Wednesday, December 30, 2009

more rocks, yes please!

On December 17th, Jerome Morgan of Vessels Trucking brought me about 44,000 lbs. of Indiana Limestone that I'd bought from Victor Oolitic Limestone Company of Bloomington, Indiana.

Introducing 'Rock One'...

...and 'Rock Two'.

Several dustings of snow, freezing temperatures and Christmas 'stuff' kept me from getting the stones unloaded. But, I finally got around to drilling them into 5 separate pieces of about 8,000 lbs. apiece.

To split a large stone block into smaller pieces, you drill a series of holes about 8 inches apart. Then you put in these metal 'feathers and wedges'.

Then, you hammer the wedges to increase the pressure on the feathers. These stones were about 3 feet thick. Nothing was happening, so Meg goaded me by saying that I hammered like a little girl. "I am NOT a little girl!"



Derrick of J.B.B. inc. of Hardinsburg, Kentucky showed up this morning to unload the stones. It was below freezing, with a brisk wind, but a great way to end the year, with all the potential that these blocks hold for the next year.

So many rocks, so little time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Race to the Finish

I've been working full speed to finish the benches for Roanoke, Virginia.

This is the progress on side A.

This is the view from the other side. The top square shape has been formed and polished. Most of the sculpture is looking as it should. I will use the remaining time to thin and refine both benches.

These are the 2 completed stone bases with their stainless steel pins.

Going up! Meg zoomed in on this guy hanging steel about 100 feet up in the air. He's working on the new arena in downtown Louisville, and he'd just walked out on the beam that he's sitting on, to unhook it from the crane.

Meanwhile...back at the farm. "If you'll be my dixie chicken, I'll be your Tennessee lamb..."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

rocks: carved, carried & collected

Most of the week was spent refining the functional sculpture for Highland Park in Roanoke, Virginia.

This is the progress of side A, at the end of the week.

This is the progress on side B, at the end of the week.

We finally had a few days without rain, so I thought Friday the 13th was our lucky day to move Meg's Grizzly Bear mom and cub. From time to time, we use Breck County Ready Mix's monorail truck to move large stones. There's a strong possibility that Meg will be commissioned to install the finished sculpture in a children's hospital (pending approval of the model).

This preform for the sculpture weighs between 8,000 to 10,000 lbs.

In perfect Friday the 13th style, the easy part was hard, and the hard part easy.

Saturday, we went to the Kyana Geological Society's rock & mineral show in the Resurrection Lutheran Gym. The centerpiece was a Dracorex Hogwartsia on loan from the Indianapolis Children's Museum.

This is a close-up of one of the specimens that I bought: sprays of tabular Hemimorphite crystals with green Conichalcite from Durango, Mexico. (Like, I don't have enough rocks).

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Roanoke Strength Bench

After completing the tasks for the final installation of Meg's Home of the Innocents bronzes, it was time to shift gears and return to the Roanoke Highland Bench project.

This is an 8,000 lb. block of Indiana Limestone, that will become the 2nd bench entitled "Strength". (that's a tape measure and the scale drawing on top of the block).

The design was tranferred onto the block, then, incised with the small diamond-bladed grinder (shown). There is extra length to this block that needs to be removed. I drilled a series of holes along the line where I want to split the stone.

Then, I placed 'feathers and wedges' into the holes.

Gently beating on the wedges puts pressure on the feathers, which causes the stone to split. (an old trick, but a good trick).

I used the diamond chainsaw to cut out a section above the seat of the bench.

The preform now weighs less than half of its original 8,000 lbs. I used the crane truck to move it into the studio.

This is the 'side A' view of the progress by the end of this week.

This is the progress on side B.

Everyday, I lay down a thick layer of stone dust, and every night the bugs make tracks all over the studio floor. Some seem to know right where they're going - others cut a few 'doughnuts' along the way.

Meg's Home of the Innocents sculpture dedication

There was a Preview Party on the day after the sculpture installation, that was shown on the last post. Sharon Receveur hosted it at her house, and that would be a blog posting unto itself (except that we came away from it without pictures to share). Great food and great company, what else can you say - except that it's something that I'll remember the rest of my life.

The unveiling and dedication of Meg's Home of the Innocents Children's Memorial markers was scheduled on Sunday, November 1 at 2 p.m. The event began with a welcome from sharon Receveur (on the left), and then remarks by Home of the Innocents CEO Gordon Brown. This photo includes Linda Speed, who was one of the main forces in the project, as well.

Ciaran Brown played Sister Emily cooper alongside 4 child actors, in a production called "Remember Me".

There was an unveiling of a historical marker at the site by Becky Riddle of the Kentucky Historical Society.

Prayers and blessings were led by Rabbi Stanley Miles of Temple Shalom and Bishop Reed (both on right of photo). There was a Choral performance by the Ballard High School Madrigal Singers. Then, Sharon presented the artist, Meg white, who spoke a few words.

The sculpture was unveiled...

...and the doves released!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Home of the Innocents sculpture installation

Monday was the scheduled day to install Meg's Home of the Innocents sculptures in Cave Hill Cemetery.

Steve McMillen (in the Dept. of Fish & Wildlife jacket) met us at the studio with the first light of day. We disassembled the sculptures and prepared them for the journey to Cave Hill. I recognized Johnny (on the right), who has worked for Bill Brummett Monument Company since 1985. It was a good feeling to have experienced help on this installation - I knew it was going to be a tough one.

Paul Roerig, the new owner of Brummett Monument Company, had provided his 1 ton truck for transporting the bronzes. They were safely snuggled on a mattress with lots of packing blankets.

After making the trip from the studio to Cave Hill, we began the installation by setting a granite base. Cave Hill had previously installed concrete footers - they had done a great job!

Next, we placed the 1 ton, lettered plinth.

Then came the most dreaded part of the job - getting the straps out from under the heavy plinth, and making a seal with monument putty between the stones. But, I had picked a great crew, and there were no mishaps.

Michael Higgs, of the Heritage Foundation, and Sharon Receveur, the committee chairperson, were just in time to see us install "Ascension" onto the stone bases.

The next site required the use of these fiberglas boards, so that the truck wouldn't leave ruts in the soft ground. Actually, we are moving the boards over, so that we can back Paul's truck beside the crane, to unload the 2nd bronze sculpture.

The granite base and plinth were set, just like at the other site. Here, we are installing "Metamorphosis".

The final stage of the installation involved pinning and epoxying 3 bronze plaques to each of the 2 monuments.

After attaching the stainless steel pins and spreading on a 2 part epoxy, I push the 70 lb. plaques into position.

We applied pressure to the plaques using ratchet straps, so that there was no chance of the plaques slipping out of position while the epoxy set. We left them on, over night, as the epoxy had a long cure time (the longer the cure time, the stronger the bond).

Meg snapped this shot of a HUGE mushroom, while we were zipping up the last of the work. You can see that it was twilight before we were through. We started our day in darkness, and ended it in darkness. Everyone was exhausted, by the time we got through. But, it looks like we had the pick of the week for weather. We got lucky, when we needed it most.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Victor Oolitic stone quarry

The main task for this week involved finishing the Home of the Innocents project. But, there was a gap in the action on Tuesday, and we used the opportunity to make a trip to Victor Oolitic near Bloomington.

This picture shows the radical difference between the blue-tinted St. Louis layer of limestone that lies over the top of the buff Salem Limestone layer that yeilds the tight-grained Indiana Limestone. The St. louis layer is full of cracks and seams, and is only good for gravel.

It's difficult to get a perspective on the scale of their operation. From this hill top, you can see about a 100 acres filled with quarry blocks and cut stone.

There is a huge selection of quarry blocks - row after row. I wanted to find 40,000 lbs of stone to make up a semi load. I was overwhelmed with choices, as it's all good stone.

While I searched the stacks for stone to buy, Meg photographed this strange stone. Petrified Sliced Bread?

This 24,000 lb. piece is 1 of 2 blocks that I found.

The next day, we received the granite bases for the Home of the Innocents project.

There was this ring around the sun, while we unloaded the stones.

It was late Saturday afternoon, before we finished attaching the 6 plaques and the 2 bronze sculptures.

I was in the mood to party! - and conveniently...Steve McMillen was hosting a Halloween bash across the road. About 20 Jack-o-lanterns led the way to the bonfire.

Thor made an appearance. Hopefully, I can get better pictures of the other guest, like Pope John, Captain Jack Sparrow, and so many strange and wonderful creatures.

Things got weird...(let's do it again!)