Butter Sculpting's Roots Go Back Almost 140 Years

June 30, 2015 03:20 PM
Butter Sculpting's Roots Go Back Almost 140 Years

Go to nearly any state fair in the United States and you’ll probably see a butter sculptures. Cows, movie stars and presidents have all been sculpted from butter to make creations that even Michelangelo would envy.

The first noted butter sculptor was Caroline Brooks, an Arkansas housewife who created a butter portrait called Dreaming Iolanthe at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, NPR reports. Sculptures created during Brooks’ time were kept cold with bowls of ice instead of the refrigerated rooms seen today.


One of the first butter sculptures was created by Caroline Brooks for the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876. She named the sculpture Dreaming Iolanthe

After Brooks’ work dairy companies used butter sculptures at events as advertising with as much as 1,500 lbs. of butter on display.

Now butter sculpting has evolved to mobile refrigerated booths that can travel across the country with sculptures featuring an array of metal beneath the butter exterior.

Husband and wife team of Jim Victor and Marie Pelton are modern day sculptors who work with various food items like chocolate, cheese and butter.

"People don't understand how [the sculpting] is done — it's like magic and just appears," Victor says. "But people understand butter."

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