Ray Kramer in not really crazy, well at least, we don’t think so, but he has an uncanny and sometimes unbelivable talent in first knowing what’s funny or ironic about human nature and then in just minutes being able to carve a cute, little characature of a police officer or firefighter, caught in the act of being what they are and doing what cops and firemen do for a living, but adding something funny. He works in sculpey clay, his only tools a small knife and after five minutes, he’ll hold it up and say, “What do you think?” He’ll work another minute and everybody near will immediately start to laugh out loud. He’s done hundreds of little people and when the sculpey hardens, he paints them by hand and they jump out at you and make you smile while you say to yourself, “I know somebody just like that at the department.”
Our first company use of these little figures were as bottle toppers, in either two-part resin or cast bronze, and mounted on a cork, they served as matching “Bottle Coppers,” a singing RCMP trooper on Canadian Windsor, a very straight-looking, white British uniformed Bahamian cop, on a bottle of Rum. OK, he’s made a little Mexican Bandido with a big hat, what type of booze does he go on? Sure, Teceilla. And, many more, all cute. Cop is not a good term for police officers, but Coppers is friendly and a term officers use when they’re speaking about one of their partners. So, Bottle Coppers. Ray has done hundreds more, those that poked fun at the firefighting profession were called, Bottle Stoppers, ha, and the little funny golfing figures are Bottle duffers, now you get it.
These little figures are used by police and fire departments as fund-raisers to raise money for the more serious job of honoring a fallen officer or firefighter, killed on duty, where a full life-size bronze sculpture is needed as a memorial. Ray has a great respect for both professions and considers it an honor to make a contribution with his unusual talent. He also sketches and paints beautifully and doesn’t lose any power when the scale changes or the job needs his strange talent. Let’s see, the last job required Ray to sculpt four different kind of Minnesota fish, Crappie, Northern, Blue Gill and Walleye for trophies for a fishing contest, he sculpted them from memory, and he doesn’t even fish, now who has that knowledge stuck in his head, must be crazy.