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I can’t believe it’s butter! Let butter man John Blaney show you the tools and tricks of the trade in preparation for the Balmoral Show. The work of the dairy goes on in the background as John describes his royal commissions in a delightfully matter of fact way. Unlike the Balmoral Show, butter sculpture is an ancient Tibetan Buddhist tradition. In Europe its recorded history dates back to 1536 when a grand banquet featured Hercules struggling with a lion sculpted from golden slabs of dairy.
Butter art may be a rare curiosity in Northern Ireland but the art form has become a staple in American state fairs. Laura Olson sculpts portraits of finalists for the Dairy Princess contest at the Minnesota State Fair, the resulting ‘butter heads’ are shown at museums, eaten at weddings and some even stored in freezers for over three decades by the girls’ families.
This material is courtesy of the UTV archive. Ite features an interview with John Blaney by Leslie Dawes.