Des Moines Register:
T-minus six days until the gates swing open for the Iowa State Fair and Sarah Pratt puts some final touches on the face of the iconic butter cow, a tradition still going strong after 105 years. The hooves still need some detail work and she needs to finish the tail.I love me some butter sculptures and massive amounts of fried foods, with some creepy carnies thrown in for laughs. Our county fair starts on Friday, and we've got the food and carnies, but lack the butter art.
Five-gallon buckets of butter await in a cooler while giant blocks that just arrived need to be cut and kneaded to release water and make her medium more pliable.
But by the time Aug. 11 rolls around, Pratt will finalize her 11th version of Summer, the butter cow, as the official butter sculptor of the Iowa State Fair.
Pratt took over the sculpting duties in 2006 after 45-year veteran Norma “Duffy” Lyon retired. Pratt spent 15 years apprenticing under the first woman butter sculptor in the country, learning to use clay sculpting tools, even a dentist’s pick and mainly her own hands to take 1,000 pounds of butter and turn it into a cow...
Pratt, a former special education teacher, sketches out her sculptures in advance and welds together a metal and wire form on wood that gives her the basic structure of the piece. Already she completed a replica of the Starship Enterprise as well as Nyota Uhura and Spock, part of the butter cow companion exhibit. Capt. James T. Kirk’s metal frame already leans on his elbow in the commander’s seat and Dr. Leonard McCoy awaits his coating of butter.