Like all of his previous landscape-sized sculptures, Thomas Sayre draws inspiration from the surrounding community. The final piece will resemble a circular hole saw and will be called Across the Grain. Sayre derives its name from many places, both from Lenoir’s treasured past and its anticipated future.
Wheels of the past and future
It is apparent how the industrialization of water wheels, turbines and sawmills impacted the furniture industry in Caldwell County. These wheels came out of the ground and some ran in water, which is represented by the green stepping stones in the sidewalk that will surround the sculpture.
All of these wheels touched Caldwell County’s past in some way. “And like a skilled man, the furniture world changed quickly, and we started asking ourselves, what are the new wheels of Caldwell County’s future?,” Sayre explains. “The new wheels will drive the spirit and economy of Caldwell County.”
A logging lexicon
Thomas Sayre recognizes that the term “across the grain” is a logging term. When you cut across the grain, you are making a commitment, an intentional act to make something. “This ability to commit to doing something ensures that there is a future,” explains Sayre. “The act of bringing this sculpture to Lenoir is going across the grain, and I get the sense there is something unique here.”
Sayre further states that there are other towns and cities much larger that have tried pieces of this scale, and they aren’t even close to realizing a completed project.