Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

For the first official day of Winter, the temperature is in the teens with a brisk wind.
I haven't posted anything on this blog recently, because I've been busy polishing this marble "Falling Star". The weather has been too miserable to install the finished piece in the sculpture garden. There isn't room in the studio to stand the piece upright on its base, so there isn't much to see until it goes outside.
This picture was taken 11 years ago, when I was working in the studio in Ekron. This sculpture has been sitting around unfinished all this time. I moved it onto the cart-and-rail system and then into the shop recently.
I'm carving into the monumental scale head, covering the entire form (except for the face) with my signature style intertwining forms. This piece needs a title; I've considered Oberon and Thinking Man (as it looks like he has a lot on his mind). With the cold temperatures and icy conditions outside, it's nice to have something to work on inside the heated studio.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving and a new cousin

I spent this Thanksgiving at my first cousin Kelly Martin's house with most of my Mom's side of the family. He fried up a turkey, and there was quite a spread of food to go with it. His wife delivered a baby 2 days later - Sydney Jean Martin, 7 lb.-3oz. 19". Congratulations!!!

Work resumed on my Alabama Marble "Falling Star". I temporarily pinned the sculpture to the slab preform that will be part of the base. I did this so that I could work both sides and finish most of the carving. I had Meg stand next to it for scale - it will be 8-1/2 feet high when finished. You can see some of the negative spaces that pierce the form.
This is the back side. I'm very happy with the way this piece is turning out. Saturday, I laid the piece down again and moved it inside for polishing. They're calling for snow tomorrow, so I moved the pieces for the base inside, as well. I'm changing the base from the rendition to the right; it's going to be a surprise.
I listed my large hand on ebay Friday night. It is item # 290278931605, check it out!
This is a new sculpture entitled "Yesterday" that will be listed on ebay, starting Monday night.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Temple Benches Installed

Be sure to check my new ebay listing item #290278931605 of the huge stone hand at Yew Dell Gardens!

Wednesday, November 19, I installed the 3 carved limestone benches that I've been working on for the last month. Meg was with me and she took all the pictures on this posting.

I used a Ryder 24 foot flat bed to deliver the pieces from the studio in Stephensport to the Temple on the east end of Louisville.

We stopped by Hager Funeral Home / Monument Company in Brandenburg and had Alvin Banks follow us up to the site. Alvin is operating their truck-mounted crane. This is the same outfit that helped me install my sculpture in Lafayette, Indiana in the previous month.

We used the monument truck to ferry each bench from the Ryder flat bed to the pads where they would be set. Dr. Wolf had already made arrangements for the site preparation.

We all have on our winter coats, because it was unseasonably cold - about 35 degrees.
(This photo was taken by Bert Wolf.)

We separated the tops from the bases, so that it was safer to handle. I'm setting the first base in this photo.

We set the 800 pound bases on boards, so that we could get the straps out. Well, then we had to get the boards out from under the bases. It was good to use a monument guy for this move. He's using a special pry bar with rollers on it, to safely set the piece. One of the tricks of the trade.

Next, we set the top onto the base.

This is the finished Fire Bench installed at the site. It's my favorite of the three.

Second Base! Dr. Wolf and his wife Bert were there for the entire installation.

Alvin and I are installing the top of the Water Bench. I'm trying to guide the top down onto the two stainless-steel pins that are in the top of the base. It's pretty tricky to hit two holes at the same time.

This tree will shade the Air Bench in the summer. But at this point, the branches are just something else that needs watching.

I put the top of the Air Bench on backwards, in the first try. Anything worth doing, is worth re-doing.

This is the finished Air Bench in its new home. This piece has holes through all four corners. There is four separate textures used in this piece: polished, bushed, fork chisel and rock pitch.

This is all three pieces installed. The Temple will be undergoing landscaping renovations soon. These three pieces will be integrated into the new landscaping design and moved into their final positions sometime in the near future. I'm very happy with the way that these benches came out. It was a fun project.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Touch of Winter

The weather took a nasty turn this last week. It was cold, dark and wet - a taste of Kentucky winter. I worked throughout the week to finish the Temple Benches.

This is the Fire Bench, side A.

This is Side B of the Fire Bench. Meg thinks that this side is actually better, and should be the front. I'm of the same opinion.

This is a detail shot of the end of the Fire Bench.

This is a detail shot of the other end.

This is the finished Air Bench. I spent more time on it this week, to make some of the shapes more defined.

This is a detail shot of the textures of the Air Bench.

This is Side A of the Water Bench. I went back into it this week, as well. I added negative spaces at 2 of the corners. I also carved holes through two of the corners of the Fire Bench.

This is Side B of the Water Bench. Again, Meg and I think that this should be the front.

I will install these benches at the Temple in this coming week.

There was a gathering at Bright Foundry last night in honor of Creative Time, a New York based firm, "who is handling the future direction of Public Art for the City of Louisville". For the $50,000.00 fee that they got, you'd think they'd be the ones throwing the party.

It was my intention to go to the Foundry pour-n-party, but I flaked out. After working all week in the winter conditions, I wasn't up to the 3 hour trip to stand around in the cold. Meg went to the gathering without me, and she'll be posting pictures on her blog. The link to her blog is in the upper right hand column.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Home Alone!

Meg had to fly down to Baton Rouge for the dedication of her bronze fountain group. I'm sure that she'll post pictures of that trip on her blog soon. That left me home alone for the whole week (not that I'm complaining). I don't envy her as I'd rather be in the studio, than giving a speech and attending receptions.

Work resumed all week on the Temple benches. I had to carve the tops for the benches, after finishing the bases last week. I've been hoarding this slab of Indiana Limestone for a special project. It is unusually tight- grained with a subtle curving vein pattern (which doesn't show in the photo above).

I retrieved the slab from the stone yard with the crane truck. Then, I made shallow holes where I wanted to split the slab.

Up to my old tricks again, I split the slab into the 3 bench tops and a scrap piece that will be used in a future project.

Tabula Rasa. A blank preform section from the split slab will be carved into the bench top for the Water bench.

I start with the bottom first, so that I'll only have to flip it once. I've drilled 2 holes for stainless steel pins that will hold the bench together.

After finishing the bottom, I flipped the piece over and began the carving on the top.

At this point, I've carved and partially sanded the undulating surface of the bench top. I've also carved out the inner surface where I will add chisel movements that will simulate water currents.

I finished the top and set it to the side. Then, I retrieved the base and drilled it for the pins.

This is the nearly completed Water bench. It is sitting on top of the preform for the Fire bench, which I will begin Monday morning.

I started the Air bench, in the same fashion - bottom first.

This design has holes that are carved through the corners. I wanted to make sure that I was able to get them all carved out, before spending a lot of time on the rest of the piece.

Once all four corners were safely carved, I flipped the stone. (restless rock).

And skipping way is the nearly completed Air bench. I will supply detail shots of the inner carvings on next week's posting, when I should be finished completely with this project. The Air bench has a bushed texture that simulates clouds. There is also a forked chisel texture that was used extensively in the Water bench.

The weather was great this week for carving outside. However, it has now turned cold, which will make working outside less pleasant. Oh is November.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Temple Benches

This week, I began the commission for 3 sculptural benches to be carved from Indiana Limestone and installed at The Temple in Louisville, Kentucky. The idea for the project began with Dr. Richard Wolf and his wife 'Bert', who had commissioned similar benches. I wanted to create something special, since they're going to such a prominent site. After an initial visit with the Wolfs and Sally Younger of The Temple at the potential site, I created the 3 designs ( shown to the right of this column). A second site visit, which included Rabbi Rapport, helped bring the final details into focus. The Rabbi suggested that the carving of the benches could resemble the four elements: Earth, Wind, Air and Fire. This was just what I needed to hear, as that concept had crossed my mind during the design phase, as well.

The picture above shows the rough blocks from which I will make the bases. The bases are to be carved with layers that resemble the strata of the Earth. The tops will be carved with features that will make reference to Water, Air and Fire. There's hidden symbolism with the use of Earth, as the base for the entire grouping.

I used a hammer drill to make shallow 1 inch holes where I want to split the blocks into the sizes that I need.

Each hole gets 2 "feathers" and a wedge. I beat on the wedges with the hammer, which causes the feathers to put pressure on the stone.

As the pressure increases, the ringing of the wedges increases in pitch until finally, the stone splits. This technique is ancient (The old tricks are the best tricks).

This picture shows the 3 rectangular preforms that I'll need for the bases. The 3rd preform is on the back of the truck. The scrap pieces from the ends will become small sculptures someday.

The picture above shows one of the preform blocks before work has begun. There is a line where I will cut the top flat.

The strata lines were drawn onto the stone and then cut with the saw (shown). I will use a hammer and chisel to break off the excess material. This will give me the natural texture that I want. I've used a geometric progression for the width between the lines, to create visual movement. Two are like this pattern and the other is opposite, for diversity.

My back told me that carving the preforms on the ground was a bad idea. I cribbed up some big timbers to make a higher work station. You can see the finished texture and the amount of material that was chiseled from the original block.

This is the finished base for the Fire bench.

This is the finished base for the Water bench.

This is the finished base for the Air Bench. Tomorrow, I begin the sculpting of the tops.