Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Nexus" Installed

I felt honored when the Maddox family chose my stone sculpture "Nexus" as a monument for their parents.

We delivered the sculpture to the Cane Station Cemetery on Brownsboro Road in Louisville on Friday the 17th, where we were met by Bob Maddox (left) and his two daughters (on right). The crane and truck with sculptures also drew the attention of someone from the neighborhood (center).

The first task involved drilling a 3/4 inch hole in the concrete footer for the stainless steel pin that will go from the footer, through the stone base and up into the sculpture.
I clean out the hole with a vacuum and bottle brush, so that the epoxy will make a strong bond between the pin and the cement. There is a generator on the crane truck, across the stone wall, that runs the drill and the vacuum.

I am rigging up the sculpture for the lift using nylon slings. On the right is Derrick Sheroan who is operating a 23 ton crane from JBB, Inc. of Hardinsburg. Derrick is one of the best operators that we've ever worked with.

We are using a standard 'basket' hitch for the actual lift, but I am adding an extra sling tied in a 'choker' hitch around the sculpture. It's always a good practice to add a safety sling, in the unlikely chance that one of the main slings breaks or slips.

It's important, especially for tall pieces, that it lifts up level and balanced. If there is a slight lean, set it back down and make the proper adjustment.

This was the toughest installation of the year (so far... the year's not over) and it had me worried. We have to lift the 3,000 lb. sculpture up 50 feet to clear trees. The stone wall limited our access, as well.

There was one small gap in all the tree limbs, and the sculpture was slowly lowered through that.

I initially set the piece 'dry' to make sure their were no problems with the hole or pin. I used softeners (pieces of old fire hose) to rest the piece. Then I lifted the piece, removed the softeners and set the base upon the footer.

Next, I tied 2 choker hitches around the sculpture and lifted it up from the base.

I mixed a 2 part monument-grade epoxy and spread it onto the threaded stainless steel rod. I always use threaded rod for pins because smooth round pins could break free from the epoxy - the threads make a mechanical lock that won't slip.

Then, the sculpture was lowered back into place.

This is the sculpture in its new home.

I love this picture that Meg took of leaf shadows on the back of the sculpture.
(all photos on this post by Meg White).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Meg's "Demeter" Installed and Louisville Skateboard Park

On Friday, we loaded up Meg's Indiana Limestone sculpture of "Demeter" at Yew Dell Gardens and delivered it to its new home.

I am using a 'Choker' hitch to lift this sculpture, as opposed to a 'basket' hitch that was used on the sculpture in the post below.

Up, up and away!

Mark Foster had prepared a triangular concrete footer, custom made for the piece.

There was quite a bit of demand for this piece, which could have sold many times over. Lots of people besides myself are eager to see what Meg will create next.

Meg has been wanting to go to the Louisville Skateboard Park for a long time, to snap some photos. We finally got a chance to go there yesterday. You can see the obvious sculptural potential in poses like this.

It's hard to believe that he meets back up with his board, lands and rolls away.

He's flipping his board, before landing and rolling away.

He's spinning his handle...

...while he's spinning the board.

I couldn't hardly ride a bike at his age, but he's not touching the ground. I was surprised at how safe the whole thing was. There were no collisions and almost no wipe outs - nothing serious, mostly landing on their feet if they miss the board.

Of course, with more age comes more air space. The terrain of the park is real sculptural, and there are a lot of opportunities for photography with the light and shadows on the curves.

"Exodus" Installed

The day finally arrived for the delivery and installation of my functional stone sculpture "Exodus".

John Naville met us out near the freeway and led us back a very long driveway to the home of Owsley and Christy Brown.

Derrick Sheroan of JBB, Inc. followed us in with a 23 ton truck-mounted crane.

We rigged the piece up using a 'basket' hitch.

I'm watching out for some tree limbs that are over the site. When doing a 'lift', you have to watch for overhead obstructions, as well as keeping completely out from under a suspended load.

The next trick involved getting the rigging out from under the 2,000 lb. sculpture. It didn't prove that hard, with John's help.

This is the sculpture in its new home.

I created this Steatite sprout, also in the Brown's collection, back in 1992. I'll be curious to see if they decide to re-install "Exodus" on a similar raised base.

Meg asked me to stop the truck on the way out, so that she could photograph these purple seed tops in a green field. (all photos on this post are by Meg White, except for the next picture).

A recent extracurricular activity of ours was a visit to this cave spring, which is the head of Wolf Creek. Wolf Creek got its name because the Buffalo used to cross the Ohio River where Wolf Creek feeds into it. The wolf packs used to gather there every spring, to prey on the Buffalo calves.

This spring is in a very remote location, and I'd been here before (ages ago, bringing girls to skinnydip). But, I'd never noticed these tiny iron pyrite crystals in the limestone cliff before. Funny how your perspective changes over time.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vandalia "Chiseled" Stone Symposium

Monday, Meg and I visited the Vandalia "Chiseled" stone symposium in Vandalia, Ohio, which is just a few miles north of Dayton (where I was born 49 years ago). We had a friend, Matt Weir, who was participating.

This was Matt's 9th day in a row for working on his large scale stone sculpture. He was holding up well - in fact, he was almost finished! The front side of his piece had a pixelated brain, which made a statement about crossroads and evolution.

He showed us the design for the back of the sculpture, which was a theater stage - as a metaphor for Life.

Moving 'stage right' (or upwind - however you want to look at it) was John Leon of Cincinnati, Ohio. John has an impressive list of accomplishments over his 30 year career. He is giving a video interview as part of the documentation process. The people who set up this symposium did a fantastic job - everything was 1st class!

I particularly enjoyed meeting Todd Frahm of Solsberry, Indiana. He is currently teaching stone sculpture at Indiana University in Bloomington.

He is carving a tree frog on a light bulb. I'm sure that we'll be seeing great things from Todd in the future.

This is Lasha Khidasheli who currently lives and works in Charlotte, N.C. He is originally from Georgia - not our Georgia, but the 'Old World' Georgia.

His sculpture, entitled "Sunset", uses negative space to let light through. I liked this photo because it included the sweeping architecture of the Recreational Center, in the background.

This is Patrick Sullivan of Squamish, B.C. Canada.

The staff of the symposium had provided smaller blocks of stone for kids to carve. There were hundreds of school children who had the opportunity of seeing the symposium first hand, and had a chance to see the process and talk to the sculptors. I hope that it 'lights a fire' in some of them, and produces a new generation of stone sculptors.

The Don and Tom Show - it was a 5 hour drive, each way, so we split it up with an overnight visit with my old college roommate (and fellow artist), Tom Mitts. (all photos Meg White).