History behind Pioneer sculptures

The model ear of corn for Golden Ear of Corn which is on display next to the sculpture. Some kernels are on display showing how Clarence Martin extracted and numbered them.

Natalie Larimer, Staff Writer

Standing at 42 feet, a giant pitchfork can be seen posted outside of Pioneer’s Krug building. This sculpture was created by Clarence Martin, a steel worker and sculptor, in 2003. Martin also started creating a corn cob sculpture in 2005, but it was left half finished by his death in 2009. Both of these works reside at Pioneer today.

“He owned a chrome and steel business in Ames and these were just his hobbies that he did,” Pioneer worker and daughter of the sculptor, Paula Martin said. “It took him about nine months to build. He just went to a hardware store and bought a pitchfork and used that as the model.” The model pitchfork itself is also on display at Pioneer inside the Krug building.

The Pitchfork sculpture originally travelled around Iowa with Clarence Martin. It was in front of the American Gothic house in Eldon, Iowa, it was on display at the Boone Farm Progress Show, and then it was displayed by a field in Ames. “He passed away in 2009 and my family didn’t know what to do with it so we contacted Pioneer and it came down here a couple years ago,” Martin said.

There really was no reason for Clarence to make the sculpture. “If you asked him he would say ‘Why not?’” Martin said. “He just had a fascination with working with steel and metal and this is just something he did in his spare time.”

Inside the Pioneer Carver Center his Golden Ear of Corn sculpture sits. It’s based off of an actual ear of corn and that is also on display next to the sculpture. “He would extract each kernel and he numbered each one of them,” Martin said. “He would take it out, do his little thing with it, and put it back in.” The Golden Ear of Corn is magnified 10 times from the original ear of corn