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sculpture

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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The resin casting came out pretty well. I blended marble powder at nearly 1:1 with the resin, making these figures poly-marble. I have yet to clean them up; the heat from the resin kicking off in the mold found and bound every bit of clay that hadn’t been scrubbed from the silicon mold, and there is some chasing necessary as there are some areas that picked up air bubbles and etc- but nary a seam line anywhere. At some point I’ll switch up my media and do a set in cold-cast bronze. Now I wish I’d taken these little sketches just a bit further along and resolved some the proportional gaffes / refinement of features /  extension of gesture.  So I may remake them, to push them further toward Rodin’s use of torsion and collapsing v enervation.

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the underside of her forearm didn’t cast- probably an air bubble. also- the ball she balances on her shoulder…I’ll give her a glass or a steel marble.

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The tarantula wanted black banding, and chose matching green shoes and pack.

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.

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I almost polished out the shoes, but then decided it would look silly.

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Harness with buckles and polished fangs are all details that will likely never be seen, as the spider will be mounted up on a wall.

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little know factoid: Shelob’s offspring were tamed by the Hobbits and trained with climbing saddles as Sam led a group of Hobbits to relocate at the cliffs of Mordor after the fall of Sauron.

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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.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider is geared up for his waterspout ascent.

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Basic form of backpack, with climbing rope and helmet. The clay gets warm when handled and needs to cool down, so refined details will come later- and some may wait till I have the form in wax.

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Spider without the backpack, and with rock climbing shoes nearly double in size from previously.

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Pack on!

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Ready to head up the waterspout.

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Planning his route…

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Silk rope. Of course, he made it himself.

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Fangs and a furry tummy sure, but how bout that climbing harness? It wraps four legs, and the center loop will secure the climbing rope.

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A view of all four shoes, and his spinnerets- where the rope will emerge and run to the loop on his harness.

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The extended right forward leg will manage the rope while the other limbs anchor to the wall or lift for a new hold.

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The spider will anchor to the wall by five legs and the base of the abdomen.

IMG_0003 IMG_0008The Itsy Bitsy Spider is geared out and looking for a climbing gym.