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Monthly Archives: March 2017

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Found this hand-made wraught-iron at our local salvage yard (George’s); too small for the window, but too nice to pass up. After a bit of head scratching and measuring, and looking through my dwindling metal scrap, I came up with a solution.

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During the summer I leave the window open and mount a fan in the ceiling access panel to draw cool air in and push the heat out. This takes the worry out of having the window open out there. 

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Sturdy enough for pull-ups!

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My metal cutting blades are all dull, so cutting the steel was loud and took some grinding. Predrilling holes for bolts, then welding it all together. Then a fresh coat of paint. Then mounting it. An afternoon of man-craft.

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The full moon three weeks ago blew in with a hot dry wind, evaporating winter overnight. Nighttime lows have been average daytime highs, with daytime highs 20-30 over, setting many dire records: like 8 days in a row over 70 (prior record was 2 days).

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Our ancient twisty tree flowers early.

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Tulips and hyacinths are in full colors.

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!

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Rain finally in the forecast, so I worked Lucky’s patch with new soil and seed.

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The rain gauge after 24 hours.

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5.5 inches is 1/3 of our annual rainfall in just 24 hours, and two days later 2 1/4 inches more, and two days after that 2 5/8 inches more. Utah’s annual rain average is 14 inches and SLC is 16 inches. 

Bonneville Trout are schooling again! I ramped the studio into wax production and pulled 6 new trout and delivered them to the foundry for rough-casting. They will eventually swim in the new Wilmington Courtyard in Sugarhouse, connecting the street of Wilmington to the Hidden Hollow riparian nature trail. This was greenlit by Salt Lake City, generously allowing City-owned reproduction rights to a private company to fulfill their public art requirement for new construction. It was a great example of public/private coordination to expand public art.

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Wax production area is go!

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Every bit of wax in the studio goes into the melting pot.

All six fish combined will require at least 40# of wax. Wax costs five times more than when last I ordered, as the manufacturer no longer sells directly (which adds a 50 mile drive just for wax). This set me to gather every broken bit of old sculptures and test-wax forms and in my hunting I discovered twenty-five pounds of wax slab & pouring foundations from creating Orpheus & Eurydice back in 2002. With everything going into the pot I just just just managed to form all 6 fish.

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Building up 8 layers of wax with 1″ chip-brush. Delerium monotaneity ensues.

Christmas Elves sent me gift cards for more power tools and one of them turned out to be the best wax cutting tool ever. It trembles at 26,000 vibrations per minute, and it moves through wax like a cold laser- no more molten wax drips burning a path across the sculpture or over my hands and clothes, no more jamming hot sharp steel into myself for hours on end. Just a few minutes of hornets-nest buzzing and both sides are smooth-seamed and ready to join.

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Curve and recurve sides are created separately then joined- this allows all fish to individually swim.

The halo of wax around the fish keeps the form tight to the mold so it doesn’t shrink and curl. It is that halo that the new tool removes so well. As the side of the mold that forms the outside curve cannot account for the amount of curve variance, I also have to bisect that fish half and shoe-horn in a custom section to take up the gap. In other words, I cut the head off just ahead of the dorsal fin and surgically insert a graft of new fish. This surgery is much easier with the new tool, and the fish hardly even feels it.

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Sides joined, seamed, and set to chill in the shop.

It could be argued that each fish is an original sculpture, rather than an identical version pulled from a common mold. The fish on the floor displays the surgical graft to the midsection, and thumb clamps helping hold the form in place as the hot seams cool.

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Orpheus’ severed head absolved to the abyss.

He guarded his secret cache of wax for 15 years, but his cache and himself went the way of his mythic being, and shared the tragic fate of his public art twin.