Members of the Monadnock Divers Club, along with Carving Studio staff and volunteers, are shown with a metal and marble sculpture recovered from under 100 feet of water in a quarry.
WEST RUTLAND — Maeve Doolan worked throughout the summer to create a 6-foot metal and marble sculpture that would be displayed at this year’s SculptFest.
But five days before the start of the annual outdoor exhibit in early September, Doolan’s sculpture was uprooted from its display space, dragged and thrown into a nearby quarry.
“She had just finished it,” said Carol Driscoll, executive director of the Carving Studio & Sculpture Center. “The show was opening that weekend. … It was heartbreaking.”
She said a group of vandals — probably at night or in the early morning — had pulled the sculpture, named “Sisyphus,” from its installation place in the studio grounds on Marble Street in West Rutland. The piece, which weighs at least 100 pounds, was then dragged and dumped into one of the nearby Gawet quarries.
“Jonathan (LaFarge, studio manager) had seen the marks so he would give an idea of where it might have been,” Driscoll said Friday. “It was staked into the ground. It was not just lifting it. You had to jimmy it.”
Last weekend, a team of divers from the Monadnock Divers Club dove into the Gawet quarries and recovered the structure. They found it on a marble ledge under about 100 feet of water — just shy of how deep their equipment could go.
“They could have gone down maybe another 20 feet,” Driscoll said.
With the help of a forklift, the seven-person dive team attached some lines to the sculpture and brought it up. It took about an hour and a half for the entire process.
“It was a triumphant feeling seeing it come up,” Driscoll said. “She (Doolan) was a sport about it.”
Doolan said she was thrilled to hear her work had been rescued.
“It’s definitely beat up but salvageable,” the Connecticut-based artist said Friday. “I am planning to go for a long weekend in November and fix it a little.”
Doolan added: “It made me really happy that people care. Yes, I was mad, but very thankful.”
Driscoll said it was remarkable that they were able to find the sculpture because the water in the quarries can be 300 to 600 feet deep.
Doolan had been an intern at the Carving Studio this summer as she hoped to transition from using only metal in her art to including stone. She described her “Sisyphus” piece as a moving figure — each wire exemplifies a limb in motion.
“The idea of movement went well with it,” she said.
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