Majestically standing on a bluff overlooking the Rock River, Lorado Taft’s grand sculpture “The Eternal Indian” (also known as the Black Hawk Statue) has been added to the Rockford Landmark Ornament Collection, along with St. Anthony Church, south Rockford’s historic treasure that symbolizes Rockford’s Italian heritage.
“The Black Hawk statue is not actually in Rockford, but it is a landmark of the Rock River Valley which has personal meaning to everyone in Rockford,” said Doc Slafkosky, co-owner of J.R. Kortman. “The sculpture is undergoing extensive repairs to save it for future generations, so we thought we would help with that effort by creating this ornament.”
“St. Anthony Church has touched so many people’s lives for generations,” said co-owner Jerry Kortman. “It’s a beautifully cared for, elegant building that has an iconic presence in south Rockford and in the hearts of the Italian community city wide.”
Both Black Hawk and St. Anthony ornaments are available for $25 each. Other ornaments in the collection sell for $22 each.
For more than 18 years, J.R. Kortman Center for Design has been featuring hand-painted ornaments depicting Rockford landmarks. Besides St. Anthony Church and Black Hawk Statue, the Rockford Landmark Ornament Collection includes the 35th anniversary edition of “Symbol,” two views of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Laurent House, a special edition of Memorial Hall, the Woodward Governor building, and the North Main Street Armory.
Other ornaments available in the Landmark Collection include “Guardians of the Rock” Sculpture by Theresa Agnew, the Beattie Park Gazebo, Sinnissippi Lagoon, the Faust Landmark Building, Coronado and Midway theater buildings, and the Coronado stage, Sinnissippi Bur Oak tree, and Old City Hall.
Over the past 15 years the “Symbol” ornament has been the best-selling ornament in the collection.
“Other top sellers include four ornaments depicting different scenes of the beautiful Nicholas Conservatory and Anderson Japanese Gardens,” said Slafkosky.
In addition to the Swedish Historical Society’s “Erlander Home,” other historic houses in the collection include the “Limestone Mansion,” home to the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, and the “Cobblestone House,” located at 2127 Broadway, one of Rockford’s oldest houses.
All the Landmark ornament images are individually hand-painted on the inside of a glass sphere, utilizing an ancient Chinese technique originally applied to “snuff” bottles. Each collectible ornament is a miniature work of art.
The ornaments are available for purchase at J.R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 N. Main St., downtown Rockford. For more details, call Doc or Jerry at (815) 968-0123.
From the Dec. 10-16, 2014, issue