Sunday, May 31, 2009

Reed Quarry (and local flowers)

I needed a block of limestone for the Charles City commission of a little girl reading, so I visited Reed Quarry in Bloomington, Indiana to pick out a block of stone.
I had already contacted the owner of the quarry, Steve Reed, with the dimensions of the block that I needed. When I got there, he had just pulled the stone from the pit. Steve Reed is standing next to the block. I looked it over; it is a very nice, clean block that will work excellently for the sculpture. There is a lot of stone to remove - that will be handled at the studio with our diamond-bladed chainsaw...
To help round out the load, I needed to find a stone around 8 tons. The total load ended up around 22 tons, which is about the legal limit for hauling over the road. This stone is known as a roughback for it's odd shape. Steve Reed oversees moving the stone so that I can get a better look at it. It weighs 7 1/2 tons - just what I'm looking for.

After I picked out the stones, I watched the turning of a 250 ton ledge of stone. A chainsaw with a ten foot long bar makes cuts down through the stone. It makes cuts about 50 feet long as it moves down a track. Then, that track is moved over by 4 feet to free the next ledge. The stone is then drilled at the base and wedges are hammered into the drill holes, this cracks the stone across at the base.
The quarrymen remove the wedges prior to turning the ledge.
A bulldozer lays out a bed of rubble so that the ledge won't break when it falls.
The cables of the crane are attached through pulleys attached to the ledge and down to the bottom of the pit. The crane then takes in the cables so the ledge will fall over onto the stone rubble.
Halfway there...
And suddenly, the ledge has turned, dropping onto the stone rubble. It is now ready to be drilled into manageable sized blocks and lifted out of the pit.
And now for something completely different - flowers This is an Aster just opening.
A super closeup of an Iris at the studio.
One of Liz's (my sister) Roses.
Insects in a Sycamore bloom.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mold work on the Home of the Innocents Sculptures

The sculpture entitled "Ascension" is the first to get a mold applied. Here is the finished sculpture.

The various parts of the sculpture, arms, babies arms and legs and dove get cut apart. This is so each section can be made into a two part mold. A mold release is then sprayed on.Two coats of Polygel 40 applied with paint brushes and now Don draws on a part line - this is where the two parts of the mold will separate. Steve McMillen helps Don by fitting shims to the Dove after applying the first coats of mold materialThe part line half-way down the body. Shims will be attached to the sculpture with polygel 40 combined with polyfiber which thickens it.
The shims are applied. This is plastic bubble sheet which can be purchased from Sculpture Depot in Loveland, Colorado. The bubble sheet was waxed with Trewax prior to use so that the mold material won't stick to it.
The baby's shims.
The sculptures will get approximately 6 coats of mold material.
When the sculptures are completely coated in Polygel, they get a plaster mold which is called a mother mold. The polygel captures the surface of the clay - even fingerprints, while the mother mold provides the basic support for the rubber mold. Without it, the polygel mold would distort.
After drying, the plaster and polygel molds are removed from the clay. Each 2 part section of the sculpture will then be taped back together and readied for shipping to the Foundry - Art Castings of Loveland Colorado.
Duct tape that baby!
The mold for the baby gets taped up and the bottom of the woman sculpture is turned upside down so that the inside of the skirt can be finished. It's much easier to finish this way than lying on my back reaching up inside....
Recently, my cousin Joe Marsh came to visit (he is on the right). My sister Liz is in the middle hidden behind her daughter Bethh, and her son Joey is in the red shirt. Joe, Liz and I (on left) were great friends as kids - we grew up together and went everywhere together. But as we reached adulthood, we kind of went our separate ways, but nows he's back, kind of like a long lost brother.
On Monday May 11, Liz's other son, Danny, had his 17th birthday. We celebrated at Fuji's, a Japanese restaurant in Louisville. Those are onion volcanoes.
The chef throws a ball of rice to Danny. Will he catch it? -----Actually he does!
Fireworks in honor of Danny's birth - a family tradition.
Danny blows out the candles.
In the next post I will show the quarry where I bought the stone for the Reading Girl for Charles City Iowa. It was selected for me by the quarry owner Steve Reed of Reed Quarries. It is an excellent block that I am looking forward to carving. More pics including the turning of a ledge in the next blog posting.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Turn of the Wheel; a new commission, semi finalist and finalist

The Home of the Innocents commission will be finished soon. Three of the committee members were out recently to give final approval and, as that job ends, another is just beginning.

I have been awarded a commission for the Charles City Iowa Art in the Park project. Below is a photomorph of the sculpture that will be placed in the park. The concept that the city wanted to convey is education. Entitled "Girl Reading", the sculpture will be created from Indiana Limestone and earthworks. The little girl and the book will be carved from stone and her skirt will be earthworks with a groundcover planting. The plants symbolize the ideas that become a part of us when we read.
The sculpture will be a little over 5 feet tall; the figures shown for scale.
In addition to this commission, I am also a semi-finalist for a $225,000.00 commission in Stockton, California.

The very day that I was getting approval for the Home of the Innocents clay prototypes, I received a call that I'm a finalist for the Hux Cancer Center in Terra Haute, IN ($42,000.00).

And now for something a little different, tree blossoms.

Can you guess what tree this is? You've seen this tree in bloom, but you may have missed it's inconspicuous flowers - what looks like white petals are actually sepals. It's a closeup of a Dogwood.This is a Cherry tree bloomI'm not entirely sure about this tree, I think it is a persimmon.