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Monthly Archives: April 2010

Sunday’s salt block adventure lasted from 8:30 am to 3pm- a bit longer than we had planned by twice. The spot was great, down on the riverbed where a vast new sewage treatment plant is going in at the base of “point of the mountain”. There are a slew of millionaire mansions overlooking the site- kinda funny that. For most of the morning the U.S. Military was firing off munitions on the neighboring hillside- a line of visual explosions followed a few moments later by concussion blasts. So we have a ginoumouse construction zone with a super-crane built into the site (more than 200 men work there during the week), the military blowing shite up, and snowcapped peaks all around, and we are running a monster 220/60amp saw making clouds of salt: manworld. I took two pictures of my mason pal cutting the block on Sunday, then forgot to bring the camera home- so no pictures for a bit. We have to wait for the remaining cobalt block to come in, and for Nunny The Mason to cut the remainder before the camera comes home. And too bad, because there is easily an MFA show worth of Repetitive Objects spread around the shop and yard as I fiberglass the backs of each piece of salt block. I got 120 done today, and will do about the same tomorrow. Funny thing, even with the 20″ blade it takes two cuts to get through the block- and the bigger blade can’t cut the block as thinly. So I have square-er pieces that still need to be ground thinner.  I had to run way out to West Valley to get more resin and fiberglass, which slowed the ol industrial process down, and I took the 64 Stang in for the annual licensing safety check as well- once the old girl passed her safety (needed a rear brake cylinder replaced) the old girl wanted her first run of spring- up Emigration  canyon and down I-80 to blow out some cobwebs. She always cleans out some of mine as well: almost like fear, more like cheating death- loud and fun anyway. 

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The process of making something involves a lot of repetition and stacking of stuff- if I had my degree from an ivy-league school I could make a show for the Chelsea gallery that came with the degree with the stacked stuff alone. Instead, I’ll just cut even more 8×8″ squares of fiberglass cloth and, next week, stick them to the back of the salt block that I’m scheduled for cutting this afternoon. I suppose I should include the stacked salt block in the shop and truck, as further media exploration of industrially produced modular repetition that is stackable.
Wow. What a hep art show I could install. I could say things like, “It’s all about process.” and slip in the old art standby “visceral” at dramatic moments, and talk about the purity of media and how it directs my authenticity and keeps me grounded and honest. And if that didn’t make the pink haired tat-girls cry, then I’d have to break out the hot-glue and really get spontaneously conceptual and “real”.  I’d be wearing my Carharts, leather welding jacket and boots, and maybe my welding helmet (if the hot glue scenario was necessary).
In the center of the room would be a comfy leather chair housing a live Performance Art “happening” involving Elizabeth brushing Yellow Cat with the furminator and clipping his claws- just to add that demented cateryowling and danger: not to mention the stackable cat hair and a little display of his claw clippings. This would be an aspect of a New Media piece, where a projection of the Yellow Cat incident is projected onto Cmonster the German Shepherd- tracking to her wherever she goes- revealing her internal torment. This would play continuously, even after the live performance is over, alluding to the eternal torment of those loyal to art.
Why, oh Why, can’t I ever get a show?

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I went back through what I thought was finished and refined them, then continued on with the rest. My orbital sander was starting to throw sanding pads the minute I put them on, and the dang thing was unwieldy for sanding the edges, so I fired up the air compressor and broke out the metal chasing abrasive and polishing disks. The pneumatic right angle grinder with a zip lock ripping pad, then a sanding pad, then a red pad, then a blue pad- with a 220 pad to cut the edges, then a nice wax finish. Done in less than half the time of the orbital sander, with better result, and less arm crippling repetition and vibration!.
 I posted these images last night, and finished out the rest of the stones today. 48 stones. and of course found a better disk to cut the edge so it won’t have the white crushmarks you can see on most of the stones- but I’ll wait to fix that when I’m fiberglassing the hanging pin to the back- that job is going to wait so that I can store them flat for a bit longer.
Tomorrow I meet with the mason out at his job-site and we cut 1500lbs of salt block down to 250lbs of plate. Then I bring it all back to the studio and begin the next round of fiberglassing and fiddling about.

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Yard work was supposed to give way to a bike ride in the afternoon, but the fish told Elizabeth that it was time to open the pond. We started by transplanting/splitting plants into a slew of black buckets we picked up at All-A-Dollar. The shop-vac earned it’s wet-dry keep and sucked all the winter detritus out, while E scrubbed the sides, and I scrubbed too with the scrubby attachment. I caught all the fish and moved them up to the middle pond and E climbed into the empty bottom pond and scrubbed it down to black. All the new and established plants around the yard got double and triple shots of pond water- yum!
At E’s prodding I put in the new pump that I had picked up last fall (the old pump died the day before we left for our Europe trip), and our small pump that kept things flowing through the winter is now powering up a water bubble.
We went shopping for a deal on a Shubunikin or two, none were on sale, but our trusty pet store once again had one in with the feeder Goldfish for .37cents. The guy at the register recognized the Shubunikin in with the regular fish, and made sure we weren’t using them for “feeder fish”- but kept to the .37cent price.
The fish in the middle pond have been hopping into the waterfall to the bottom pond- the bigger pump makes a fuller current and they swim on down.
It was a long day that almost killed me, and left me woozy through the next morning; but the whole thing is holding together and I hope the non-stop pond dramas of last year are behind me.

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This was last Thursday’s project. To do the cuts right, I need a 20″ blade. Only big outfits and professional Masons have saws that big- and none of them would let me hire them. Rentals only go up to a 16″ blade. Buying the 20″ blade machine starts at $2,500 and the blade is around $300.
For the prototype of the previous entry I rented the small unit, made two cuts for each plate, then fiberglassed a side for strength and ground down the other side til the double cut mark was smoothed away. The plates were still not true, convex/concave bcs of the irregular cutting.
Thursday’s cuts created about half of the plates I will need, and this half will take a week of prep work to make them usable.
I asked Elizabeth to post on the City’s employee web to see if anyone knew anyone with a 20″ blade. On Monday, all of these bad cuts were obsolete- the City grapevine came through. I ordered the full 1,500lbs of salt block that day and plan to spend this Saturday (4/24) getting the cuts done right with a friendly Mason. And even better, we won’t be doing it at my studio- it makes an amazing amount of salt dust that coats everything, not to mention the noise of a big saw cutting through block.

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Way back in a big planning meeting for the Mobile it was determined that I should have it ready to hang by September. A few months go by, and I’m pushing through the Quail as quickly as they’ll go. I decide to leave off sculpting the 3 chicks and focus on the big Buck & Hen on skates. This works out well enough- I go to another meeting for the Mobile and they have moved the install date to June! We go back and forth a bit, and we come down to the hanging hook done by early June. The next week (late March) I get a call- can I have the hook done in two weeks? Jeez. Really? So I get it done. And now it has sat in the studio for two weeks, as they aren’t ready to install it. I almost got to deliver it to the site yesterday- but no go. So let’s keep looking for it in the shop and see if we can spot when it disappears!

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