The Internet Craftsmanship Museum Presents:

Allen and Patty Eckman

Added to museum 5/9/12

Artistry in Molded Paper

Patty and Allen in a photo taken at the Booth Western Art Museum, Cartersville, Georgia in 2009. The Eckmans' work can be seen on permanent display at the Booth Museum. (Click on photo to view a larger image.)

Two artists with a shared passion: Paying homage to nature, native culture and the beauty of imitating life.

Here is one of the highly detailed artworks made by the Eckmans from a process using molded paper that they have perfected themselves. This one is entitled Offering of the Buffalo Medicine. Pieces can be ordered from their web site where they also offer instruction in person and on DVD plus the unique materials needed for this unusual medium. (Click on photo to view a larger image.)

Allen Eckman was born in South Gate, California in 1946. From ages five to fifteen, his family of three brothers and two sisters lived with their parents on a small farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. They eventually returned to stay, in California.

After graduating from Thousand Oaks High School in 1965, Allen enlisted in the Marine Corps. Four years later, he was a Sergeant E-5 and a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War. When Allen left the military, he began pursuing his lifelong passion: art and design. He completed his formal education at Art Center College of Design (Advertising Art) in 1974.

He met and later married Patty (Tenneboe) Eckman. They met while attending college. Patty majored in illustration and shares her husband’s passion for art and design. She was born in Brookings, South Dakota, in 1950 and grew up in Rapid City. In 1965, her family moved to Southern California’s San Fernando Valley.

The couple owned and operated a small advertising company in the Los Angeles area, where they raised their three children. Twelve years later, Allen and Patty decided they had enough of their stressful advertising careers. So they set out on a whole new career path, opening up an exciting and different world for both of them: the fine art of cast paper sculpture. Allen discovered the medium as an art director while photographing a brochure. He instantly recognized the purity, warmth, and most of all, the possibilities this medium had to offer.

From paper come form, elegance and grace 

Cast paper sculpture has been around since the 1950s, originating in Mexico. It should in no way be confused with papier-mâché’. The two mediums are completely different. In cast paper sculpture, the Eckmans first mix an acid-free paper pulp in the studio (“hydro-pulper” from two raw stocks, cotton and abaca). Then, the pulp is cast into silicone rubber molds taken from original sculptures created by Allen and Patty.

The paper is then pressed under vacuum pressure—or by hand—in the mold, where most of the water is extracted at the same time. The drying process is completed by evaporation while the paper is still in the mold. After the dry and hard casts are removed from the molds, the exclusive process of chasing, cast additions, cast alterations, sculpting in paper and detailing begins.

"A Way of Life" (Click on photo to view a larger image.)

It takes a great amount of time and experience to create each piece. Some works are so painstakingly detailed; they can take many months to complete. The cast paper process is similar to the cast bronze method in many ways. Of course, the finished cast paper product is white, lightweight, and can have an enormous amount of detail due to its properties and the artists’ own inventiveness.

The Eckmans are the inventors of this process. Eckman Method® of Cast Paper Sculpture is a proprietary trademark. Since 1988, Patty and Allen have developed and perfected the medium of cast paper far beyond any other artists in the world. Their work is considered by many critics to be the premier of the industry. Since the paper is acid-free, the sculptures are all museum quality. “We have really enjoyed the development of our fine art techniques over the years, and have created a process that is worth sharing, said Allen Eckman. “We believe there are many artists and sculptors who will enjoy this medium as much as we have.”

Native American Culture: A part of Allen Eckman’s heritage

Allen’s inspiration for the Indian subjects he creates came from a significant event in his life. “When I was a small boy in Pennsylvania, I found an arrowhead in a newly plowed field. I took it home to my grandfather, who told me we have a Cherokee ancestry,” Allen proclaimed.

“My great, great, great, grandmother’s name was Tounacha-Cherokee Case. She was born in the year 1793 in North Carolina, by the census record. It does not say she was Cherokee because the box on the 1850 census record specifying ethnicity was left blank. My guess is that being married to Laxton Case (a white man) at the time of the Indian removal (The Trail of Tears), and living in Cherokee country, was a precarious situation for both of them.”

“I really am interested in the Indian’s materials, physical and spiritual culture and that whole period of our nation’s history, which I find fascinating,” he continued. “From the western expansion, through the Civil War and beyond is of great interest to me.” Eckman has expanded his work through all these subjects and time periods.

In harmonious contrast, Patty has a great interest in wildlife, birds and flowers in particular. “Ever since I was a child I have had a great appreciation of wildlife,” said Patty. “I can sit for hours and watch the birds come to my feeder. When I look at a flower I don’t see just color, I see form and grace. Wonderful shapes that the color tries to overpower.” Patty also has a deep interest in the Native American culture, and since the year 2000 has been sculpting beautiful Indian women and children. On large, complicated, detailed works the couple often works together, both signing the piece when completed.

This joint effort between Allen and Pattie is called "Prairie Edge Life." It is fourth in a series of 90" by 60" by 20" relief museum quality cast paper sculptures. This photo gives a good idea of the extensive work involved in of some of the large pieces. (Click on photo to view a larger image.)

The Eckmans have resided in Rapid City, South Dakota since 1992. Their home and studio are in the beautiful Black Hills. There, the couple finds inspiration everywhere. The wildlife, the history, the climate and the spirituality of their lives provide Patty and Allen with an enormous amount of creative direction.

—Allen and Patty Eckman

D.B.A. Eckman Fine Art Inc.
222 Timberline Ct., Rapid City, South Dakota 57702

To learn more about the artwork, instruction in the process of molding paper and to purchase the specialized materials needed, see their web site at

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Here are several examples of Allen and Patty Eckman's work:

(Click any photo to view a larger image.)

Two versions of “Saved from the Flood”—molded from paper and also cast in bronze. From the original sculpture, a silicon rubber mold is made to  form the soft paper material that will eventually harden. Then final details like fringe, grass and hair are added. From the same original sculpture, a bronze can also be made.
Again, two versions of  “A Way of Life” are shown in both paper and bronze.
“Pride of the Lakota”

“Blackfoot Medicine Shield”

“Little Grass Dancer”

“Little Flower Dancing”

“Taking the Bull with the Bow”
  “Little Buffalo Dreamer”

“Blackfoot Medicine Lance”

“Little Fancy Dancer”

“Little Butterfly Bear”


“Hopi Buffalo Dancer” (Complete)

“Prairie Edge Hunt” is a large 90" x 60" x 20" piece featuring multiple individual animals and riders.
“Little Eagle Dancing”

“Little Hoop Dancer”

“Wife and Son of Sitting Bull”

“Little Bear Dancing II”

“Pronghorn Spirit”

“Medicine Bull”

“The Way”

“Family Powwow”

  “Their Last Hunt”

“Indian Horse Roper”

“Apache Wilderness”

“Prairie Edge Powwow”

“Fancy Dancer, Northern Plains”

“Traditional Dancer”

“White Buffalo Man”

“Butterfly Sisters”

  “Eagle Hoop Dancer”

“Shawl Dance”

“I Warned 'im”
“Elk Horn Warrior in the Wind”

“Pronghorn Cliff”

“Medicine Crow”

“Traditional Dancer—Prarie Chicken Dance”

Traditional Dancer—Eagle Stick and Fan Front

“Fancy Dancer”

“Prairie Chicken Dance”

“The Game”

“Three Coups Lance and Shield”

“Blackfoot Medicine Shield”

“Battling Bulls of the Rockies”

Paintings and Prints

This special print is on stretched canvas and is a (giclee) oil painting.  It is a reproduction of an original oil painting created from a picture Allen took of Patty on Chief, and from others he took of the Grand Teton Mountains (above Jackson Hole, Wyoming). Patty was an awarding-winning illustrator before she and Allen made a career change from advertising to fine art, in 1987. The painting is called “Teton Cowgirl”.

This is a large and graphic giclee print on canvas. Allen digitally composed this scene from digital photos of his original sculptures and painted it digitally. The sculptures were transformed into a contemporary giclee reduced to flat shapes of color, but the light and shadow from the photos he took remains in the image. It is certainly graphic in color but is also graphic in content with the hunter in pursuit of the large bull which is seemingly looking at a buffalo skull in the grass, as if he sees his fate in it, while a golden eagle circles overhead.

This special print is on watercolor paper and is a giclee watercolor.  It is a digital watercolor Allen created from a picture he took of Patty coming out of a barn, tack in hand. She was “goin’ ridin’” on Chief, the very same mount she is on in her oil painting (giclee) above.

(The Giclee process was created in 1991 as a way to produce fine art prints using modern inkjet print technology rather than a printing press.)

To see more of the Eckman's work, visit their gallery web site at

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New Submissions Welcomed

If you have additional information on a project or builder shown on this site that your would like to contribute, please e-mail We also welcome new contributions. Please see our page at for a submission form and guidelines for submitting descriptive copy and photos for a new project.

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