Wilmington sculptor bounces back from Irene - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Wilmington sculptor bounces back from Irene

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When Frank Sprague suits up for work, he goes all in. Not afraid to get messy -- making his unique stone bird baths for his business Stone Puddles and Sprague Welding.

From bird baths and stone benches to tables and sculptures -- Sprague lets his imagination run wild with stone and steel. "It started out as a hobby and it was a good tension relief," he said.

The majority of stone Sprague uses is Vermont granite he finds near his Wilmington shop. "There was a stone in my yard with a natural indent and it rained and there was a bird playing in it and I said I can improve on that," he said.

An idea that is now his best selling item. They cost around $550. He leaves the rocks natural shape alone and only carves the hole for the bird. "They don't have to be covered in the winter or brought in like the concrete ones do -- they just stay out," Sprague said.

Sprague learned to weld growing up on a farm fixing equipment. He became an engineer but quit his job in 2001 after wanting to work on his own. He still does machine repairs but also incorporates steel into things like mailboxes, benches, candle holders and bars.

Business is booming for Sprague. He's constantly busy, but it's been an emotional ride. He started the business in 2001. Things were steady but then Tropical Storm Irene hit three years ago.  "I was devastated. I was mad. I wanted to give up," he said.

His old shop -- which is across the street from where he is now -- was completely destroyed. "This was my old shop -- the doors at 14-feet high and there was 13-feet of water in it," he said.

Reporter Gina Bullard: How do you feel when you look across the street where your old business used to be?

Frank Sprague: A lot of emotions -- relieved in a lot of ways.

Business is busier than ever with the new location since people can now see him from the road. "It's grown a lot since Irene," Sprague said.

Rebuilding and getting stronger with stone and steel products that are Made in Vermont.

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