Thanks to his unique focus, and some seaweed-derived cement, a local artist is bringing families together

When sculpture artist Sean Garman opened his studio and gallery a few years ago, it wasn’t for the sole purpose of tightening family bonds. But his specialty—works that focus on the human body, especially hands—has done just that.

The intimate, detail-rich pieces produced at Garman Sculpture Works (1041 NE 45th St., Oakland Park; 954.789.5001) have attracted an increasing number of clients, both locally and from as far away as Europe and South America. On Valentine’s Day, alone, Garman had 30 appointments.

Time and again, he has seen clients become emotionally expressive during the modeling session. He’s observed families reconnecting, and children enjoying themselves so much that they don’t want to leave. In some cases, people bring their terminally ill family members, seeking to memorialize their presence. Garman even has brought his sculpting materials to those too ill to travel. 

His sculptures are tailored for each client. He has produced hands in the shape of a cross; he sculpted a musician’s hand holding her favorite pick. In every sculpture, he meticulously works on the details, bringing to life the creases and lines that make up a person’s hands.

“It doesn’t get more personal than your hand bonded together with somebody for eternity,” he says. 

Art runs in the Garman family; Sean’s uncle, Michael Garman, is internationally renowned for his sculptures. Growing up, Sean didn’t receive toys as a kid. Instead, his father told him to make things. About 23 years ago, he made his first body sculpture.

Garman’s sculptures are created with hydrostone material, a type of body-safe cement derived from seaweed, that is poured directly onto the hands to create the mold.

The process, which previously took place at two locations, is done at the Oakland Park studio. There’s enough room for multiple appointments to take place consecutively, and even corporate events.

 

How Much Time Does It Take? 

The modeling process takes less than an hour. Clients receive the completed sculpture, finished in brass, bronze or silver, about four to six weeks later.