Jones sculpture finds permanent home in front of Greybull library

by marlys good

“Growth and Life Where There Appear to be None,“ a Colorado Yule marble and steel sculpture created by GHS grad Hillary Jones, has found a permanent home in front of the Greybull Library/Museum.

A pad for the sculpture has been poured in the xeriscape in front of the library by Jones and her mother Kerry Anderson. The sculpture will be secured on the pad and it will be unveiled and dedicated on Saturday, June 11, following the Days of ’49 parade.

Obtaining the sculpture for the library was a joint effort between Friends of the Library, the Library Foundation and Mike Koller and his family.

Betty Koller said she and daughter Emily ran into Hillary last summer. The young women and been in the same class in high school, and in talking with Hillary about her artwork, Betty said it would be nice if they could have some of her art in Greybull.

Some time later, Hillary told them that she had one of her pieces in Sheridan; but they were not going to buy it. That was the beginning of bringing the sculpture to Greybull.

Hillary brought the sculpture from Sheridan and it is now at her mother’s home on Greybull River Road where it will stay until it is placed on the pad in June.

Jones said the sculpture, a carved marble coyote skull, forged steel curly dock stems and a fabricated steel topographic map of Wyoming, was inspired by the “badland areas of Wyoming, especially the Big Horn Basin, place like Devil’s Kitchen and the barren gray bentonite hills outside of Greybull.”

Jones explained that she has always been amazed at “creatures’ resilience and ability to not only survive but thrive. I think this is a metaphor for the people of Wyoming in general, both today and in the past.”

The marble is based on a broken coyote skull Jones found while hunting in the Absorakas. Coyotes, well known for their adaptability and habitat range, are some of the few animals that live in barren areas; but they are equally adaptable to urban encroachment.

The skull is supported by hand-forged curly dock stems. Jones explained that curly dock is a common weed found in Wyoming borrow ditches. “Though we may not give this weed a second thought, curly dock was a useful plant for Native Americans. Both the leaves and seeds could be eaten and the leaves were used to make a poultice for wounds.”

The topographic map of Wyoming represents the geologic foundation that makes the literal bedrock of our home, Jones explained. “The map is positioned so that the nose of the coyote hovers over Greybull, my hometown and the place that inspired the sculpture.”

Jones, born and raised in the Big Horn Basin, grew up along Greybull River Road on land that abuts BLM land.

Jones said she was raised on steel-building and concrete construction sites, and was both comfortable and intrigued by masonry and metal. “My dad introduced me to arc welding when I was 12, and my mom put me to work finishing concrete when I was 14.”

An only child, Jones spent her younger years exploring her “badlands backyard,” looking for stone tools and ripple rock. Very simply, she said, “My first 18 years defined the three corners of my life and future vocations: art, geology and archeology.”

After graduating from Greybull High School, Jones attended NWC in Powell where she graduated with honors, and her associate of arts degree. She went from Powell to Flagstaff, Ariz. where she graduated summa cum laude from Northern Arizona University with a bachelor of fine arts degree.

She is currently attending Utah State University working toward her master of science degree with a emphasis in geo-archaeology.

Jones couldn’t be happier; a piece of her work of art has found a permanent home in Greybull.

The unveiling and dedication on June 11 will be followed by a free picnic on the library grounds; dinner music will be furnished by the Old Time Fiddlers.