Don's sculpture Tree of Life was recently installed at Cave Hill Cemetery. This is the granite gase upon which Don's bronze tree will be attached.
The bronze tree was delivered to the studio. It was uncrated there to make sure that no damage occured in transit from the foundry. We then, with Steve Macmillens help, loaded up the sculpture and brought it up to Cave Hill Cemetery's receiving area. First the sculpture is fitted to the stone.
Lee Squires,(on the left) General Manager of Cave Hill, met us in the receiving area. The Leis family (in foreground) also met us there, they were anxious to see the finished bronze tree.
A stainless threaded rod will attach the bronze to the granite securely, but first a hole must be drilled in the granite. Billy (who works at Cave Hill Cemetery) checks the angle that Don is drilling the stone and indicates which way to move the drill so that it is straight up and down. After the hole is drilled to sufficient depth, the sculpture is then fitted to the granite again. Then we go over to the site to install the sculpture.
Billy manuevers the granite into place. "It needs to be over to the left more", says Don. But Billy has a plan...
Using a crow bar and a piece of cardboard, Billy gently moves the stone over, gettting it exactly in the right place. I was impressed, so was Don.
Setting compound is applied between the bronze and stone...
The finished tree of life, Don did an excellent job.
I found this picture of my Grey Cat from about 1989. The cat is made up entirely
of Canson Mi-tientes paper and Elmer's Glue. I folded and cut all those paper hairs which
reminds me of....
Daphne and all her many leaves. A hugely different process, the cat being additive and the stone reductive. They do have one thing in common - they were both an ordeal.And here is a video of me working on Daphne.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCr64wR9y7U
And here I am using an air hammer on a piece entitled "The Conversation" I have also been working on models for a potential commission but won't post those until everything is finalized.
What's this? The inside of a backlit, dried up Queen Annes Lace flower.
I thought I'd do a face study in some of the Slyacauga (Alabama)White Marble. This is a fairly small piece of stone, I believe it is a scrap from the Meteor sculpture Don did for the town.
I start out by drawing the face on the stone with a number 2 pencil. I position the face so that the nose is in the corner of the stone. There is not a lot of stone to work with and I have to make most of what I've got.
I rough out the face with a 4" angle grinder and a die grinder using a fairly large mounted stone burr. I draw in eyes, mouth etc. I cut the basic shape of the face and begin carving with the nose (as that is the farthest thing out on a face) and start working everything else back into the stone. I have tilted the face slightly to the left from the corner of the stone to add a little more feeling to the piece.
I mark the areas that need to be cut off to open up the face.
I have defined the face but it is still fairly flat. The forehead and cheekbones are not carved back enough.
The face about half finished...
I use a die grinder with small diamond burrs to carve the details of the face.
The face study almost done, just needs a bit of tweaking. The stone is very fine grained and fairly easy to work(if you're working with diamond tools). While the marble is harder than limestone, this hardness is consistant through the stone as opposed to limestone which can be very uneven in hardness. This unevenness makes fine detail difficult to achieve in limestone which is better suited to over lifesize work.
Don and I went to Brandenburg yesterday to watch the Morgan's Raid portion of the Civil War reenactment. This is the old section of Brandenburg, KY down near the riverfront.
It was really hot so they opened up the fire hydrant to cool off the horses - the horses didn't much care for the cooling spray.
A boy playing on the soldiers, or is it a face out of the past?
This is a friend of ours, Eddie Franke (he is wearing the hat). He and another character just had a drunken brawl in the street...
This is another friend of ours, Loretta Young in period dress. She has on layers of clothes, long sleeves and it is about 100 degrees in the shade. She must be miserable but she doesn't look it.
The actors in this reenactment did an excellent job. How they could handle the heat is beyond me. I had a couple of hours of it and I was done. This is truly a dedicated bunch. A bit of news -this group is in the 2012 movie "Hatfields and McCoys, Bad Blood". Which is pretty cool...
The heron's molds get a plaster mold (or mother mold) over the rubber mold to preserve the general shape of the sculpture and prevent distortion. A thin layer of plaster is added first...
Then a layer of hemp soaked in plaster is added to give strength to the mold.
Plaster is then applied to the molds until it is fairly thick- a couple of inches for the larger molds. - there are 4 in all, one for the heron, one for a leg section, two for the head feathers and one for the leaves.
After the molds cure for about 48 hours they are split open
Then an exacto knife is used to cut along the shims and open the rubber mold.
The interior of the heron's mold. Kind of looks like it's ghost.
The molds are wrapped for shipment to the foundry.
This is the "mystery sculpture" I've been working on. She is 3 times life -still needs a lot of work- and part of her will be made up of earthwork and plants.
"Flight" gets a patina...
On the return from the foundry - which is located in Indianapolis - I took a side trip to Brown County State Park. It was a hot day and the car didn't come with an air conditioner so I sought refuge from the heat here.
This is a montage of photos I took of the covered bridge at the park.
Just recently a park was commemorated in Paul Fields memory. It is located behind Craig Kaviars Gallery and has one of his marble sculptures of prominently displayed. Paul was responsible for starting a lot of sculptors in stone - Don, Matt Weir, Mike Ratterman, Larry Beisler, etc.
I wouldn't be carving except for his generosity in sharing his knowledge of working stone. I am deeply in his debt.
This portrait was done by Matt Weir. It was his first attempt at portraiture - he did an excellent job, really captured Paul's personality.
Don recently had a birthday and so we went over to see the Kentucky Stonehenge in Munfordville, KY. This is a small part of the stone assemblages on the property. It's really impressive what one man had done.