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Front Page » May 27, 2008 » Local News » Spring Glen artist concentrates on completing coal miners...
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Spring Glen artist concentrates on completing coal miners mural

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Karen Templeton works in clay on the left side of the monument commissioned for the miners that were killed at Crandall Canyon in her studio. Templeton intends for part of this side of the monument to be the first piece to go to the foundry in Utah County.

Art studios often have a quiet atmosphere that people find in few workplaces.

And some studios strike reverence into the soul when one enters them.

Karen Templeton's studio in Spring Glen has plenty of both, particularly these days.

That's because Templeton, along with her accomplice, Lisa Chamberlain, are working on a piece of art that will bring both joy and sadness. The piece? A mural for Huntington park that will honor all nine miners who lost their lives in the Crandall Canyon mine disaster last summer.

"I'm not sure if we should smile when you take photos," said Chamberlain as this reporter caught images of the two of them plying their skills to the mural. "It's very sad."

The images on the mural face toward the center, each one capturing the images of the men that were lost in the calamity. When one looks closer, the eyes of each penetrate the onlooker, making one feel that the nine are still alive.

"Working on this gives me hope," said Templeton. "It's like their (miners) essence is here."

The mural, planned and presented to the families, Huntington and state officials by Templeton a few months ago, has taken on a life of its own and has revealed coincidences that continue to amaze both the creators.

"You know just this morning I had a miner in here looking at this and he told me it was done correctly because these men are not looking straight out at us," said Templeton. "He said because they wear those headlamps on their hard hats miners never look directly at each other because the light can blind the other person they are speaking with. So they look to the side when they talk to someone else in the mine. The faces on this piece weren't planned because of that, but they ended up the way they should be."

The monument to the men killed in the Crandall Canyon disaster almost spans the width of Templeton's studio in Spring Glen. Both she and Lisa Chamberlain are working long hours to get the piece completed in time for an August 6 dedication.

The project is nearing the stage when the clay wall and its likenesses will be cut into two to three pieces and sent to a foundry in Utah County with the final result being a bronze sculpture that will last indefinitely, regardless of the weather or conditions.

"My original date to have it to the foundry was May 1 so we could get it done and dedicate it on August 6 in Huntington," stated Templeton. "But we just didn't make that time frame. However the people at the foundry know how important this is and they keep telling me they can still get it done. I hope to be able to send one side to the foundry next week."

Templeton is well known for her bust sculptures of such people as Sen. Robert Bennett Bennett and Nancy Takacs, a recently retired English professor at the College of Eastern Utah.

Chamberlain has placed dozens of her whimsical bronzes of frogs in places around the West.

But for both of them, this is about the biggest labor of love they have ever had. While it is officially Templeton's project, she also knows with little doubt she couldn't have gotten this far without Chamberlain at her side. Like two sisters they work side by side, just the two of them.

"Lisa is the employee of the month, every month on this project," joked Templeton. "It would be impossible without her."

Templeton is setting up a new website so those that are interested can see photos and read explanations of the process they are going through to create the mural, including the work that will be done at the foundry when the piece arrives there. Those that are interested can go to

"I want the community to know what we are doing and how it is going. That's' why the website is so important," concluded Templeton.

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