Professor Greenberg, students make repairs to apple sculpture

Since its unveiling last fall, the large apple sculpture on Clarion’s campus has attracted attention from students, faculty and campus organizations as a medium for free speech. Most recently, the blue tarp covering the apple has caught the eyes of passers-by.

The apple is currently broken on the top; the stem and leaf snapped off, and the top caved in, revealing a hollow interior. Ceramics professor Gary Greenberg and his students have taken on the challenge of repairing the apple.

Ceramics professor Gary Greenberg and a group of students have been working to repair the apple for the past couple months.
Ceramics professor Gary Greenberg and a group of students have been working to repair the apple for the past couple months.

The apple itself is made of a cast resin and marble, but students are using a range of other materials to complete the repair, including concrete plastic fiberglass, reinforced body putty, aluminum and steel.

Repair of the apple requires many steps to restore it to its original glory, with an addition.

“We initially started cutting away all the damaged stuff at the top,” Greenberg said. “We added a skirt of fiberglass putty to that, and we are also putting a center support in; [the apple] didn’t originally have one. That consists of reinforced concrete. What we are doing now is shaping some aluminum sheeting from the broken bit to the center.”

Greenberg said they are taking measures to keep the stem and leaf from being broken off again.

“We’ll be screwing the leaf down through the fiberglass and into the supports,” Greenberg said.

That way, the apple will be less vulnerable to damage than before.

The structural challenges are not the only ones facing Greenberg and his students. The approaching winter season makes it difficult to find opportune times to finish the repairs.

“We get together whenever possible and when the weather’s workable,” Greenberg said. “We have to do it on-site.”

Working with the materials themselves becomes a challenge in colder weather, he said. “It affects the setting time of the body putty. I’m not sure that it sets up as well. You can compensate with a hardener,” Greenberg said, but only to an extent.

Completion of repairs depends upon finding time to work when the weather permits. Greenberg said he hopes to finish it within the next couple of weeks.

For their work on repairing the apple, Greenberg’s ceramics students are receiving grant money, which will go toward expenses for attending the annual conference held by the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. The next conference will take place in Rhode Island during the spring semester.

I feel like that is a great opportunity for those students,” said senior Jessica Bedeaux.

Junior music major Jennifer Grenus said she feels the apple is important for its communication purposes.

“It’s a good way to get events out there, talk about things that are going on,” Grenus said.

Bedeaux said she thinks the apple is among other things on campus that should be fixed.

“Since the apple is something that everyone sees, it shouldn’t look like just a broken ball,” Bedeaux said.

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