Sunday, May 29, 2011

Trip to Art Castings of Colorado

This has been a very busy week! We rented a truck from Penske and went across the Great Plains to get Meg's bronze sculpture for the Hux Cancer Center in Terre Haute,Indiana.

Meg had designed a pyramidal base of polished black granite for the sculpture, made by Bellcomb (formerly Stonwurks) of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The finished base was shipped to Art Castings before we got there. To my left is Ken, and to my right is Jeanne. They are just 2 of the many great folks at Art Castings. These people are very experienced - I can't say enough about the quality of the crew at Art Castings. They have a great balance between having the discipline to get things done, yet taking the time to see that the customer is completely satisfied.

This is the bronze portion of the sculpture. We looked it over very carefully before the final sand blasting, and it was 'right as rain'.

After the bronze was blasted, they applied the patina. This is Nate and Chad heating the bronze before applying the finish.

This is the finished bronze.

They fed the wires through the sculpture. Then, they assembled the whole thing together.

This is the complete sculpture, with the light turned on. It was spectacular to see this piece come together.

We carefully disassembled the sculpture and began to load everything into the truck.

The only thing left to do, at this point, was to make the 1,250 mile drive home. All in a week's work.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Meg's Grizzly Bear Installation

It was finally time to install Meg's Bear sculpture. On Derby day, we rolled the bears outside where Meg carefully looked over everything in the sunlight. Then, we power washed them, let them dry for a couple days and sprayed on a breathable sealer. The brand name says it all.

Tuesday morning, a 23 ton crane came from JBB inc. of Hardinsburg. Dereck Sheroan was our operator. He is helping me to put on 2 safety slings at the bottom to keep the main slings from slipping off the rounded bottom of the sculpture. Dereck is our operator of choice. He is extra careful with our work and experienced beyond his years.
The Bears were commissioned by Dr. Steve and Mary Ann Pollard. They came out to the studio to watch the load up, while their son, Charlie, video documented the whole process.

We loaded the sculpture onto the back of the brand new crane. This was its 2nd lift, ever. The bears were rigged a little off balance on purpose, to keep the slings from applying pressure to the raised hind foot of the mother bear (the foot near my hand). We couldn't take a chance on breaking this piece - better safe than sorry.

The bears made their way to Louisville, with our car and the Pollard family following.

We arrived at the new Kosair Children's hospital. Then, we set up the crane, rigged the sculpture and began the lift.

The 6,000 lb. sculpture was lifted over the artistic fence that surrounds the children's play area. The sculpture is headed for the concrete pad that had been prepared ahead of time.

We set the sculpture on boards, and took off the 'basket' hitch. Then, we used a 'choker' hitch (shown) to lift one end, take out a board, then repeat the process on the other end, to get the other board out.

Dr. Pollard checks out the finished sculpture in its new home. (all photos on this post copyright Meg White)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Quarry Run

I haven't posted on this blog in a while because we've been really busy - more than usual.

On April 29, work resumed on the addition, when 4 guys with Gary Hicks Insulation showed up to blow in cellulose insulation.

April 30, we went to the Pollard's house near Westport, Kentucky. Their son, Tedd, was hosting a fund raiser for the bands with his company, Music Coming Back, or MCB records. You can download their mp3's at The event was on the back deck, right next to the flooding Ohio River - it was a really cool scene!

They had set up a tent over the area for the bands. This is Lotus Blake, my personal favorite of the evening.

On May 5, I went to Bloomington to pick out some stone. Matt Weir, a fellow sculptor and good friend of ours, wanted to go, so I rode up with him. Orleans, Indiana was still experiencing flooding. This Amish is riding his horse down highway 37, while we had to take a detour.

I found this large, high-quality stone at what used to be called Victor Oolitic. They have merged with Indiana Limestone since I was here last. On the left, Duane Foster is calculating the weight of the block. Matt is in the background, about to take a picture.

There was a defective layer along one side that would have added too much weight for the semi. So, Duane called for a loader to pick up the rock...

...and take it to a diamond band saw, where they sliced off the unwanted layer.

Vessels Trucking of Rhodelia, Kentucky hauls our stones. We've worked with Charlie, the driver, before, on several jobs. It's great to have experienced people that you can count on.

This particular stone, at 30,000 lbs., was too big for our regular crane company to unload. We used Padgett Crane from New Albany, Indiana, who sent out a 50 ton crane. The operator's name is Barney - he knew his stuff. (and a pretty good sense of humor, which always helps).

Charlie is climbing down off the rock before we do the lift. That's one big rock! It has a particularly tight grain, and I can't wait to see what Meg will make out of it.