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SculpMetal Figure: Account from Eugene Bergmann

“I took Industrial Design classes with Rowena Reed Kostellow for three years. I admired her greatly from the first, and have never lessened my esteem for her.

“With homework, I always tried to follow her instructions—she was always teaching us some new aspect of design. I found that, in her classes as well as in other design classes, students who ignored directions received more praise—they did something that, for me, seemed more ‘designy.’ (I always felt that I learned the hard way—doing precisely what the instructor required.)

a black and white photograph of a figurative sculpture in a standing pose

“One evening, homework completed, expressing some aesthetic urge, I took some wire and formed it into a skeletal figure. I then applied “SculpMetal,” a muddy metallic mix that dried into a firm, hard result. For some reason I brought it to class the next day, and it caught Miss Reed’s eye. She approached and quietly stared at my little figure from all sides. ‘That,’ she said, ‘is the best answer to the figure problem I have ever seen!’ Without thinking about it, I’d absorbed her teaching and properly expressed it.

“She took it and kept it. I wonder where my little three-dimensional masterpiece is now. It is roughly 5-6” high, on a squarish, gray pedestal. I hope my name is on it, maybe with her comment about it.”

—Eugene Bergmann, BID 1959