DALLAS – What butter way to express yourself than by spreading your creative energy for all to see? That’s why one Clay County artist has spent days in a 22-degree cooler, carving sculptures — in butter.
Tom Roberts of Byers, Texas, is the Official Butter Sculptor of the 2022 State Fair of Texas. Roberts’ sculpture, “Big Tex’s Birthday Bash,” features four butter sculptures total: a birthday cake to commemorate Big Tex’s 70th appearance at the State Fair, two miniature sculptures, and a sculpture of Big Tex himself.
“The work itself has been rewarding,” Roberts said. “From the sketch I dreamed up to the full sculpture – that’s what’s fun about it.”
Each year, Texas sculptors use the dairy product as their medium to fill a refrigerated display depicting the Fair’s current theme. Roberts said the base of the sculptures is bags of feed, plexiglass, cardboard, PVC, and steel pipe that he had lying around. For his creation of Big Tex, the base of the head is styrofoam.
“The room is kept at 22 degrees while I work,” Roberts said. “After a while, I found I had icicles on my eyebrows.”
You’ll have to wait for your churn to see Roberts’ work for yourself. The State Fair opens on Friday, September 30, and runs through Sunday, October 23. On Saturday, October 1, Roberts will host a demonstration from 10 am to 5 pm in the Creative Arts Building. The fair celebrates all things Texan by promoting agriculture, education, and community involvement.
“It’s really a Texas State of Mind,” Roberts said. “America is big, no question, but you can go anywhere in the world, and they know about Texas.”
In 2021, Roberts entered a mini-butter sculpture and won first prize by a wide… margarine. Four years prior, Roberts won honorable mention for a dung beetle piece called ‘Tenacity.’
For more information and to see more of Roberts’ work, visit his website.