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Chris Miller has been a sculptor for several decades. He makes public art, primarily out of granite, marble and wood. But on Thanksgiving night, he returned home to Vermont from Maryland with swollen hands and tired from another creation of his latest passion — automotive art, as in a stone truck.
Miller, who lives outside of Calais, Vermont, had just completed his third piece. The 125 percent-sized sculpture is located on the property of a business in Lexington Park, Maryland.
The business owner is a car and truck collector and semi-truck racer. Miller’s stone truck creation is the signature for the combined home and business. It’s a 1929 Ford Model A.
Co-host Bruce Aldrich and James Raia interview Miller, a returning guest, on this week’s episode of The Weekly Driver Podcast.
Stone truck: 30,000 pounds of granite
“It has all the curved fenders; it’s from my favorite era of trucks,” says Miller, who owns ChrisMillerStudio.com. “It has beautiful lines.”
Miller still spends most of his time creating traditional sculptor work. He has commissions for several years. Automotive creations are his side work.
“The stone trucks are sort of a fun way to get outside,” Miller says. “I get out of the studio, do some traveling and work with a crew, that sort of thing.”
After completing his latest truck, Miller arrived home at 9 p.m. His right hand was swollen from swinging a four-pound hammer day for several weeks. His left hand was covering from wounds from the repeated wallops of the hammering of chisels. His body was sore and he couldn’t use his hands for four days. His girlfriend has a turkey dinner waiting.
“There are no plans; I make it up as I go,” says Miller, reflecting particularly on the completion of his current piece. “You measure a vehicle, you draw it all out, you think out all of the different parts you’ll need. But it’s all quite a puzzle, a challenge and a lot of fun.”
Miller is primarily self-taught, although he studied art in college. He also studied anatomy and sculpture with the late Lothar Werslin of Sandgate Vt. He also studied drawing and anatomy under Billy Brauer of Warren Vt. He’s collaborated with several stone sculptors in nearby Barre Vt.
Completion of the 1929 Ford Model A was a three-person project, Miller and a two-person crew. It took 700 hours, the craftsmen working nine-hour days. About 30,000 pounds of granite were used.
“I don’t know how much longer I am going to be able to swing a four-pound hammer every day,” says Miller. “But I think I have a decade more in me. But I will slow down as I go.”
But it won’t be soon.
Miller’s next stone vehicle project will be a 1952 Ford Truck and pending are a 2007 Peterbilt dump truck and at least one more creation.
We also interviewed Miller last May on Episode #134: Vermont Artist Chris Miller’s Stone Truck
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