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    “A lot of people, including professional welders, will tell you that bronze cannot be welded,” artist Guy Tedesco says. Proof to the contrary stands 25-feet tall in front of Harvey Browne Presbyterian Church in St. Matthews. Bars of greenish bronze twist and curl together into the shape of a cross, holding smaller, colored glass crosses dimpled with church members’ fingerprints — a symbol for the congregation’s centennial.

    The 8,000-pound sculpture, installed earlier this year, is the result of nearly four years of planning and three years of physical construction, a process that included building kilns the size of a Toyota Yaris to fire glass at 1,475 degrees and constructing a to-scale test model from rebar, a material much cheaper than the $40,000 worth of bronze in the finished piece. “The only way I could really get a handle on this thing was to produce it actual-size,” Tedesco says. “If it’s going to be a sculpture when it grows up, it needs to be a sculpture when it’s born.” The 56-year-old and a small team cut bronze pieces with a water jet and hand-forged brackets to hold glass and tapered bronze rods.

    The inside of Harvey Browne is a testament to Tedesco’s experimentation. In the center of the aisle stands a baptismal font (“Which annoys some brides,” he says) with hands cast into the glass surface, hammered copper accents below. He made the oval communion table out of mahogany. On the wall behind the pulpit hangs a cross that resembles the oversized one outside. Church members helped make the metal and glass crosses during after-service seminars with Tedesco. Each person made two: one to keep, one for the sculpture.

    A Louisville native, Tedesco spent time as a clothing designer in New York, producing designer gowns from $500-per-yard fabric. He transitioned to materials of nearly any type: wood, copper, brass, bronze — the list could continue. You can see his work at various churches throughout town, and you might know his Thomas Jefferson statue in Jeffersonville, Indiana. His New Albany studio is stuffed with unfinished projects: metal scraps, portraiture, fabric. “It’s a very strange place,” he says. “I’ve gone from catching my clothes on fire from welding or grinding to sitting down at a sewing machine and working on an evening gown.”

    This originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Louisville Magazine on pg. 108 as the My Method bit. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Photos by Terrence Humphrey

    Jennifer Kiefer's picture

    About Jennifer Kiefer

    Germantown transplant. Louisville native.

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