Remembering the Light: Local Artist Creates Sculpture in Memory of Kylen Schulte and Crystal Turner | News

“When I looked at the photos of Kylen and Crystal, there was so much light and beauty coming out of their eyes, such purity of love,” said Ekaterina Tatarovich.

This is what the La Sal-based artist attempted to capture, creating a memorial sculpture for Kylen Schulte and Crystal Turner, who were murdered in the mountains of La Sal last summer. The metal sculpture forms a sunflower and a rose wrapped around each other as in an embrace, representing the married couple. According to family and friends, the sunflower was Schulte’s favorite flower and the rose was Turner’s.

Tatarovich completed the play partially in time for a memorial service for women in September. The sculpture will be installed in the Grand County Public Library in early 2022.

Tatarovich said she didn’t know Schulte or Turner well, but saw them in town.

“Just seeing the light and the love in their eyes was really special,” she said.

The two women were reported missing in mid-August 2021 and were found at their campsite in the mountains of La Sal on August 18, dead from gunshot wounds. The case is still not resolved. The community of Moab joined with the family and friends of the women in mourning two people who are remembered as happy and loving.

“For me personally, it really touched me very deeply,” Tatarovich said. “I was sad deep inside me. I just felt like it took a room to remember the light these two women had.

Tatarovich creates art and functional pieces in his studio in La Sal, called Sculpture Adventure Studios. Its workspace includes a forge and foundry, as well as space and tools for working with wood, stone, ceramics and glass. She decided to use her skills and talent to create and donate a commemorative coin to help the community remember Schulte and Turner.

“I couldn’t help it otherwise. I can just do the best I can do, ”Tatarovich said.

Forged steel “takes a while to make,” Tatarovich said. Each component is heated, pounded, shaped and twisted. The day before the September memorial service, she stayed up all night to complete the shape of the sculpture. It was displayed during the rally, but without its final finish. The finished piece will have a weathered finish and another piece of azurite, and will be displayed on a pedestal also made by Tatarovich.

As Tatarovich told people about the project and began looking for a place to exhibit the sculpture, other members of the community offered to contribute: Bill Harrison, owner of the Blue Crystal Mines in the La Sal Mountains, donated azurite and malachite stones. Tatarovich thought they were perfect to include in the play, as they come from the mountains of La Sal, a place she knew women loved. When Tatarovich asked the Moab Arts and Recreation Center for help in finding a place to permanently put the piece, MARC offered to cover the cost of the materials.

“I think everyone wants this to happen,” Tatarovich said.

It took some time to settle on a location for the sculpture. Tatarovich wanted it to be indoors, to reduce the risk of damage or vandalism. She considered asking Moonflower Market, where Schulte worked. However, she spoke with Schulte’s father, Sean-Paul Schulte, who wanted the sculpture to be in a more neutral place, rather than a place more related to one woman than the other. Tatarovich’s brother suggested the library, which felt like a welcoming place for everyone. She contacted the director of the library, Carrie Valdes, who told her she had the perfect location. The sculpture will be installed in early January.

Investigators are still working on the case. The Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Utah State Bureau of Investigations stepped in to assist the Grand County Sheriff’s Department in September. Sean-Paul Schulte hired a private investigator, Jason Jenson, to work on the case as well. Anyone with information that may advance the case is encouraged to call the Grand County Sheriff’s Office at 435-259-8115. Authorities are asking the public not to post advice on social media.

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