Two artists have given their talents to the Tuscania Memorial project. Sculptor Homer Daehn created the bronze relief memorial, and illustrator Renée Graef created an illustration (below) inspired by the Tuscania sinking and rescue. Read their biographies below.
Homer Daehn is our principal artist and sculptor. Born on a farm in central Wisconsin, Homer’s earliest memories are of working alongside his parents and siblings seven days a week in what seemed an endless cycle of farm chores: feeding and caring for animals, fixing equipment, weeding and hoeing the garden, stacking hay, mucking out the barn. It was ideal training for a future artist as both callings place a high demand on dexterity, innovation, problem-solving, and a Lombardian work ethic. There was little time for family vacations and after-school sports. To this day, Homer can still be found in his studio every day of the week working on his art. It is the only life he knows.
Recently Homer has become fascinated with clay and bronze sculpture. In the last several years Homer has created powerful bronze relief sculptures of America’s two greatest conservationists, John Muir and Aldo Leopold (see these on Homer's website below). Both are on display at, respectively, the Sierra Club’s national office in Washington, D.C., and at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center in Baraboo, Wisconsin.
Renée Graef is an award-winning illustrator of over 80 books for children, including the Kirsten books in the American Girl Collection and many of the My First Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She worked as a creative director on the Little House program for HarperCollins for five years.
Renée has illustrated alphabet books on Wisconsin, time, libraries, Scandinavian countries, and lighthouses of the Great Lakes. She illustrated sculptor Gutzon Borglum's story about the making of Mount Rushmore for the Mount Rushmore Historical Society. One of her recent books is a historical fiction highlighting the weaving of tapestries during the 1670s in Paris for the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. She is currently working on a children's book for the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.
Ms. Graef's accomplishments have been honored by the Society of Illustrators-LA, Wisconsin's House of Representatives, as well as others. Renée has lived most of her life in Wisconsin, and currently splits her time between Milwaukee and Los Angeles.