This beautiful piece of art is for sale, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the Honey Run Covered Bridge Association, rebuild and preservation efforts.
For additional information, please contact:
Zeke Lunder - (530) 966-8186 or Jeb Sisk - (530) 680-9539
(Minimum Sale Price/Donation: $25,000)
MORE ABOUT THE SALMON SCULPTURE
Salmon sculpture symbolic of bridge recovery
Excerpts from Article By: Laura Urseny, Chico Enterprise-Record
This salmon sculpture by Zeke Lunder and Jeb Sisk was created from metal salvaged from the ruins of the Honey Run Covered Bridge. For local artists Zeke Lunder and Jeb Sisk, their silver sculpture bears messages about hope, beauty, revival and survival, much like the silver salmon of Butte Creek that it heralds. The Butte County artists have created a sculpture of a chinook salmon at the behest of the Rebuild Honey Run Covered Bridge group, and plan to sell it to benefit the bridge’s recovery after being destroyed in the 2018 Camp Fire.
A creation of blacksmithing the iron remnants of the bridge, the textured salmon is mounted on a post and stands six feet tall, weighing in at 400 pounds and taking nearly 300 hours to come to life. Not only is the sculpture beautiful, but it has such significance to the artists as well as the region.
The roots of both men are deep in Butte Creek Canyon and forged by the Camp Fire. Neither lost their homes, but found their lives battered by the months after the devastating wildfire that destroyed Paradise and Paradise ridge.
Walt Schafer, Vice President of the Honey Run Covered Bridge Association nonprofit, approached Lunder about a project to help the bridge using the twisted iron left after the fire. The artists came up with the idea of the fish and worked on a design. The artists hope to sell the sculpture, and then donate a portion of the proceeds to help the bridge project, which will be moving into a new phase this year that will more resemble a bridge.
More than a Labor of Love
Creating the sculpture out of more than a century-old iron that had gone through the wildfire presented several unique issues. The iron had to be sandblasted to clear away the toxins created by the fire. The artists found the old iron reacted much differently from the modern metal typical in sculpting. Additionally, what was left was a huge rat’s nest of tangles that had to be cut apart.
Then there was the issue that metal built for a bridge needed to be transformed into art. The pair built more than 30 stamps and tools to create the fish. Two power hammers from the canyon that survived the Camp Fire took major roles, and a forge to fit the pieces had to be hand-created by local welder Dan Reynolds.
Significant to the artists
Both men spent years in Butte Creek Canyon, so embracing this project was more significant than a contract. “We both work in Butte Creek Canyon,” said Lunder. “Jeb grew up there, and I was there in my 20s. I worked on the condition of the watershed in the ’90s and spent a good part of my career working as a firefighter and prefire planner.
“You could say (the canyon) was the center of my professional and personal life,” said Lunder who has been a wildfire analyst at Firestorm Wildland Fire Suppression, and founder of Deer Creek Resources, which provides information on fire behavior. He was involved in the recent prescribed burn in upper Bidwell Park. For Sisk, canyon life started around age 9 and continued for several decades. He moved to Chico after the Camp Fire. With a forte in woodworking and carpentry, with stump grinding as another vocation, Sisk also is an supporter of the creek and watershed.
Deciding on the fish for the sculpture, the artists believed that it would help promote the cause of the fish, and said that many don’t know there still are healthy fish runs in Butte Creek as salmon return from the ocean to spawn. Rather than making a memorial for the bridge that’s sad, the artists felt the fish is a “unifying emblem,” Lunder said. The artists haven’t agreed on how to sell the piece, but would love to see an offer made on it by a private buyer, and recommended it be stored inside.
“Right now we’re showing it to a lot of people and building interest,” Lunder said.