I was born and raised on a dairy farm in Dryden NY in the heart of Fingerlakes wine country. I'm the 7th son and 11th child of Marion and Norbert Schickel's 13 children. From my mother I learned balance, proportion and how to live a beautiful life. From my father I learned about setting a goal, dreaming big and taking a chance. From my brothers and sisters I learned to be scrappy, to be kind, and to share. The learning continues. :)
I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Boston University in 1985.
I worked as a portrait sculptor for a monument company in Barre Vermont and as
a designer for the MacKenzie-Childs pottery company in Aurora NY.
In 2003 I founded Maryhill Clayworks, named after our dairy farm. I design and make things I love and pray that others will love them, too.
I invite you to explore my work and make it your own. - Jacques
My Artistic Heritage
My great grandfather, Wilhelm Schickel, immigrated to New York City from Wiesbaden, Germany in 1868 after studying architecture at the Beaux Arts in Paris. He became a leading architect in New York and designed over 150 buildings in New York City and throughout the northeast including the landmark Century Building and Saint Ignatius Loyola Church in Manhattan, the famous Mission Church in Boston and Saint Vincent's Archabbey Basilica in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
The Basilica and Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is a Roman Catholic Basilica in Boston Massachusetts, known as "The Mission Church".
My great grandfather Wilhelm carried with him a letter from his parents when he emigrated to America in 1870. They, knowing that they would likely never see their son again, exhorted him to live a life built upon faith, grounded in truth and characterized by respect for himself and for others. This letter has been re-read aloud at important family occasions and remains as a source for my own life and my artistic vision:
Great Grandfather Wilhelm's Letter
Wiesbaden, July 15, 1870
Travel with God, then no mishap will befall thee! Hold fast to your holy religion, to which you are pledged! Be on your guard against every sin and avoid every occasion which could bring you to a fall. Let prayer be your daily weapon; never omit the practices of your holy religion. Do not forget your dear parents and think of your faithful brothers and sisters. Be for them if you can, father and provider. Remember your good grandparents and lock them into your daily prayer. In your vocation, may you become always more proficient, and be a man of character. Be hard working and frugal; that will save you from want. Increase your property but not at the expense of uprightness and loyalty. Be loving towards all, and have a heart for those who suffer want. Take care of your health, but more still, think of your eternal happiness! Let this memorandum be written in your heart, then our reunion, be it here or there, will be a happy one.
Your parents, who will always bear you in their heart:
Johannes and Gertruda Schickel
My grandfather, Norbert Schickel, an engineer who designed and built the early Schickel motorcycle. Norbert Schickel also built the first reinforced concrete apartment building in America in the 1940's, the Fairview Manor in Ithaca, New York.
1913 Schickel Motorcycle
Schickel Motorcycle factory Stamford, Connecticut.
My grandfather on my mother's side, Henry Cockrell, crafted fine furniture in East Greenwich, Rhode Island for many years. His eye for the harmony and symmetry found in the best furniture of the past and his patience in honing the artisan skills to craft in wood a unity of art and utility continue to be an inspiration to me.
My uncle, also named William Schickel , was a painter, sculptor, architectural designer, furniture designer, and stained-glass artist using liturgical themes to project a healing vision of faith and purpose. Mr. Deal Hudson of Crisis Magazine said, "History will view William Schickel as one of the greatest and most prolific American artists of the second half of this [20th] century."
My father was a bomber pilot, mechanical engineer, farmer, patron of the arts and a real estate developer of integrity and vision whose projects, Geneva on the Lake, Fairview Heights (designed by Marcel Breuer) and Eastwood Commons were undertaken for their inherent fitness to their place, time and intended use.
Geneva On The Lake Geneva, NY.
After WW2 my parents influenced by the Catholic Worker movement sought to build an abundant life in and on the land. They chose Dryden, NY as the place to farm and raise their ever growing family in the warm embrace of the good, the true and the beautiful.
In my own generation the artistic tradition continues. My older brother, Bill, preceded me in studying art at Boston University. My sister Catherine teaches art. Two of my brothers, Thomas and Sarto, are architects; while another brother, Bruno, is a builder and home designer. Whether directly engaged in making art or not, each of my siblings shares an openness to beauty and an appreciation for its transformative power.
I am proud to draw upon the artistic influences I have generously received throughout my life, often quite unconsciously, through growing up in an environment of deep appreciation for art.
Have a great day.