Moore’s sculptures to be displayed in LaGrange

Published 3:42 pm Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Chuck Moore has spent the majority of his working days inside textile factories, where he first started as a fire watchman at 17 years old. Now, he makes art out of the scrap metal, gears and components left behind.

Moore, a Valley resident, first started sculpting in 1974, when he started shaping chalk with a screwdriver.

“I’d take it home and spray it with my mother’s hairspray and sell them for $2 apiece,” Moore said.

He went from chalk to wax, from wax to wood, wood to stone and stone to metal. His metal pieces are built out of components and gears from old textile mills.

He’s built some incredible pieces — some that are so big that they weigh over a ton. Others are small enough to fit in your hand.

He might be known best for Railroad Rusty and the family that sit in front of Langdale Mill in Valley. Rusty is made from railroad parts from the Chattahoochee Valley Railway, while Rusty’s family is made of machines from the local mills.

“I built it but couldn’t move it,” Moore said of one of his sculptures. “I paid somebody. They came in with a big, pneumatic powered forklift and picked them up and put them on a flatbed trailer. They moved ten of them that were scattered around the yard.”

Moore’s “Heavy Metal Band” includes a guitarist, a drummer and a dog. He’s about to add a few more pieces to Sweetland as well in the form of actual instruments he made from recycled mill parts. A guitar, a banjo and a violin will hang near the band in the near future.

They are also made out of different machinery vintage components from the mills, and he can tell you what every part what used for. 

“I’ve been in the mills all my life,” Moore said. “What makes those pieces is that’s all that’s left.”

His artwork will also be featured on The Thread trail soon. Natalie Hale, executive director of the Thread, said they plan to meet with Moore to show him what they have planned. Another one of his pieces, a bulldog, is in front of LaGrange City Hall in honor of former City Manager Tom Hall.

Moore said he’s just happy the sculptures are being put to use in an outdoor environment where people can enjoy them. In February, he said he called the LaGrange Art Museum trying to find a permanent home for his large, outdoor sculptures.

“I’ve got a bunch of sculptures that are outdoor sculptures that I need a home for,” Moore said he told them. “I don’t want to sell them. I don’t want anything for them. I want to find them a good place where somebody will take care of them.”

The City of LaGrange is going to use 21 total pieces of Moore’s work, and some of his other pieces are currently on display at the LaGrange Art Museum.

Moore can make just about anything.

Out of metal, he’s made dogs, people and several other collage pieces utilizing the different items he had from the mill. In wood and steel, Moore has created animals, faces, skulls, and an anatomically correct adult heart.

“Metal was kind of one of opportunity,” Moore said. “I’d been in a machine shop all my life, so I knew how to do a lot. I knew how to weld. I fixed machinery all my life.”

But, it’d be wrong to label Moore a metal artist. He actually prefers to work with wood and soapstone, which takes more time and more effort.

“The people in LaGrange are going to know Chuck Moore as a steel artist, but [sculpting is] more what I do. This is more my sculpting,” Moore said while pointing to some of his wood sculptures. “This takes more time, more effort, more thought and more mental energy to get this this way. The other stuff I do because I’m mechanically inclined, and I know a lot of about putting stuff together and how steel reacts and how to weld and so on, but for this you have to have a little more heart into it than you do the steel.”

For more on Moore’s art, visit