Sunday, December 16, 2012

More Progress on "Ecliptic"

This week's theme was Astronomy. I watched the meteor showers on Thursday night. I saw about a dozen around 8 p.m. - half of those were pretty impressive. I went out at 1:11 a.m. into the breezy 28 degree temperatures to watch the peak of the Geminid shower. I only saw 50 by 2:45 a.m. when the cold wind finally drove me back inside. A few years ago, I saw over 100 in an hour for the same event.
When it wasn't raining, I resumed work on the monumental stone sculpture "Ecliptic".
Normally, I use the diamond wheels to form a sculpture. But, I started using the air hammer on this piece for the shear enjoyment of carving. This is the way that I used to carve, early in my career.
This is the progress on the other side. I need to stand this piece up so that I can get to this side and the one that is currently on the bottom.
The top portion of this picture shows the raw block on the morning of Friday November 30, before work started on the 7,500 lb. stone. The lower portion shows how it looked at the end of the day on Friday December 14 - exactly 2 weeks later.
...the girls...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

"Ecliptic" monumental stone sculpture

I've been making functional garden art pieces for the last 2 months. I felt that it was time to try something a little more ambitious.
I had started this large granite hand about 2 years ago. I dusted it off, put it up on the work table and went at it hard all Monday. After working all day, I stepped back and asked myself "What did you do?". Granite is so hard that progress is painfully slow. I decided to put this sculpture back aside, because I was in the mood to make some serious progress on a large project.
So, I turned my attention to this unassuming stone block outside the studio door. Don't let it fool you - it weighs at least 7,500 lbs. and measures 72" x 39" x 34".
I dug this drawing out of the archives. This is something that I came up earlier this year. It is a combination between two designs that I really liked: The "World Flower" and "Harmony". It's also a heavily influenced 'spin-off' from the "Tree of Life" project.
I tried to create a scale clay model based on the drawing. One thing led to another...and this came out at the end of the day.
The next day, I refined it and came up with this. It's title "Ecliptic" and is certainly inspired by all of the planet watching that I've been doing this year.
The first thing that I did was to make a plywood template for the 32" sphere at the top of the design. I will also have to make templates for the smaller spheres later.
I carefully started to lay out the design onto the stone block. I used a 4" grinder with a diamond blade to incise the lines made with a wax china marker.
This is the progress at the end of this week. It is wet from a pop-up shower that knocked me out of working on it today. Usually, I won't work on Sundays, but it's so exciting and fun to start a new project that I don't think of it as work.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Sun Ray" stone trough

After I finished the "Wave Urn", I decided to make a stone trough. There are a lot of antique stone troughs in England, that were used to water horses. I wanted to make a contemporary functional sculpture based on that traditional form.
I used the crane truck to mave a 1,500 lb. stone block onto some wood cribbing.
After a couple days, I had a preform beginning to take shape. Most stone troughs are rectangles (which are compositionally boring). I used various diagonal compositions to add visual interest to the piece.
This is the final version. I used the shape of the stone block to its full potential by creating a diagonal 'sun ray' emerging from the grey stone. The concept of the piece is about the inevitable 'ray of Hope' that will come out of any grey day.
I also made some design features inside the trough. It has a stippled texture on the bottom, for visual interest, if it is not used as a planter. There is also a 'ray' that cuts diagonally across the sides of the trough.
This is how my stone angel looked when I finished with it a couple weeks ago.
While I was out doing errands earlier this week, I asked Meg to see what she could do to improve the piece and she worked her magic! She reworked the face, neck and body of the angel over two days. It's a vast improvement! I can't wait to see the final version.
My new roommate, Catrina, helps me with the laundry.
(Like, I didn't see that coming!)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

"Exodus" Moved

Monday, November 19 was the appointed day to move my functional sculpture "Exodus".
Mike Emerson, an employee of the sculpture's owner, is helping me to determine the exact position for setting the piece.
His co-worker, Ryan, gave the site a thorough cleaning.
I rigged the sculpture and prepared it to be lifted by a 23 ton crane.
It took every bit of boom that the crane had to reach the site.
Dereck Sheroan from JBB, Inc. of Hardinsburg flew the bench through the trees and over to the site
After setting the bench safely on some boards near the site, I mixed up and laid a bed of mortar (while Dereck and Mike watch).
Mike and I set the bench onto the fresh mortar bed.
It wasn't quite level on the first try, but we got it perfect on the second attempt.
...and here is the functional sculpture in its new home.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fire on the Mountain

Fire on the Mountain gives off light that can be seen from far away. It must move on to new fuel...or the spark will die...
I'm not sure if I'm turning over a new leaf...but, here's a new functional sculpture that I made in the shape of a leaf with its stem curved in upon itself.
Here is how the Swan Vase turned out (see the older post below for the in-progress image). It was pinned to a base of Virginia Steatite.
...and this is the final picture of the Swan Urn.
An idea starts with a sketch...
...then, you find a suitable piece of stone (in this case, it weighs 650 lbs.)
After a few days of focused effort...the final result: "Wave Urn", Indiana Limestone, 22" high x 17" in diameter, 250 lbs.
...and...full cycle. I am ending this week's post with this image of a smile-like "sun dog" (refracted light through atmospherically suspended ice particles).. I think that it is great contrast to the first image: daylight from night, and fire to ice...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

"The Flying Bird Brings the Message"

The title for this week's post is a line from The Book of Changes. It is aptly the 'flavor of the week'. A baby Barred Owl flew into my window at first light earlier this week. It took a while to pull itself together before it could get up and fly off. That's me this week, only I'm not yet in the mood for flying anytime soon. I'm still stunned and in shock...
I guess that led to the creation of three stylized stone vessels with a bird theme. This is a Mourning Dove vessel.
This is a side view of the same piece above. It is Indiana Limestone with dimensions of 25" long x 14-1/2" wide x 9-1/4" high.
This is the top view. It's the only one of the three that is finished.
This is an unfinished Swan Vessel. The head is still way too big, but I'll get it refined early next week. It is Indiana Limestone and measures 23" long x 15" wide x 11" high.
Instead of finishing the other Swan Vessel, I flew into this Swan Vase. It is Indiana Limestone and measures 29" tall x 21" wide x 10" thick. It is big - it is heavy!
Here's the new girl in my life. Her name is Catrina, but I call her Trina (...and Cat! when she's bad). I was eating lunch down by a local cave spring. She had obviously been dumped off. O well, her luck took a turn for the better...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Angel From Mooleyville

I woke up this morning to "Angel from Montgomery" by John Prine with Bonnie Raitt, so that explains the title for today's post. There's a little "cowtown" at the foot of the hill below the studio called Mooleyville (couldn't resist the joke).
I've posted these pictures in an order that will give you a sense of walking around the piece. In that way, you can see the various views and details of the whole sculpture.
I've made pretty good progress on this Angel sculpture. I keep thinking that it's done, but when I wash off the dust, I keep seeing things that I can improve.
I decided to show pictures at this point, because no one but me will notice the fussy little changes that I make from here on out.
The top piece is Indiana Limestone and it measures 38" high by 19" by 18". I began it on July 25 with a small "thumbnail" clay model and a 1,500 lb. stone.
The base, to which I'm custom fitting the sculpture, is Indiana Limestone and measures 41" high by 29" by 22". It has a cloud-like feel because of the stipple effect from a bush chisel.
The base was originally carved over 10 years ago for a sculpture of "Icarus Falling". I didn't use the base at that time because it pushed the boundaries of the commission budget. I've been saving it for just the right piece. Has that time come at last?
The overall dimensions of this assembly is 6'-7" high by 2'-5" front-to-back by 1'-10" wide. It is big!!! and it is on top of my rail cart which adds another foot in height. By raising the sculpture up even just a foot, it creates an awe-inspiring sense of monumentality. I'm really happy with the way this piece has evolved.