Crazy Like a Fox | TheFencePost.com

Crazy Like a Fox

Pat Martin

Exploring the cluttered workshop and outdoor gallery of sculptor Lyle Nichols is like venturing inside the mind of a crazy person, but this man is crazy like a fox. Some of his works of art sell for as much as $60,000 and the orders keep coming. His amazing creativity not only flows freely, but seems to gush forth like a veritable geyser. It is evidenced everywhere you look, from giant animals constructed of scrap metal, to gracefully carved designs in stone and colorful glass. Nichols does it all and seems undaunted by any challenge presented by his unusual occupation. With so many large, heavy objects to maneuver around on his property, he has come to rely a lot on his handy forklift.

Who else do you know who would buy a 5000-pound granite boulder from a gravel pit and then carve a comfortable “easy chair” out of it? Or create a guest room inside a giant Hereford cow? Yes, he bought the familiar icon from the steakhouse on 12th Street in Grand Junction and plans to use it as sleeping quarters for overnight guests. Another recent acquisition is an old wooden windmill from up on Glade Park, which he purchased at one of Western Implement’s auctions. Hauling that thing home on a flatbed trailer was a bit of a challenge too.

But Nichols’ roots go deep, and his can-do attitude was probably inherited from his grandparents, Lee and Margaret Nichols, who came from Meeker, Colo., in 1905, to homestead north of Fruita. His father, who was born in Loma, worked for various uranium mines, and the family moved around Colorado quite a bit. Although he himself was born in Grand Junction, Nichols grew up in Paradox and graduated from high school in Nucla. A recent widower, he’s lived in the Grand Valley for the past 30 years and has been making a good living from his sculptures for the last 15. Nichols lives on his East Orchard Mesa acreage in an old barn, which he refurbished utilizing his professional woodworking skills. This man’s artistic talents seem to run the gamut.

Exploring the cluttered workshop and outdoor gallery of sculptor Lyle Nichols is like venturing inside the mind of a crazy person, but this man is crazy like a fox. Some of his works of art sell for as much as $60,000 and the orders keep coming. His amazing creativity not only flows freely, but seems to gush forth like a veritable geyser. It is evidenced everywhere you look, from giant animals constructed of scrap metal, to gracefully carved designs in stone and colorful glass. Nichols does it all and seems undaunted by any challenge presented by his unusual occupation. With so many large, heavy objects to maneuver around on his property, he has come to rely a lot on his handy forklift.

Who else do you know who would buy a 5000-pound granite boulder from a gravel pit and then carve a comfortable “easy chair” out of it? Or create a guest room inside a giant Hereford cow? Yes, he bought the familiar icon from the steakhouse on 12th Street in Grand Junction and plans to use it as sleeping quarters for overnight guests. Another recent acquisition is an old wooden windmill from up on Glade Park, which he purchased at one of Western Implement’s auctions. Hauling that thing home on a flatbed trailer was a bit of a challenge too.

But Nichols’ roots go deep, and his can-do attitude was probably inherited from his grandparents, Lee and Margaret Nichols, who came from Meeker, Colo., in 1905, to homestead north of Fruita. His father, who was born in Loma, worked for various uranium mines, and the family moved around Colorado quite a bit. Although he himself was born in Grand Junction, Nichols grew up in Paradox and graduated from high school in Nucla. A recent widower, he’s lived in the Grand Valley for the past 30 years and has been making a good living from his sculptures for the last 15. Nichols lives on his East Orchard Mesa acreage in an old barn, which he refurbished utilizing his professional woodworking skills. This man’s artistic talents seem to run the gamut.