— (Editor's note: Mrs. Thornton died Oct. 11, 2013, just as this magazine went to press. Our condolences to her family on their loss and we wish she had lived to see this article.)
By SALLY SEXTON
Known widely for her art and sculptures, Carol Thornton is also a published writer.
When it comes to artistic capabilities, Carol Thornton’s name is known in circles in Parker County, Tarrant County and all the way up into New Mexico.
The Weatherford sculptor has always had a passion for art, but began a career in education, teaching English and speech at the high school level in Olney, Texas, for 11 years.
“I quit teaching when my daughter was a senior in high school,” Thornton said. “I think daughter liked that better and I know Mommy liked it better.”
Despite having a full-time job, Thornton still dabbled in art, and decided to get back into it when she began taking an adult art class in Dallas in 1971.
“They were teaching casting and jewelry making, but I wasn’t much into the jewelry,” Thornton said.
She learned the casting technique involved in bronze statues and began cultivating her craft in sculpting.
Soon after, Thornton sent some of her work off for casting, the process of molding wax before pouring bronze into the mold to create the shape of the piece.
“My first bill was $500 and I went and told my husband,” she said. “He called it ‘stuff,’ which really hurt my feelings.”
Thornton would soon get her revenge, focusing on art centered around Western landscaping for more commercial purposes. She also opened her own gallery in Santa Fe, N.M., where she and her husband were living, called the Carol Thornton Gallery.
She would eventually sell the gallery to her daughter and move with her husband, a visiting judge and former attorney, to Parker County.
“My husband ate his words,” Thornton said of her continued career in the art industry. “When he left practicing law to become a judge, I was making more money than he was.”
The Texas Christian University graduate was also commissioned to do a statue for her alma mater, creating a sculpture of TCU founders Addison and Randolph Clark.
“The statue was dedicated in 1993, and it took me a year and a half to complete it,” Thornton said of the 8-foot piece that sits in front of the library on the TCU campus.
“Art is a revolution of the inside of a person’s mind,” Thornton said of her passion. “I personally like the emotional aspect of it, and I’m more attracted to the human figure, as opposed to landscapes or western scenes.
Throughout her journey, Thornton, now in her 80s, has always had the support of her family, including her fuzzy friends, which inspired her new book, “Tails from the Hill.”
The book, now available for purchase on Amazon and published by TCU Press, tells the story of the Hill Gang, Thornton’s numerous devoted canines that have wandered in and out of her life. “Tails from the Hill” also features artwork, done by fellow TCU alumni Vicky Williams Harrison.
“The stories were written years ago, but were never put together,” Thornton said. “I thought they did a great job with the finished product.”