Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Right Arm

Long Ago and Far, Far Away...
 ....a 25,000 lb. stone block arrived at the studio after making the 100 mile trip from the Bloomington, IN quarry.  This is 1 of 5 blocks for Meg's "Discovery" commission for Orlando, Florida.
 I split off a 9,800 lb piece lengthwise from the block.  You can also see odd-shaped corners that were cut off with the diamond chainsaw.  Derrick Sheroan is moving it out of our way for us.
 I used a grid with the plaster model to cut the outline of the bottom of the sculpture while the block was on its side.
 It was now time to flip it upright.
 Meg had made a full-scale template by photographing the plaster model and piecing together approximately 50 sheets of printed paper using a photoshop program.
 The template gave a more accurate view of the profile.  The extra stone could be cut quickly and with confidence.
 This is how it looks today.  It no longer looks like a quarry block.
It's beginning to look like the model (still a long way to finish...).

Rose Island in Charlestown Park

Saturday, June 15 was my 52nd birthday.  Meg and I had a full and eventful day of it.  The morning started with "Garden Dialogues"; which was part a two day garden tour in Louisville and Lexington with Cultural Landscapes (that's worth a separate blog posting just for itself).
 In the afternoon, we went over to Charlestown Park in southern Indiana.  They had moved this 100 year old bridge from the White River near Indianapolis to cross over Fourteen Mile Creek.
 If you follow the trail straight from the bridge (direction that the last photo was taken), you'll end up at the Ohio River.  There are 3 of these stone pillars which were the gateways for visitors who arrived by steamboat to a bygone recreational area.  It was Fern Grove from 1880 to 1923, and it catered mainly to church and family groups.  From 1923 to the 1937 flood, it was Rose Island Amusement Park.
 There are lots of strange concrete foundations spread through the woods.  This place had carousels, a Ferris wheel and a roller coaster etc. (see Wikipedia Rose Island (amusement park).
 This is the remains of a large swimming pool.
 There was a piano...
 ...and a fountain
 A sign at the gate said "Ticks are possible".  Meg had about 125, they seemed really attracted to her light colored pants.
I only had about 25.  This is me, Birthday Boy (picking ticks).

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Old Stone Fort in Tennessee

As I returned home from installing my marble sculpture in Dalton, Georgia, I decided to take a break from the bumpy ride in the large rental truck and investigate the Old Stone Fort Archaeological Park near Manchester, Tennessee.  I'm happy that I did - it's a very special place.  
 This is an aerial photograph that is on display in the museum; it really helps to get a sense of the site.  It is approximately 50 acres that is almost completely surrounded by 2 forks of the Duck River.
 On the upriver end of the peninsula, the rivers almost meet.  This creates a narrow entryway onto the site.  These are 2 small earthen mounds that flank either side of the entrance.
 This is the ground view of the open field that is surrounded by the low earthen remains of walls that encircle this huge site.
 A 1-1/4 mile path follows the walls around the field.  It's a very pleasant walk through the woods, looking over the cliffs to the rivers and listening to the roar of water as it goes over cascades and numerous waterfalls.
 This is a sign that is at the head of the trail.  It claims that the earthen cap has spilled over 2 internal stone cores in the last 1,500 years that it "has been out of use" and that this site was created by Woodland Indians over the course of 400 years.  ...that's the "official" theory...
 The trail crossed over the walls at this point, and they built a wooden stair to reduce wear on the wall remains. This is what most of the walls look like today.  More extensive research indicates that the walls were made of an inside and outside layer of dry laid stone with earth fill.  To my knowledge, this type of construction was not employed by American Indians...but it was used extensively in the "Old World"; particularly in Wales and Ireland. The walls may have been quite high and thick at one time.  The stone was taken away in the late 1800's to make roads and the earth filling was left behind. The lower stones (inside the dirt pile) were left because it wasn't worth digging them out as the upper stones (holding the dirt fill) were removed.  So...let's take a closer look at the 2 mounds at the entrance...would excavation or ground-imaging radar reveal the foundations of guard towers; are the mounds the earth fill left after stealing the stone casing?
 This sign, near the end of the trail close to the museum, explains how the area was used heavily for industry in the 1800's. 

 This is a close-up of the photo of one of the mills that used the waterfalls for power.

100 years later, this is all that's left of that complex of buildings in the photograph.  You can see the problem that faces archaeology - without the photo could you ever imagine what that mill looked like by examining this tiny section of stone wall?  So, what did the Old Stone Fort look like originally - and who actually built it?  My guess is that the true story of this place is much more extensive and stranger than the accepted academic theory.
I'll end this post with a picture of the last waterfall on the trail ...well, actually a dam built in 1963, two years before it was turned into a state park.  The Old Stone Fort is a magical and mysterious place.  I highly recommend a stop, if you are traveling on I-24 through Tennessee.  I plan to return when I get another chance.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"Seedling" installed in Robert T. Webb Sculpture Garden

We woke early on Monday, June 10 and made the trip to Louisville to get a 24' flat bed truck from Thrifty Truck Rental.
 Dereck Sheroan met us at the studio around noon with the 23 ton crane from JBB Inc. out of Hardinsburg.  We loaded the pink marble sculpture up for the 325 mile journey to Dalton, Georgia. (photo Meg White)
 Early the next morning, I arrived at the Creative Arts Guild that is the site of the Robert T. Webb Sculpture Garden. (photo Don Lawler)
 This is Leanne Lawson, Facilities and Events Director for the Creative Arts Guild, and one of my contact persons for this project.  She's standing behind a cast iron dog that we moved for them - as way of warming up for the featured event. ( The remaining photos were taken by Jim Sneary, who volunteered to help with this installation).
 We transferred the sculpture from the rental truck to the back of the crane.  In the background, is Terry Tomasello, Executive Director of the Creative Arts Guild, and my other contact person.
 We strapped down the sculpture to move it to the pedestal.
 I drilled the concrete pedestal and epoxied the stainless steel pin into place.
 Dalton City Police helped to block a lane of traffic while Jeff from Dalton Crane Service backed into position.  There were a lot of people involved in making this installation successful - and I really appreciate their help.
My camera decided to quit working at this point.  My pink marble sculpture is sitting on this concrete pedestal - you'll just have to take my word for it, until I get images from the Creative Arts Guild.  (How about that architecture?  Pretty creative!)