Installation day started off raining and chilly, just how the fish like it. With two handy fellows helping (Jed, who helped install the last group, and Mike) things got started at 8am and finished by 3pm with time off for lunch at one of the restaurants on the plaza. A solid day of digging and lifting heavy things, but all are in the ground and everyone is happy.
This tarantula will go to the Mother Goose playground. This is the second patina, after using the first for practice and experimenting. The black and green is much snappier, and I burned off some micro wire-wheels getting enough metal exposed for the black to react over the green. When I replace the micro-heads I will probably re-work the practice spider to match this one.
The storm arrived early and the heat dropped into the 90s, so I headed back out to the tarantulas. With this color session taken care of, next comes highlighting and toning, then a series of sealants.
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.
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.
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.
The spider with bigger shoes and backpack was approved by the patron, so on to the industrial processes. Prior to molding, it is often necessary to dismember a sculpture. I pulled all the legs off as well as the backpack. This way the spider body will separate in a simple 2 part mold, as will both sets of legs.
The Itsy Bitsy Spider is geared up for his waterspout ascent.
I have a little commission to create the “Itsy bitsy spider” for a children’s playground at a private school in Kansas. The spider is about 3x life-size, and next will be outfitted in rock climbing gear. Tarantulas are delicate spiders, and can’t take a fall or it breaks them like an egg- so precautions are necessary.