Community Interest

Augusta Coppersmiths Create Big Foot Sculpture

By Dianne Sudbrock

Those who attended the Augusta Christmas Candlelight Walks last December were met with a rare and unexpected site – a giant sasquatch sculpture on the sidewalk on Jackson Street.  The sculpture was created by metal artists Brian Watson and Ben Boyher as a commissioned piece for Bob Cox of Branson, Missouri.

By day, Watson and Boyher are coppersmiths and co-owners of B Flash, LLC, installing copper roof flashing and copper cladding on chimneys, bay windows, etc. When not working construction, the two team up to create metal artwork featuring a wide range of works from artistic copper range hoods, to one-of-kind accent furniture, to large outdoor sculptures fashioned from recycled, naturally aged scrap metal.

Brian said, “We’ve done a number of commissioned projects together. Ben is my wife’s cousin, so I’ve known him since he was a kid.”

Ben has a lifetime of construction and carpentry experience, and Brian has experience in engineering, machining and computer technology. Both are creative and intuitive. Brian said, “We tend to think alike, so we work very well together and our projects go faster. We feed off each other’s ideas and inspiration.”

For this particular sculpture, they started with some online research – pictures of the infamous “Big Foot” sightings from decades ago. Then using AutoCAD® software, they created and scaled a proportional image. To build the structure, they first created the armature (framework for the skin) using “vine rods” (1/4 inch x 3 foot rods that vineyards use to support newly planted grape vines.) For instance, to create an arm, they would start with a series of hoops that graduated in size from the wrist to the elbow to the shoulder and wired them together to form the frame to which the skin, or fur, would be attached. The armature by itself was somewhat fluid; so once all the pieces of the armature were built and assembled, the structure was stabilized by welding steel tubing inside the framework.

The outside skin and fur were fashioned out of old barn tin. First, the ridges were pounded flat, then a plasma cutter was used to cut 3-foot-long ribbons or strips of pointed metal for the fur. The fur was tied around the armature with wire, starting at the bottom, then working up, in overlapping layers. “There’s a lot of fur on this piece,” Brian said. 
To shape the facial features, hands and feet, templates were fashioned from tar paper, then used to cut the metal to the proper shapes and size.

The finished piece is 11 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs about 300 pounds. It took the two artists about 2-1/2 months to complete, finishing just in time to wheel it out to the sidewalk in front of Brian’s home for the Augusta Candlelight Walks this past December.

Currently, the sculpture is on loan to Tom Alsop and can be seen at 5th and Oak Auto Body along Hwy. 100 just east of Washington, MO. Tom has attached the sculpture to a mobile base and wheels it in and out of the building. This spring, the sasquatch was seen sporting bunny ears in celebration of Easter, and a face mask reflecting the Corona Virus situation. Eventually, the sasquatch will grace the wooded shoreline of Bob Cox’s property along Lake Taneycomo in Branson, Missouri.

For more information, or to talk to Brian and Ben about projects you might have in mind, call B Flash LLC at 636-484-0002. 

1. Watson Brian and Ben with Big foot web IMG_20191206_152624517.jpg
Ben Boyher (left) and Brian Watson with the completed sculpture. 

2. Watson in progress web big foot 20200424_141608 print.jpg
The sculpture in progress - notice the armature (wire framework) of the arm.

3. Watson table a SPLIT ONE web.jpg
Another recently commissioned piece: a twisted mild steel wine vine table.

4. Watson 2019 range hood web.jpg
A custom range hood with copper relief wild boar sculpture.

5. Watson 2019 fish relief web.jpg
Copper relief fish in the water sculpture.

6. Watson window flashing web.jpg
Unique window copper flashing.

7. Watson 2019 chimneys web.jpg
Copper chimneys.

8. Watson 2019 cupola web.jpg
Copper roofed cupola.