Monday, June 16, 2008

A Happy Birthday, for sure!

Sunday, June 15 (Father's Day) was my 47th birthday. I always like to take an adventure of some sort on my birthday. I knew that it would take off of the next day, so I worked a full Saturday to make up for it. (one of the perks for the self-employed).
The first half of the week was devoted to finishing the Green Bay commission and pin it to a granite base.
This is another view of the finished sculpture which will be installed later this month.
On Thursday, I returned to work on the Washington commission. My task is to refine the forms of the seed shells. I am using a diamond wheel on a 4" grinder to get the final shape. It leaves a rough surface that you can see in this picture.
Then, I switched to a masonry wheel that smoothed the surface further before sanding.
I begin the sanding schedule with a course 36 grit on a single-action sander. You can already see a remarkable difference in the surface of the stone.
The next step in the sanding schedule was a finer 80 grit on an orbital sander. The dual-action of the orbital sander helps take out all the small bumps. The last 2 steps of the sanding schedule involves 240 and 400 grits which bring out the true color of the stone.
This is how the top surfaces of the seed shell looked by the end of work on Saturday. Next week, I will repeat the process with the two lower shell forms.
We left early on the morning of my birthday. As we were driving west, the sun made this "Fogbow" in the last of the morning fog coming off the Ohio River. I took this as a good omen.
Our first destination was the Garden of the Gods in southern Illinois. It has incredible views with eccentric stone shapes to explore. You'd think that I would want to see anything else but stone, for my days off - but I'm obsessed.
I wanted to check things out - but I also wanted more birthdays.
There were lots of strange shapes to discover.
There were wild patterns in the sandstone from iron deposits.
We took a different route home and, on a whim, decided to check out Rim Rock recreational area.
The further back that we walked, the higher the cliffs got. Then we came to these stairs that led down from the clifftop.

We had to zig-zag through these large moss-covered fissures.

The path then led down these stairs to a magical place called "Ox lot cave" (not shown here). It defied my attempts to capture the essence of the place with photography. It's difficult to describe what I mean by 'magic', but the site had a great 'feel' to it. I hope that you get a chance to see it for yourself one day. This destination was unplanned and unknown to us. Sometimes, the best things in life just happen.

We took the ferry across the Ohio River at Cave-in-Rock, Illinois. The final destination was the hickory-smoked Barbeque, for which this region (Henderson / Owensboro) is famous. Happy birthday to me.

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