Studio, Clay & Tools

Zenos uses sculpture tools inherited from other artists that are often 50 to 100 years old.

Our Glenside, Pennsylvania studio is modeled after those of America’s historically significant sculptors Augustus St. Gaudens and Daniel Chester French, both on the US Historical Register. The studio is an approximately 2,500-square-foot 200-plus-year-old renovated horse barn with nine skylights. Sculpture is created both in the hayloft, which has a 20-foot-high ceiling, and in the former horse stalls, tack room, grooming and carriage areas below.

Zenos’ sculpture materials are very special. Although artists can go to art supply stores and purchase clay and tools made now, Zenos uses clay and tools between 50 and 100 years old, inherited from other sculptors.

Giudicci is the Stradivarius of clays. An oil-based clay made in Italy between 30 to 100 years ago, it can be reused, and it does not dry out. Giudicci is favored by sculptors who especially wish to give their works an enduring, lifelike quality, as this clay possesses a responsiveness and vigor not found in modern clays.

Giudicci was used by historical sculptors of note, like Daniel Chester French and Augustus St. Gaudens to create American monuments such as The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Older sculptors bequeath their tools and clay to younger sculptors whom they believe will fulfill the promise they aspired to achieve with their own art. Zenos owns some of the clay used to create the Lincoln Memorial, and this clay is used again and again in his own work. Some of St. Gaudens’ clay (The Shaw Memorial, seen in the movie Glory), is also in Zenos’ studio. Zenos owns hundreds of pounds of Giudicci bequeathed to him by senior sculptors as a gesture of their confidence in his ability to use it to continue their legacy of creating powerful and enduring works of art.

Zenos’ special sculpture tools are hand-made of exotic hard woods, hand carved by sculptors to perform specific tasks, such as sculpting the eyes or the delicate interiors of ears. He owns a great many of these tools, again bequeathed by senior sculptors to him to use well in his work.