Sunday, June 28, 2009

makin' a girl

It's been unbearably hot all week, with heat indexes hitting around 100 degrees. But the show must go on...

I continued working on Meg's Reading Girl commission for Charles City, Iowa. I used the diamond bladed chainsaw to remove big corners from the block. It originally weighed in around 28,000 lbs., but the preform (on the rail cart in this picture) only weighs about 6,000 lb.

The advantage to using the chainsaw is that the scrap is all carvable material - all the corners will eventually become other sculptures. In fact, this piece had hardly hit the ground before Meg drew a design on it.

Last week's effort focused on putting a rubber mold onto Meg's plasticine scale model. Then, I put a plaster mother mold over the rubber, de-molded the clay and cast a plaster from the mold.

This photo shows the plaster model which is 1/4 scale to what the stone piece will become. You can see that I've drawn a square around the base of the piece. This gives me the reference lines from which to take measurements; I can take measurements in all 3 dimensions. You can see the measurement devices that I use. I also use calipers to double check everything. It's a slow and tedious process, but very accurate.

This is the progress by the end of the week.

This is the view from the other direction.

Meg took this photo while she was in Colorado last week. She had to go to the foundry in Loveland to make final arrangements for her bronze sculptures that were commissioned by the Home of the Innocents. You can't blame her for choosing to do business in a place like this...(unless we could find an art foundry in Hawaii?)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

...upon a Falling Star

As promised, I will show more pictures of the previous week's installation of my marble sculpture "Falling Star" in front of the Municipal Complex in Sylacauga, Alabama.

This is a good instructional picture, for "how to do it right". I took the advice of City Works Superintendant Tommy Woolley, and tied a safety band of rigging around the lifting rigging. That would keep the piece from flipping out of it's 'basket' hitch, if it were to become unbalanced. (photo courtesy of Comer Library)

The City provided a crew of men to help with the installation. I am drilling a hole in the donated black granite base for the stainless steel pin of the sculpture. (photo courtesy Comer Library)

I use an extra piece of threaded rod and a square to make sure that the hole is straight, so that the sculpture pin will fit down into it.(photo courtesy Comer Library)

Mayor Sam Wright watched me mix the epoxy. He asked, "Is it showtime?". yes, when the epoxy gets mixed, things need to happen soon. (photo courtesy Tommy Francis)

Tommy Woolley guided the sculpture over to the pedestal. (photo courtesy Comer Library)

Tommy and I guide the sculpture pin into the hole. The Mayor and Ted Spears look on as it happens. (photo courtesy Comer Library)

The sculpture is set on boards that were placed between it and the base (this is to facilitate the removal of the rigging that goes under the sculpture). We are re-tying the rigging around the waist of the sculpture to raise it enough to pull the boards out and put in setting cushions and monument putty. (photo courtesy Tommy Francis)

Next, we warmed up handsful of monument putty to make a water-tight seal between the granite base and the sculpture. There are monument 'cushions' under each corner to make sure that the sculpture sits down level. Ted Spears holds the sculpture steady, while Tommy and I apply a finger sized gasket of putty. (photo courtesy Tommy Francis)

The sculpture is then lowered into its final position. (photo courtesy Comer Library)

...and nothing left to do but smile. (photo courtesy Comer Library)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"Falling Star" lands in Sylacauga, Alabama

The focus of this week's effort was the installation of my sculpture "Falling Star" in front of the Municipal Center in Sylacauga, Alabama.

Meg drove me to Louisville on Tuesday morning, so that I could pick up a flat bed truck from Penske. She snapped this picture of some huge bridge beams that were stopped across the bridge in Indiana.

I took one last hard look at the piece, gave it a final rinse and headed south (about 500 miles).

This Saturn rocket greets visitors as you cross into Alabama on I-65 south.

A black granite base had been donated by a local business. It was a complete and very pleasant surprise. There were 2 professional photographers (and a TV crew) taking pictures of the installation. So, I will post some of their images next week, after they mail me the photos.

I had an empty flat bed truck, after the installation. There was no way that I was going back to Kentucky without a load of their high-quality white marble. This is the quarry at the Alabama Marble Company about 6 miles out of Sylacauga.

These are 5 of the 6 blocks that I brought back. We're both very eager to get into them.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Blocking Out Meg's "Reading Girl"

The main effort for this week was to remove excess stone from Meg's block for her Charles City, Iowa commission. The water that cools our diamond chainsaw will wash off any marks for the cuts, so I have to inscribe the lines with a grinder.
I made a cut 18" deep clear across the front face of the stone.

Then, I made the vertical cut for removing a notch out of the front of the block.
I drove wedges into the vertical cut to split the little bit of stone in the middle that the saw couldn't reach.
I used a pry bar to flip out the waste piece, when it was split free from the main block.
Gone! A 4,000 lb. waste piece hits the ground.
Next, I set up for cutting off the big corners. I have inscribed the outside 'box' of the form. You can see the diagonal china marker lines to mark the corners.
I cut off the smaller corner first.
This is the block at the end of the week. Over half of the original 28,000 lbs. has been removed.
Meg went to Terra Haute this week to review a potential sculpture site. While she was there she snapped this picture of their historic, Victorian-style Courthouse.
Meg snapped this shot of a Woodcock (aka 'Timberdoodle') that was sitting on the road leading back to the studio. They're very odd little birds. It did this strange up and down bobbing as it left the driveway. I think it was a warning, possibly for some chicks hiding near by?
...and the infestation of baby raccoons continues....(it's watching its mother very closely).