Friday, July 19, 2013

Arms Race

Meg and I have been working on her "Discovery" commission at a furious pace
 This is how the right arm looked in the last image that I've posted.
 Meg switched over from working on the head to form up the hand.
 This is the back side....
 ...and this is the view of the progress on the hand (as seen from above).
 The left arm still looked like a quarry block, so I switched over to it when Meg took over the right arm.
 It's July...and hot!  We hung sun tarps to give us some shade.
 This was the view of the front of the left arm before I started...
 ...and this is the preform, as it looks today, waiting for Meg to carve the hand.  (at least, I knocked the grass back...)
 Sweat Angel.  With heat indexes hitting 103 to 106 all week, I'd go inside and let the cool concrete pull the heat out of my body. ( Yes, I know...that's just plain gross).
...and speaking of Sweet Angels...when I do the books (at least once a month), the first thing that I like to do is gather and arrange the receipts in order....

Friday, July 5, 2013

Maquoketa Caves State Park

By now, you might have seen a pattern...I like to go exploring when I visit new places.  As I traveled north up state highway 61 to Dubuque, I caught a glimpse of a sign that said "Maquoketa Caves State Park"; I had to check it out.
 After getting a talk about White Nose Syndrome, a map and permit from a park employee, I headed across the road from the parking lot and down these stairs.
 There are basically 2 trail loops: one is off to the left through this natural arch.
 The other trail loop is through this cave.
 They have electric lights and a concrete walk, so that you're not walking through Raccoon Creek.
 This is called "Dance Hall Cave", and they used to hold dances here.  I guess it was the place to be on a hot summer day.
 There are paths and walkways going in a number of directions.
 It's hard to make a choice where to start.
 My choice led me next to Rainy Day Cave.
 ...and the path leads ever on ...
 ...and on.
 Balancing Rock.
 ...and back through Dance Hall Cave to go check out the other loop.  (I'm leaving out pictures of several caves like Shin Bone and Barbell.  I'll leave plenty for you to discover for yourself someday.)
Naturally, this area was used extensively by Indians; Twin Arches Cave would be my choice to live in.  What a magical place for kids to grow up in - caves, creeks and rocks to climb everywhere!
 This group of teenagers have flashlights and hardhats for crawling into some of the caves, like Dug Out Cave here.  I didn't bring a flashlight and old clothes, but I had plenty to see without going to that extra effort.
This is the view from inside Wide Mouth Cave.  The map lists 16 separate caves spread through a beautiful and lush landscape. Maquoketa Caves State Park was a great experience - I definitely recommend the side trip on your way to Dubuque.

Dubuque "Art on the River" Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit

This week's effort centered around delivering and installing my "River Boat Bench" in the temporary sculpture exhibit in Dubuque, Iowa.
 I rented a pick-up from Enterprise Truck Rental in Louisville to haul the 2,200 lb. sculpture.  I made the 550 mile trip to Dubuque on Tuesday, July 2nd. 
 Early on Wednesday morning, I arrived at the site which is on top of a river levee.  Downriver is the beautiful, contemporary architecture of the Grand River Center.  From this angle, it echoes the arch of the Mississippi River bridge behind it.
 Beside it is the historical architecture of the Star Brewery which was built in 1898.  My sculpture was set on the levee in front of it.
 Soon, I was joined by Jan Stoffel, Arts and Cultural Affairs Coordinator with the City (and my contact person for this event).  Beside her is Jason Lowrey from Williamsburg, VA who is another sculpture exhibitor and sharing the crane with me.
 The City provided a 50 ton crane from A-1 Crane Service.  Jim, the operator, did a perfect lift (what can I say...A-1!) (photo Jan Stoffel).
 Rod, also with A-1, arrived to help set up the jib extension on the crane and assist in the lifts.  It was approximately 125 feet or more from the the crane to the site - about as far of a reach as I've ever had to set a piece. (photo Jan Stoffel).
 After installing my piece (which went smooth and quick), they moved the crane to set up Jason's piece.  It is a combination of marble, IN Limestone and rusted iron.  This is one side...
 ...and this is the other.  Jason is bolting his piece down, while I was grabbed for a quick video interview.  (Point a video camera at me and I freeze like a deer in headlights.  For all their questions, I gave my stock answer "...uh...").
 This is the final view of my sculpture in its temporary site.
 Another view, as you walk around the piece...
...and the back side with the view of the Mississippi River.