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Studio Art

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The Tree of Furie is grafting a canopy.

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Ascension of the Furies.

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I cast these in aluminum as an aspect of my MFA thesis. They were The Furies then, but now they can go by Handmaids if they like. With the tree falling in the yard, I finally had a reason to break them out of deep storage.

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The remnants of hurricane Rosa will arrive this afternoon, but the morning was perfect for fitting the tree top into the footing, then mounting the figures.

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This is about 10 feet tall.

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The new clay oven, powered by a small resurrected ceramic space heater/blower donated by E’s cold feet at the office.

I built a new oven for plastecine clay. I have hundreds of pounds of medium red (mixed with some hard red) that needs to be warm to be pliable, then cools and firms up. Warming it up with hand friction was how I worked the clay for years, then a friend in engineering gave me a unit he had thrown together to melt hard clay that I used ever since to warm my medium clay (shown at the end of the post). I often forgo using the old problematic heater, and my hands can’t take the abuse of creating friction to warm the clay, so I needed to get creative with a custom design. This oven is a great improvement over my old unit, as it will evenly heat the clay and hold it at a workable temperature, and with a 24 x 24 inch shelf I can load in a lot of clay.

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The drawer gets loaded up with clay and slid closed, the heater sits below out of the way of the drawer. The drawer has an underside gap on each end, so the blower will circulate the air back out the front and not overheat. 

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The steel drawer slides on the narrow wooden rails, and rests on the side rails. The clay will be heavy, so the rails extend out beyond the box and over the footing for the heater. The rest of the wooden structure is inside the box, with feet and rails outside the bottom of the box.

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The foam wall is held in place by a welded steel frame. I have since skinned the expanded steel in a finer mesh of aluminum, and added a a foam bumper to the rear to keep clay from rolling off the back when pulling the drawer out.

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The new and old clay oven. The old oven was thrown together by an engineering student at the U to melt hard clay for building an aerodynamic bicycle shell- he gave me his clay and the box back in 2000. I added the wood frame around it and a “window” to see if the heat lamp was on or off. 

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This has warmed up hundreds and hundreds of lbs of clay, and helped warm students’ clay for my figure sculpture classes up at the U. 

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The heat lamp ensures that the clay is either cold or molten, sometimes both; the top of the clay goes to an untouchable blistering sweat while the bottom of the same piece is still hard and cold. This meant a lot of babysitting the clay, and occasional fully liquified trays of clay.  

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Weld and Chase complete.

The Ibis is now ready for the watergate. I thought I had a solution in the works with a professional watergate manufacturer wanting to make the gate aspect, but it looks like it will be up to me. That idea cost me a month waiting for a bid, but luckily this project isn’t due ’til April.

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Thinking about how nice it will be to have a watergate body one day.

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Legs can’t really think for themselves, or contemplate the future.

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Broze Ibis & Proto-Ibis

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The Watergate Scandal: A local manufacturer specializing in water gates said they loved the idea and would be able to create the watergate cheaply out of spare bits since it won’t have to hold water. They were surprised when I asked for a bid, as they just wanted to get started.  A month later their bid: $3,400 and asking for a go-ahead to get started on their 2.5 month process. Nutz. Next week begins a return to plan “A” of buying a brand name gate for $860 and adding some DangerHart mods. 

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Lantana at full power.

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Lantana anchors the porch and brings in Hummingbirds.

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Can almost see these in Hummingbird ultraviolet sight.

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Fall Asters holding on to purple, as the huge hummingbird bush flares out.

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Deep field Hubble view.

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30 quail in the yard; 2 of ’em on the roof with some of the zillions of LBJ’s below.

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Nora’s safe space from the cats. They are everywhere and nowhere, ready to pounce!

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Garage Sale Kennedy Rocker; 6 hours of refinishing later.

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Her cane backing and seat had rotted away, so “before” was $10 at a yard sale.

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Oak comes back to life with persistence.

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Next I order in 3 hanks of Binder Cane and a how-to manual for Porch Weave.

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$5, same yard sale. This one lived inside so just needed gorilla glue and light refinishing.

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Perfect Elizabeth-sized chair. And with a steam-bent back!

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$7, same yard sale. She was so loosey goosey that she nearly didn’t make it out of their yard intact, as a large old fella tried her out and she nearly folded.

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Three warped little boards running parallel tried to capture all the seat runners, failing at that while providing no structural support. They came off and it got the Danger treatment.Multiple old fellers could rest easy. Walt, your long rail clamps helped pull her in tight for her triage.

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I shifted her from ruddy black to Mountain Blue, for porch-sittin’ in Montana on Bluebird patrol.

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Also, I created silicon mother molds with plaster backing molds of the Ibis. Tomorrow I take them to the foundry for wax pour, then I’ll bring them back to chase out the wax.

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Wax gets slurried in down the hole, rolled around and poured back out. This is done layer on layer until at a uniform thickness of about 1/8 inch. It takes about 2 hours, as there is a lot of waiting for the wax to cool.

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Broad Canyon Fire. 24″x48″  Acrylic

This image is way off, yet it links to facebook with all the colors correct and it is correct in the blog upload library. All other versions I’ve brought into the library are similarly off when selected for display. For one, the sun should be glowing crimson; and everything else you can guess is way off from there. Second- blurry / vaseline smeared. Hardly worth putting it up.

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Bluebirding Storm on easel.

On a late afternoon bluebird house expedition (house is just left of center) this storm brewed up over the mountains and shot out a large arm reaching over the ranch to blot out the sun. Rain misted the air under the vast arm turning the sky beneath it a brilliant gold, while a premature twilight of the cloud’s shadow swept the landscape. The breeze fell away and the stillness was broken by the booming of thunder resonating from beyond the horizon.

It was a landscape that challenged me to paint the mood of it, and after spinning in pre-art miasma for a few weeks I finally toughened up and got to painting. The painting is in acrylic and 12″x48″, a new format for my work as my new camera has a panoramic feature. This brings a whole new challenge, as the light changes dramatically across the expanse.

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Bluebirding Storm