Archive

Bronze

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.

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Sequential Casting of Peter, long unfinished with an arm lost during casting- gets a new arm!

Marble arm prosthetic for the bronze figure. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but he says it feels almost normal. He is contemplating whether he wants a Marble foot as well.

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The new arm is cast in Marble. 

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The marble to bronze fitting took quite a bit of fussing. A casting window on the ball is filled with Marble as well.

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Part of both hands and a section of the ball were also seamed in place.

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A casting window on the calf gets a Marble plug.

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The shined bronze is from fitting the stone; another process mark.

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Meanwhile; Spring.

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Tulips at the edge of Iris.

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Tarantulas compare their etching layer. Color is next.

When last we saw the spiders they were just a jumble of separated bodies, metal legs, packs, and “window” cuts. Then my hand and leg were stung by hornets and just for something new, my hand and ankle swelled up like balloons over the course of the next few days, then slowly deflated over a few more days. It took a bit longer before I could chase metal with a pneumatic grinder. The welding went easily, and the chasing as well. Drilling and tapping three feet on each spider led to chasing out a bigger hole on a front foot to insert a nut for welding into the foot to ensure the anchor point- it is these kinds of little tweaks that eat up time. As I moved on to setting up for sandblasting and suited up- the day was jumping out of the 80’s, and by the time the spiders emerged in brushed gold from the tent it was in the mid 90’s. By the time they were coated in their etching chemicals, heated, and rubbed back with steel wool it was 97, and now everything is put up for the day and it is over 100. The real patina work needs to be done at a thinking temperature, and tomorrow’s high should be 30 degrees cooler as a storm front is moving in.

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Sandblasted and ready for etching layer of patina.

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Raise a leg if you are ready practice your climbing knots.

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Sandblasted clean, the spiders do a happy dance before patina begins.

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Tarantulas need safety gear and tight planning before heading up a wall or water spout.

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Best to let a buddy double check the harness.

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Tarantula tummy rubs…

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Tarantula rough-cast in bronze with sprew-bar ends needing ground off and re-surfaced.

The little beastie was through rough-cast yesterday- just when I got on the highway there was the remains of an accident in oncoming traffic on the highway backing up all lanes for more than 6 miles. On the return trip it had cleared up, except for a 6-car accident where traffic hadn’t quite come to a stop at the far reach of the earlier stoppage. They raised the speed limit to 70mph at the beginning of the summer, so accidents are worse, and beget more accidents. The spiders legs weren’t knocked off in an accident, as we made it through with no problems- they were cut off by Samwise Gamgee & Sting back in July when the spider was still in clay. Since then I created the mold, pulled the wax, and dropped it down to the foundry before we headed to MT.

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Tarantula parts are all ground out and ready for welding.

Metal chase is as far as we go today, as the day heated up quick this morning- and my hand went a bit numb using the pneumatic tools. Next up is repositioning the legs, tack welding it, checking for gesture / character, then welding it up and chasing out the welds.

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The knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone, and etc.