Former FFA'er Makes Massive Display Emblems
Terry Zulkowski has taken FFA pride to a new level with his 3,600-lb., 80-in. high FFA emblems. Even the base is big, standing 17 in. tall, 60 in. wide and 32 in. deep, with room to stand or sit on it. For the artist, the first one he made was personal.
"I was in FFA in high school, and when a vo-ag teacher I had worked with was retiring, I wanted to give him a special gift," says Zulkowski.
Since then he has made massive emblems for 24 sites from California to Georgia and West Virginia to Texas.
Zulkowski created the mold using the lost wax technique to capture the quality and detail of cast bronze statuary. Each casting has an interior structure of 3/8-in. rebar and galvanized welded mesh.
The artist uses his own ThemeCrete aggregate composite developed originally for custom concrete garden benches. Even though it is considered a lightweight mix, the completed emblem and base weigh about 2 tons.
When the cast is finished, Zulkowski lets it age for 18 days. He then coats it with a bronze finish for beauty and resistance to the elements. He says it can easily handle a 150 mph wind.
Each handmade emblem has the FFA motto on the back and a place for a bronze dedication plate. A removable eyebolt allows the emblem to be lifted up and set it in place.
"It takes about 3 weeks to make one," says Zulkowski, who also does work for the Houston, Texas, Parks Department, as well as custom gate design, sandblasting, graphic design and more.
The FFA first licensed Zulkowski to make replicas of the emblem in 2009.