Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hand to Hand

I moved the preformed Hand into the studio at the beginning of the week, as I knew that more freezing weather was on the way. In fact, we received another inch of snow on Saturday (I've had enough of winter!).
The task for the week involved checking measurements between the plaster model hand and...

the large stone hand. Back and forth - from one hand to the other. In the foreground is the only tool that I used this week. It's an air hammer with a small chisel for ripping off heavy areas, and a wide chisel for smoothing out and refining the form. The pace has slowed down as I get closer to the finished shape.

There is a reference line all around the model. The line lays directly under the outside points.

I drew a similar set of reference lines on the concrete floor of the studio under the stone piece. They correspond to the other lines on a scale of 4:1, which is pretty easy to work with. We've made enlargements on stranger scales like 7:1. For that we had to use an enlargement scale wheel (ordered from Otherwise, it would be hard to calculate things like 7 times 2-5/8 inches.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Time on my Hand

Not having power at the studio for over a week, drove me to make some real progress - to make up for lost time, I guess. So, I set aside the work in progress on Nexus, and began roughing out the next project which is a large hand that is intended as a functional seat.

This is the 1/4 scale plaster model for the new sculpture. The "plus" marks are on the outside points. I'll find those points on the block first, by measuring from reference lines.

The next step is to remove the extra length from the block.

I drilled holes into the block, inserted 'feathers and wedges' and...

....split off the extra piece.

The next step was to grind off the rough surface and determine the outside points. You can see the plus marks that are the outside points for the end, top and back.

There's a big corner that needs to come off behind the fingers (to the right).

Measure twice - cut once. It's better to take off a little at a time, than to take off too much.

I moved around to the front, because there is a lot of stone that needs to come out of the palm.

I've determined where the pinkie will be, and have moved more stone out of the palm.

I'm beginning to find the other fingers.

After about a week and a half of frenzied work, I've changed a 6,000 lb. rectangular block into a 3,000 lb. preform for the Hand Seat.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

ICE STORM 2009 !!!!!

We got slammed last week with the worst ice storm in living memory, for our region. Over 1.3 million people lost their electric power, and many will be without for weeks. The temperatures have been subfreezing for most of that time. We got our power back after 6 days, but our hearts go out to those still without and the linemen repairing all the downed lines and poles. It's going down to near zero tonight. It's the linemen who have it the toughest, having to work out in these conditions. Meg took over 700 pictures during this event; all the pictures on this posting were taken by her.
Tuesday, January 27 began the event with about an inch and a half of sleet. Then freezing rain fell all through the night adding an inch of clear ice on everything. It was two inches thick in places like Muhlenburg and Grayson Counties. Then we got about two inches of snow on top for Wednesday morning.
Ice coated last years flowers...
...and this years buds.
I'd never seen ice hang in rows of icicles, like it did this time. It's all that extra weight that brought down the power lines and lots of trees.
The first order of business was survival. I was completely unprepared. We got lucky when my neighbor, Steve McMillen, let us have some of his firewood. I'm taking the wheelbarrow over to get a load.
Later that day, Steve brought over about 2 days worth of wood in the loader of his tractor. Then he cleared off some of our driveway. That was super nice and unexpected; we really owe him, big time. That big limb, in the foreground, is where we normally park our car. Meg wanted to go out Tuesday, over the sleet, to do errands. I was at odds with her about going out on the slick roads, but it saved our car. It was too slick to get back up the driveway (lucky, lucky).
On Tuesday, while we were out doing errands, Meg took this picture of our sleet covered road back to our studio.
This is the exact same view, the next day, after the ice and snow fell.Portions of the road back to the studio were unrecognizable. It looked like a deer path winding through the woods, rather than a road that we bring semi's and cranes down.
The woods looked like a war zone. It's been hard on the trees for the last 2 years. First a straight line wind that swiped the region, then a hard freeze late in a spring that burnt the new leaves, the remains of Hurricane Ike last September, and now this.
I thought that I'd seen every form of ice and snow, but the freezing fog on Thursday night was a new one on me. It left everything up at the studio looking fuzzy with a coating of large ice crystals.
But enough about ice! Let's end this posting on a warmer note. We kept warm, cooked and heated water for cleaning, the old fashion way. I was glad to leave the 1800's behind and rejoin the 21st century with the return of power on Monday night. Be sure to check out Meg's blog as she posts some great images.