Studio Tour with Raleigh's Thomas Sayre
photograph by Charles Harris

“Give me a field and it’s pure inspiration,” sculptor Thomas Sayre says. He likes stainless steel, sure, but at the moment, Sayre is into earthcasting, in which he “digs holes in Mother Earth, pours or sprays concrete into their shapes, and then stands them up against Father Sky.” Sayre wants to marry human intention and the grain of nature, which means that a 16-foot-tall, 30,000-pound piece is “small and intricate” for this artist who uses complex detailing and structural engineering to build his creations. Oh, and a very large crane.

Feature image: The massive sculptures that Sayre casts in dirt worldwide, including Flue in Kinston (above, right), begin as designs in an old plumbing supply warehouse in downtown Raleigh.

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Kelly is a contributing editor at Our State. She is the author of By Accident and the novels Now You Know, The Last of Something, Even Now, and How Close We Come, winner of the Carolina Novel Award and an alternate selection of Book-of-the-Month Club. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and lives in Greensboro.