Friday, February 13, 2009

Home of the Innocents, the ice storm

I have added more clay to the second sculpture for the Home of the Innocents which is entitled "Metamorphosis" The sticks you see are wooden skewers which secure foam which makes up

the inner part of the sculpture. After I pack the clay on I use a rake tool to smooth it out.

In the last blog I showed pictures of Don and me walking back to the studio in the freezing rain to feed the birds. That night we lost power as there was about an inch of ice on everything. And then we had several inches of snow on top of that.
These conditions are really hard on the birds and I really wanted to get to the studio so I could
put seed out for the birds. We couldn't get out as the roads hadn't been plowed yet, so our neighbor Steve Mcmillen (former manager of Yellowbank Wildlife Management Area) drove us
up - thanks Steve!
This is the view from Steve's truck about 1/4 mile from the drive to the studio. He dropped us off at the gate and came back in an hour to pick us up.

The road was unrecognizable. Trees were bent down from both sides of the road. As we walked back we could see the track of some creature that walked down the road before us. Both subsequent snowfall made identification of the tracks impossible. Fox, maybe?

The trail continues

and continues....

This is a cypress trees bent by the ice.

I don't know if these are seed pods or buds, or what kind of plant, I just thought it was pretty...

One of the many reasons I walk back to put out seed...

When Steve picked us up from our snowy walk, he said he had seen an otter slide on the creek, so I went down to take this shot. Steve fixed us dinner that night - a steak, potatoes and corn. Really great food. Thanks again, Steve!

When we got back to the house we had to restart the fire. The wood had ice on it and I thought it looked kind of cool and I had the camera so.....

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The second sculpture for the Home of the Innocents and the beginning of the ice storm.

We have been without power for 6 days because of an ice storm that hit Kentucky Tuesday January the 27th. However, power has been restored! (at least for us). There are still many thousands more in Kentucky still without electricity and the windchill is below zero.

I have begun work on the second sculpture for the Home of the Innocents. The first sculpture will be located at Sister Emily Coopers' grave. This second sculpture will go to the area where most of the children are buried. The second sculpture shows Sister Emily Cooper shaking out a child's blanket, which has a pattern of butterflies upon it. At the top of the blanket, they are becoming real butterflies and are taking flight. This piece symbolizes the children's spiritual release from this world.
This is a maquette of the sculpture. In order to create the final sculpture, I have to determine where the armature will go. I take measurements from the maquette which will tell me where to place the main pipe. It will go through the center of her body, and determine the position for the armatures that support the arms and blanket. I attach a floor flange to a four foot wide piece of plywood that I have cut into a circle. The plywood circle is placed on a large turntable, so that I can spin the piece easily, to work on different areas.

I use galvanized pipe for the armature.

The body is first shaped with construction foam. I have cut sections of foam with a hole in the middle to fit down over the pipe that serves as an armature for the center of the sculpture. Taking measurements from the maquette, I have cut out the profile of the torso in 4 pieces of foam. I then glued the pieces together with wood glue, so that I will have 2 halves (left and right side of the body). I then slotted out a section of one half so that it will fit over the pipe. I use wood skewers to attach the 2 halves to the pipe.
I cut down the foam to form the torso. I need to make sure I cut off enough as I will be adding clay to flesh out the sculpture.

I use Chavant clay which is an oil based, sulfur free clay. It is fairly hard at room temperature so I need to heat it before I can pack it on to the foam. I cut the clay in slices about 1/4" thick and place them on black plastic - the plastic is large enough to cover the clay slices. Then this plastic is on a towel which is also big enough to cover the clay slices. This is then placed on a water bed heater which gives a gentle even heat.

The warmed clay is applied to the foam.

The arms have been cut from foam and attached with wood skewers.
On Monday we woke to snow and sleet. It was too treacherous to drive back to the studio. I feed the birds every day and felt it was important to make the walk. They especially need to have seed in such inclement weather. The studio is about 1/2 mile from the road. When we were walking back, the freezing rain had begun...
This is the first section of road leading back to the studio.

This is the next section

Don trudges through the rain..... little did we know how much this road would change in the next two days....

A spent flower encased in ice. But there is more ice to come.... much, much more...