Kate Pond, Sculptor

Biography

Kate Pond was born in Waterville, Maine, August 27, 1938, the daughter of Addison and Harriet Pond. She grew up with her four siblings on a small hill farm in Montpelier, Vermont. She studied art at Skidmore College and at Sweetbriar College Junior Year in Paris.

In 1960, Pond married Pat Robins and had two children, Jennifer and Christopher. In 1972, she began her first business, Words in Steel, sculptures of words made of rusted steel. She graduated from Skidmore’s University Without Walls program in 1979.

In 1980, Pond’s public sculpture, KISS 2, was placed at the Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, Vermont. She built this large sculpture of “weathering steel”, the first sculptural use of the steel material in the Burlington area. (The steel material, CorTen, was first used in the 1950s constructing bridges. Later in the late 60s and 70s it was introduced as an architectural and sculptural material.)

Through the years, she continued to accept private and public commissions from clients, including, SUNFIX for Judy, an equinox aligned CorTen steel sculpture at the United States Port of Entry in Highgate Springs, Vermont; WELLSPRING, at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts; COME LIGHT, VISIT ME, a CorTen steel sundial sculpture at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont; and TREE OF REMEMBRANCE, a CorTen steel memorial sculpture at the Respite House in Colchester, Vermont. From the late 70s until 2010, she partnered with the Vermont Arts Council and the S.T. Griswold Concrete Company. The Vermont Arts Council funded 27 public and private school art residencies in Vermont. Pond and groups of students created sculptures mostly out of concrete donated by the S.T Griswold Company. Pond blended art and science during many of her Vermont Arts Council residencies with students. For example, students learned to build sundials doing sun observations to align a dial to a particular site.

Her primary life work is the World Sculpture Project, five international pieces, each at specific latitudes with a focus on the marking of place and time. Beginning in 1993, ZIG ZAG was installed at the Colby-Curtis Museum in Stanstead, Quebec, Canada. Others in the series are at the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology in Oslo, Norway, 1996; the Mitsubishi Sports Garden in Izumi, Sendai, Japan in 1998; the Kapi’olani Community College in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA in 2002 and the Mapua School in Mapua, Richmond, New Zealand in 2007.

Each sculpture is sun aligned and marks time and the passing of seasons, equinox and summer/winter solstice. The sculptures in Hawaii and New Zealand also document star alignments including the rising of the Pleiades star cluster, marking the Polynesian planting season.

Pond worked with more than 2,500 children at the various sites to make cards and other small artistic pieces for time capsules near each sculpture. Children’s work reflected their lives, illustrating their joys, concerns and the unique customs of their countries.

During the twenty-two years of the ongoing project, connections and lasting friendships were made between people in site countries. Children were excited to know that their artwork would be included in capsules in other countries.

Pond received funding from the Commission Mixte Vermont/Quebec cross border program, the American Scandinavian Foundation, the Japan Foundation, the Mitsubishi Estate Company, and many generous Vermont donors.

During 2015, Pond traveled to all the sites to open the time capsules and the artwork was shown in small exhibits. Some of the artwork and all of the background files are included in the Kate Pond Papers in the Special Collections at the University of Vermont.

In 2015, Pond was selected to be a Fellow of the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2008, she received the North American Sundial Society Dialing prize for the success of the World Sculpture Project, and in 1998, the Vermont Council of the Arts awarded Pond an Artist Citation for Outstanding Service in My Field.

In 1987, Pond married writer and photographer Fred Stetson; they live at 25 Staniford Farms Road in Burlington, Vermont.