suddenly died. it was a sub-zero Buffalo night and he was chipping ice in the driveway, when his heart stopped. It was a huge shock, and unfathomably sad, as he was an extremely healthy 66, but that’s what happened.
A month later, I called Ted and told him what had happened, and the story about The One With The Hat. I am eternally grateful to Ted because he doesn’t usually choose to part with his heads. Of course he would sell it to me. I think he was sad to see it go, but grateful it was going away with so much meaning attached to it. It sits in my garden where ever I live, in plain view, now, feeling important.
Thank You, Ted.
Sabrina Weld Feldman
The One With The Hat & Jim Weld – The Other One With The Hat
Ted Ludwiczak was born in Poland in 1927. He moved to New York in 1956 and worked as a contact lense grinder. In the late 1980’s when Ludwiczak retired and his wife died, he moved to a small cottage perched on a cliff on the Hudson River. He hauled the rocks out of the river and taught himself how to carve them. At first Ludwiczak used a chisel and an old lawn mower blade. Later he graduated to power tools. He has created a beautiful environment with hundreds of his large extended family of rock heads.
“Rocks talk to me,” he said. “I pick ones that have a face in them. Then I follow the shape of the stone. I can’t wait to see how it will turn out. I usually know about halfway through. It’s not always easy. Sometimes I lie awake at night, trying to figure out how to get the expression to come out of the stone.”
Ludwiczak’s stone carvings range in size from 6 inches to 4 feet. Working with these massive stones is a challenge for anyone, but this octogenarian is astonishingly strong and able.
Ted Ludwiczak’s stone carvings have been collected by the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore and the American Folk Art Museum in New York City.
Bio referenced from Gallery C’s Website – http://galleryc.net/artists/ted-ludwiczak/#.VAn_-lY-a-U
Other great Reference article:http://folkart.org/mag/ted-ludwiczak