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Farren on board with sculpting history

By: Lien Hoang, Special to The Placer Herald
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Now that Gerry Farren has retired from teaching, he can finally start learning. Specifically, he’s read up on Rocklin and sculpting techniques to produce “On Time,” a railroad conductor statuette now housed at the Rocklin History Museum. Complete with a pocket watch, swinging lantern, and “CPRR” (Central Pacific Railroad) cap, the rail man peers out into the distance, waiting for a train. “Naturally I was proud of it,” Farren, 65, said. “I could keep it at home, but it’s nice to be able to share it with people.” A former fifth-grade teacher in the Loomis School District, Farren burrowed himself in his studio for two months, on and off, etching the figurine in wax, before casting it in bronze with a dark patina. The best times to work, he said, began with “The Tonight Show” and ended in the early morning. “Oh, Gerry, I didn’t know you had such talent!” Gay Morgan said as he set up his work on a table. Morgan, a docent at the museum, collaborated with him to bring in the 14-inch, 23-pound model for display. Jim Jennings, a new Rocklin resident touring the gallery with his fiancée recently, listened as Farren explained his process. “It looks very time-consuming and very meticulous,” Jennings said. Fitting in snugly with the museum’s “Rocks, Rails, and Ranches” theme, Farren’s debut sculpture molds together three of his interests — art, Rocklin, and learning. That is, learning about history. A newly-turned autodidact, Farren has been studying not just art styles, but also the background of his subjects. For one piece, of a Native American dancer, he researched the Maidu tribe, which is native to the region. He has also been working on likenesses of a Sioux spiritual man and of his great aunt as a child, when she froze to death in the snow. “I want to make everything historically right,” Farren said. So what’s next for the budding sculptor? “Well, (like) a pro football player, his goal is to get the Super Bowl ring,” Farren said. “The Super Bowl in sculpting would be a life-size statue. I think that would just be the ultimate.”