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Rolling Ridge Designs: Business made of clay

2013-04-18T09:44:00Z 2013-04-18T16:38:41Z Rolling Ridge Designs: Business made of clayJAMIE MUNKS -- jmunks@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star
April 18, 2013 9:44 am  • 

QUEENSBURY -- An eagle made of brown clay was starting to take shape in sculptor Scott Heydrick’s studio last week, but he estimated it would take another 20 hours of work to finish.

Heydrick, a sculptor who started his own business out of his Queensbury home’s garage a few months ago, specializes in crafting custom awards made of bronze or plastic for anything from golf courses to a recent leadership award he crafted for the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation.

“I realize it’s a start-up, it’s new,” Heydrick said. “We’re working on filling out our client list and hope within a year’s time we’re in a facility, with a couple employees. I don’t think it will ever be huge.”

Heydrick runs the business with his wife, Jennifer. Both are Queensbury natives.

The work process on most of Heydrick’s pieces starts with clay and an image from a client he references to hand-sculpt a piece. He builds a mold that can either be used to cast a piece in metal or plastic.

The awards Heydrick recently created for the Donald Ross Classic are framed portrait busts of Ross, who designed Glens Falls Country Club and Sagamore Resort golf courses.

Heydrick works with a local foundry for metal pouring and local saw mills for sourcing wood. He has a spray booth in the garage for painting, and a CNC milling machine, which he bought by selling a 1966 GTO he had rebuilt from the ground up.

Each of his pieces are tailored toward individual customers. They are cast in bronze in sections then put back together. Larger pieces can take weeks or months to complete.

Bronze costs $6 to $7 a pound, and much of the cost of bronze pieces comes from labor costs, Heydrick said.

Many of his products are geared toward golf, although he has also made fine art pieces for display and done work for universities. Because golf is such a big part of the business, the early spring is one of the busiest times, Heydrick said.

Heydrick has a numbered edition of a bronze racehorse statue on display in his studio, which weighs nearly 50 pounds. He was recently part of a team that made a life-size figure of a person, which can cost $60,000 to $70,000 and take about a year to produce.

Heydrick was working for the local trophy manufacturer Heritage Creations, but the Hudson Falls company closed in 2009 and eliminated jobs. Heydrick has been doing freelance work locally, and officially started Rolling Ridge Designs in December. He has seen a fair amount of demand from clients of Heritage, who were calling him after the company disbanded, he said.

Heydrick is comfortable with the point at which his business is right now, but he’s continuing to expand his client base and is using social media and “beating the ground a little bit” to find new clients.

A lot of his business comes from out of state, and he’s continuing to work on finding more local customers, he said.

The time Heydrick spends sculpting in his garage studio ranges from 40 to 80 hours a week, depending on demand. He did two awards he recently made for the Marine Corps in four weeks, when he would normally say the work would take eight weeks each, Heydrick said.

The couple’s 2-year-old son, Andrew, loves to be in the garage studio, and points to different pieces saying “Dad made that,” Jennifer Heydrick said.

“It’s amazing to watch it come together and that it starts from that bucket of clay,” she said.

Editor’s note: This is a regular series focusing on interesting local businesses and the ways they survive, thrive and innovate. Local business owners with stories to tell about their new or established businesses are invited to contact The Post-Star.

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