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Archive for Friday, February 29, 2008

Wildcat yard art can’t catch a break

February 29, 2008

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Elden Tefft's sculpture lies toppled in his Naismith Drive yard Sunday. The statue has been knocked over repeatedly.

Elden Tefft's sculpture lies toppled in his Naismith Drive yard Sunday. The statue has been knocked over repeatedly.

A Lawrence sculptor who has created several Jayhawks for Kansas University's campus is finding out the harsh realities of suffering for one's art.

A wildcat sculpture in Elden Tefft's front yard has been vandalized several times. Ironically, it isn't even a Kansas State Wildcat.

After a trip to Asia to teach sculptors a wax bronze casting process, the 88-year-old got the inspiration for his wildcat.

"It was mostly for a gate guardian," said Tefft, referring to the Asian practice of putting statues in front of temple gates. But he said his statue has "been trying to guard my gate all this time, but it doesn't do a very good job."

Tefft put the statue in his front yard, which is adjacent to KU's campus. After someone knocked it over, he added a concrete base to anchor the statue.

The sculptor later added steel rods to the base after someone knocked it over a second time. "I guess it's a game," the artist laughed. "They're trying to see if I can make it any more solid than they can push."

But to his son, it's no laughing matter.

"It's disappointing whenever that happens," said Kim Tefft. The hardest part of putting the statue back up is "the weight," he said. They will "probably have to have a crane in to lift it up," his father said.

Some would argue that the vandalism stems from the KU-K-State rivalry. However, Elden Tefft said, "The first time, it went down when we played Missouri, and that didn't make much sense to me."

He said the last time it went down, "Missouri beat us, and I figured they came over to put it back up, but they didn't."

The sculptor taught in KU's art department and has created many statues for the school, including the bronze Jayhawk in front of Strong Hall and the "Kneeling Moses" in front of the school of religion building.

"It's not a school symbol in terms of K-State or even in terms of the Tigers," Kim Tefft said. "We are great KU fans, born and bred."

The only evidence police have is a footprint left in the snow by one of the vandals, but that won't keep this sculptor down.

"When they destroy it, I'll quit," Elden Tefft said. "In the meantime, I'm not going to let that get me down."

6News reporter Cory Smith can be reached at 832-6335.

Comments

ziggy 6 years, 10 months ago

That makes me sad why cant people just leave other people stuff alone.

redmoonrising 6 years, 10 months ago

I just don't understand vandalism. If the situation were reversed, would the vandals laugh at the destruction to their own property? Another example, the tree planted in memory of a son that was run down. Rivalries, pranks, stupidity, there's no excuse.

Christine Pennewell Davis 6 years, 10 months ago

add some high voltage current to it and then let the fun begin.

blessed3x 6 years, 10 months ago

Make a paper mache version and fill with ten gallons of Sears Best pink paint. That should mark the vandal!

hail2oldku 6 years, 10 months ago

Who is up for a work detail to help Mr. Teft set his sculpture upright once again?

missmagoo 6 years, 10 months ago

this makes me sad. they should run this article in the UDK as well.

KSChick1 6 years, 10 months ago

I'd help put it back up. He should build a moat around it and fill it with sharks with laser beams on their heads. That'll fix the little punks.

Confrontation 6 years, 10 months ago

You can't be a real Jayhawk fan and have a Wildcat in your front yard. No, people shouldn't knock it over.

rollcar 6 years, 10 months ago

Please tell me the broken ear isn't a result of the repeated vandalism. Playing the knock down/pick up game is bad enough, but as soon as the thing got broken my patience would run out. That's somebody's personal property that they put a lot of work into. If you don't like it, tough.

rollcar 6 years, 10 months ago

Please tell me the broken ear isn't a result of the repeated vandalism. Playing the knock down/pick up game is bad enough, but as soon as the thing got broken my patience would run out. That's somebody's personal property that they put a lot of work into. If you don't like it, tough.

BalkansHawk 6 years, 10 months ago

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dumas 6 years, 10 months ago

I always thought he had the wildcat sculpture because he supports Baker University in Baldwin ... Baker's mascot is a wildcat. In fact, I think Tefft even made a similiar sculpture to the one outside his house for Baker.

Janet Lowther 6 years, 10 months ago

For an active measure, I'd recommend insulating the base from ground and hooking it up to a sheep-grade fence charger. A couple of joules worth of electricity at 8,000 volts once a second would probably at least make 'em make enough noise to get caught. . .

missmagoo 6 years, 10 months ago

he should decorate his house in KU stuff.. maybe a flag, a KU mailbox, welcome jayhawk sign....

Chris Golledge 6 years, 10 months ago

Hey Elden, hang in there. Sorry about your troubles; I know there are a lot of hours in that sculpture. Loved your class.

ukillaJJ 6 years, 10 months ago

I'm pretty sure it's safe to blame the fraternity and sorority drones for knocking over your statue year after year.

Just set up a camera and if you see a northFace jacket, sweat pants, or ugg boots, then you know your culprit. Also keep an eye out for an SUV get-a-way.

d_prowess 6 years, 10 months ago

ukillaJJ, great post! But don't foget the NorthFace fanny pack. No matter how they wear it, on their shoulder or across their back, it is still a fanny pack!

Kontum1972 6 years, 9 months ago

mb someone will donate a tv monitor system to Prof. EmeritusTefft. Eldon is one of the coolest gent you would ever want to meet, i just love him i have learned alot from him over the years.

These kids dont respect others property and alot of that goes back to the parents, u give these brats whatever they want with no questions asked, so they figure that whatever they do in the long run is their right to not respect other peoples space.

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