On October 18, 2008, poet Matthew “Mattie” Stepanek was honored in Rockville, MD at the unveling of a life-sized bronze sculpture by Virginian artist Jimilu Mason of Jimilu Studios. Mason, who has been heavily involved with the Mattie Stepanek memorial project, had been commissioned to create a statue that depicted the young poet and peacemaker in his wheelchair, accompanied by his service dog, Micah. Stepanek, who was diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, published five books of poetry espousing peace before his death in 2004, shortly before his fourteenth birthday.
As part of the memorial project, Mason came to Direct Dimensions in 2006 with a unique 3D problem. She wanted her sculpture of Mattie to be as lifelike as possible, and that included getting his wheelchair just right. She needed not only an extremely accurate replica of the wheelchair, but also one into which she could fit her sculpture of Mattie.
The wheelchair was brought to the Direct Dimensions facility in Owings Mills, MD, where it was laser scanned with a Konica Minolta Vivid 9i camera. The data acquired from the scan was then digitally modeled using SolidWorks, PolyWorks and FreeForm to produce a file suitable for replication. The final deliverable to Jimilu Mason was a dimensionally accurate replica of Mattie’s wheelchair, rapid prototyped in Z Corp, which she then used to create her finished product. 9” resin replicas of her finished sculpture are planned as donor gifts, which Direct Dimensions will produce.
The completed bronze sculpture was showcased during the dedication ceremony of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park, a 26-acre recreational facility located in the King Farm community of Rockville, MD. The statue was placed in its own Peace Garden, where it will serve to honor Mattie’s memory and his message of peace.
For more information about Mattie Stepanek, please visit www.mattieonline.com.