My newest series, Fossiliferous, contains sculptures with collections of fossils dating well into the Cenozoic Era of geologic history.  Each provides a biological collection of bones, teeth, and shells of extant as well as extinct species.  Individual fossils were collected by me from various sites along the coastal rivers and estuaries of Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland. Each piece represents countless collecting and foraging trips rich in memories and history.  Final pieces are museum quality assemblages mounted into a natural sandstone substrate.  Fossils sites include the Potomac , Rappahannock, James, York, Meherrin, Pamunkey and Tar Rivers as well as sites on the Chesapeake Bay.

Collecting and Storing

Each trip begins with my trusty  field bag and a long ride to one of my favorite collecting spots.  The day is filled with sunshine, sand, and lots of interesting foraging.  In the winter months, waders are my best friend as I don them and forage out into the frigid clear waters.  Summer weather is kinder and all that is required is a sturdy set of field shoes and water friendly clothing.  By the end of the day, I am sunburned, muddy, hair filled with feathers, and usually carrying a bag full of specimens.  Once home, the specimens are painstakingly cleaned with an assortment of tools including brushes, an air compressor, dental picks, and even my dremel tool.  All mud and tiny pieces of embedded sand are removed and the fossils are sorted into the various drawers I use for storage. 


Each of my sculptures begins with a large piece of naturally fossilized substrate, or in laymen’s terms, a “hunk of stuff.”  From the substrate, I begin sculpting with one fossil at a time, allowing at least 24 hours of drying time between each new addition.  As one can imagine, the process is quite slow so I generally work on eight to ten sculptures simultaneously.  The finished pieces are then allowed time to settle and are then checked for stability.  Modifications are made at this time and often additional pieces are added as the creative urge strikes.  One sculpture completed to this point usually takes at least several months.


The last step in the process is a double layer acrylic coating that is painted over each portion of the sculpture.  This adds a measure of protection to each individual fossil and provides a uniform polished presentation.  The underside layer of the sculpture is then reinforced and sealed with a white coating and acrylic finish to provide a smooth bottom.

Fossil Sculpture Gallery

Click on the link to visit my most recent sculptures.

Fossil Identification

Once each sculpture is finished, it is photographed from several angles.   Then, each fossil is carefully identified and an “identification card” is created.  This process is often the most time consuming as I often rely on several of my paleontology friends to assist with the identifications and this usually involves hauling the finished sculpture on my next fossil hunting trip so they can see the actual specimens up close.  Once satisfied that all of the possible identifications have been made, the sculpture is then considered complete!

The Art of Fossil Sculpting


As if cleaning the specimens the first time wasn’t enough, the finished sculpture must be carefully cleaned to remove all sculpting material that may have hardened on the specimens.  I liken this to a tedious visit to the dental office as each sculpture is scraped and dry polished.  The process takes many hours, often over the span of several days to weeks.


My Work Space

Here’s a peek at my desk and work area inside.  My favorite place to work, though, is outside...