Artist sculpts St. John the Baptist outside Egg Harbor church

A sculpture of St. John the Baptist is being carved outside the Egg Harbor church named after him. (WLUK/Gabrielle Mays)

EGG HARBOR (WLUK) -- A chisel here, a cut there, head north on Highway 42 and maybe Jeff Olson, chipping away at piece of Door County Limestone, will catch your eye.

"When you get into it and polish it, it has a real... real nice finish to it," said Jeff Olson.

The unfinished piece sits outside a Catholic church in Egg Harbor.

"The church is named St. John the Baptist so I thought it'd only be appropriate to have a statue of St. John the Baptist," said Rev. David Ruby of Stella Maris Parish.

Ruby believes art in church is meant to inspire and offered a brief overview of the man known as John the Baptist.

"He didn't care about what he looked like on the outside. He was a mess most of the time, didn't have fancy clothes or fancy anything... he just simply tried to live a deeper relationship with God," Ruby said.

As the sculpture continued to take shape, Thursday morning, Olson shared what the piece will look like once it's finished.

"The traditional portraits of St. John the Baptist is he's in camel's hair clothing, with a leather belt and he eats honey," Olson said.

Now in his fourth day of carving, Olson works on the sculpture a few hours a day and early in the morning before it gets too hot.

Ruby said the piece is more than just a statue and he hopes people understand what the saint represents.

"He is centered in God and he feels comfortable in who he is but he's reaching out and saying I hope that you can experience this unconditional and perfect love of God," Ruby said.

As Olson continued his work, he stopped to answer questions by occasional visitors.

If you'd like to see Olson carving the statue, he told FOX 11 he hopes to have the sculpture done by the end of next week.

Olson also plans to carve statues at the five other churches within the parish. Ruby said he is working to secure funding for the plan.

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