The story of Bartlett's Blue Heron
B-64 - "BARTLETT'S BLUE HERON" - Great Blue Heron
In the Fall of 2001, when I was in Oakbrook, IL doing my favorite Art Show, I met a couple from the Village of Bartlett, IL; a suburb of Chicago. They liked my work, especially my aquatic wading birds, and they told me the following story: It seems that Bartlett is the site of an old limestone quarry. Abandoned in the '40s and filled with ground water, the old quarry was developing the patina of Nature. It slowly became overgrown with native vegetation. Thickets and trees grew up, sedges and rushes invaded in the shallows. Sunfish, Bass and Crappie established populations in the deep clear water. Raccoons, squirrels, rabbits and fox became frequent visitors. Wetlands crept in, took hold and began to flourish, attracting frogs and turtles to the littoral zone, songbirds and water fowl, Great Horned Owls, Cooper's Hawks and Red Shoulder Hawks, and big wading birds including Great Blue Herons. In effect, this man made place, a former noisy and dusty industrial site had returned to nature. Rather, Nature had returned to it.
Then in 1985, a group of northwest suburban Chicago municipalities formed a consortium to locate and develop a site for a garbage dump. They chose this beautiful, natural 284-acre parcel and planned to collect garbage, compress it into bales and bury it at the site. A site that they considered no more than a ready-made hole in the ground in form of the old limestone quarry at the heart of this parcel. It was large and deep, and could swallow up the refuse of the growing communities for many years to come. But many of the citizens of the Bartlett had been to the old quarry. They had marveled at the peaceful natural beauty of the place. They came to watch the birds and animals. They had come to enjoy the secluded shady oasis in the otherwise monotonous patchwork of suburban sprawl and fields of corn and soy that surrounded the quarry on three sides. The quarry was adjacent to an existing forest preserve stretching to the south. Like hundreds of others sprinkled across the state of Illinois, this preserve contained the remnants of the old growth hardwood forest that used to blanket the frontier territory in the 18th century.
All of the Bartlett Village trustees who have served since then, and many of the residents of Bartlett and neighboring communities knew the quarry and what it had become and they were willing to oppose those who wanted to use it for more practical, albeit less aesthetic purposes. They began a campaign to save this unique little spot. The opponents argued their cases over many years and in front of many different arbitrators, including the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Supreme Court. One voice that was persuaded to join the dispute on the side of the bale fill opponents and was highly influential in persuading his home state of Illinois to purchase and preserve the site, was that of Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. (Bartlett is in Denny Hastert's district) Finally, the property was purchased by the Department of Natural Resources for the State of Illinois. Now a permanent wildlife preserve and part of the State's greater Forest Preserve system.
So, upon the telling of this story, and admiring my work, these nice people suggested to me that the Village of Bartlett might be interested in one or more of my Great Blue Heron bronzes. to use as gifts for those key people who had worked so hard to preserve the quarry as a wildlife refuge. By the Spring of last year we had firmed up a plan, and the Village of Bartlett commissioned me to develop a small limited edition bronze sculpture of a Great Blue Heron. They purchased one of my last large Great Blue Herons; "Mangrove Monarch" to be presented to Denny Hastert as an honorarium for his efforts on their behalf.
B-64 - "MANGROVE MONARCH" - Great Blue Heron
Then they ordered 18 of this new commissioned Heron bronze to be distributed to those who helped to preserve this little reclaimed piece of heaven. In October I completed the new sculpture, and built the molds. By early December I had the first castings out of the foundry, finished, patina and ready to start shipping. These are mounted on a 4" X 6" green marble base. This piece is 9" tall overall. This is a fine and delicate little bronze. It was a challenge to take a large bird like a Heron, scale it down keeping the proportions, elegant and graceful as the living bird. I have included a new brochure that gives you two views of this special little piece. Notice too the Pond Turtle in the foreground, sunning itself on the sunken snag.
Because of the story above and the way that this bronze was conceived and developed I am calling it "BARTLETT’S BLUE HERON" The edition size is set at 350. The bronze will be priced at $600 Gallery retail. I am now offering this new piece for an introductory, pre cast price of $450 including packing and shipping. Please let me know if you might be interested in collecting this newest Bill Hunt Limited Edition Bronze.