Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tree of Life and Buttermilk Falls

I continued work on the Tree of Life commission this week by packing on plasticine clay over the wire armature. We use a water bed heater to soften the wax-based clay. I cut up an old sculpture into little pieces and sandwiched them between a plastic sheet, then covered that with a towel to hold in the heat.

The first thing that I did was to add more wire leaves, making a total of 72 on the sculpture. Then, warm clay was smeared onto the armature.

There is a large mass at the base that will become the roots of the tree. I use foam insulation to take up space, rather than pack it solid with clay.

Then, everything got a layer of clay.

As I kept building up the form with more clay, I started to use a wooden scraper tool to begin rough forming the trunk and branches.

This is the progress at the end of the week. I will begin to work on roots, next. I want to finish roots and branches before adding the leaves. It's real easy to un-do work on one area of a sculpture when your trying to reach another section.

Saturday, we mixed business with pleasure when we went for a hike with a friend from Boy Scout days, Eddie Franke, and his girl friend Loretta. We went to Buttermilk Falls Trail in Brandenburg.

I took lots of pictures of tree bark, to use as reference for the Tree of Life commission.

I also took pictures of roots...

...and more roots.

Meg took this picture of an interesting tree. (see anything else in that picture?)

Right beside the trail is the gravely remains from a Lithographic stone operation that was in production over a hundred years ago. Brandenburg was one of only two sources in the world for Lithographic stone used in printing at the turn of the 20th century. The only other was in Solnhofen, Germany. This became the only source for the U.S. and its allies during W.W.I. Hard to believe this was so important at one time, as there is very little to see there, now. (photo Meg White)

1 comment:

RJ said...

That tree of life is ridiculously awesome. LOVE it. Whoever commissioned this has good taste and probably good ideas in general.