Jordan and I have been constructing the sub frame today. Lots of pieces of angle iron welded together. The whole thing looking like a crazy spiders web of steel. The look however is of less importance than its strength as it will lie underground. We have been cleaning all the steel as we go so that once welded it can go to the galvanisers without too much rust. Even galvanised steel will rust if there is rust underneath. Jordan and I also managed to glue some more parts of windows together. They look so great with the glass in. The barn will be wonderfully light once they are installed.
Thursday 25 April 2013
I had fun today cutting little wedges out of a length of angle iron. This is just the beginning of a sizable structure made of steel which will lie underground in order to hold the sculpture upright. I then welded the sides of the wedges together again once I had bent the steel to close the gap in the wedge. The shape of the steel has a curve in order to lie underneath the stainless rods. I then drilled holes to allow the stainless rods to poke through. At the close of play I was trying to file away the edges of some of my drill holes that were not quite in the right place: most annoying, and I fear I shall be filing for several hours tomorrow. Meanwhile Jordan has been constructing the barn windows. The oak lengths needs planing and jointing together in order to receive the double glazed units. I somehow managed to order too few pieces of oak and we will have to wait whilst the timber yard cuts me some more.
Tuesday 23 April 2013
Good progress today on the large marble sculpture. All the rods are glued into place. The resin glue is very stiff as I bought industrial quantities of it and it has gently stiffened over time. The glue is poked down the hole with a piece of wood and the stainless rod inserted. The trouble is that the air inside has to leave and force its way past the rod through the very viscose glue. Each rod needed to protrude 167mm so as to be level with each other. After much pushing out of reluctant bubbles, Jordan and I got them all more or less in line. There might be one that protrudes a couple of millimetres too far which will need cutting back with a grinder. Todays picture is of the green onyx sculpture which is undergoing the same procedure. Rather more awkward than the marble as there are no straight lines at all and the sculpture will be taller at one end than the other. As a result there will be more rod exposed at one end than the other. The bits of wood seen are to help me guess at getting the rods glued in the right place. I am a bit nervous as there is no way back. The rods once in, cannot be removed.
Monday 22 April 2013
I have spent the day preparing the rods for gluing into place. The rods have been cut and welded into their correct angles and are now ready to be attached. This must be prepared carefully as a rod glued into the wrong place would be disastrous as it could not be removed. As can be seen in the picture, some of the rods are ‘bent’ outside the marble and some inside. This is me cheating a little by trying to get the outer rods higher than they otherwise would be. The inner rods are conversely a little lower. The curve described by the rods will as a result be a little exaggerated making the whole sculpture more stable.Hampering proceedings however was the mizzle that swept in all day making everything wet. I put my spotlight near the holes but still had trouble getting them dry. Perhaps tomorrow will be dryer. Jordan meanwhile has been cutting channels in oak for the window frames of the new barn. He has not done much woodwork before but green oak is a good place to start as it is soft and like cutting hard cheddar. The smell is even better than cheddar.
Saturday 20 April 2013
I am just back from installing the torso in her new home. All went well and we managed to move the carving and base into position without damaging either. The steel base is actually more vulnerable than the sculpture itself. the slightest knock with the gantry hook or even the chain is enough to chip the paint. A little chip exposes the bare metal and then rust will begin. It is always a relief to install a carving without any damage! Even better when the client is pleased. I am however exhausted after the long drive.
Wednesday 17 April 2013
I spent part of today tidying a torso ready for delivery to a client near Cambridge. This is the largest torso I have ever attempted. Those who know my work well will know that it is a subject of endless fascination for me. I have carved torsos throughout my career and will often start with a torso after a spell of not working. I see it like a three dimensional jigsaw. The volumes must all work in relation to each other. This is difficult; very difficult and I have never felt like I have got even close to doing it well. Perhaps this is why I return to it again and again. The Greek carvers of old were the masters of course, they constructed their jigsaws with extraordinary balance. I shall keep trying. The torsos do not really represent the main body of my work but I enjoy them none the less.
Jordan meanwhile made great progress on concreting the barn floor. The blue tarp is protecting the wet cement from the rain which never quite arrived.
Friday 12 April 2013
I have finished drilling out the holes to receive the stainless rods. I managed to get them all pretty much in the right direction. Plenty of water is needed whilst drilling to keep the core drill cool. You can see the hose falling directly on the turning drill. Jordan meanwhile has been working all day with the wet and dry sandpaper smoothing out irregularities in an onyx sculpture. I am getting together the various sculptures that will be exhibited at On Form in London. Not only must the sculptures be as completed as we can make them, but they all need plinths too.
Wednesday 10 April 2013
Today I started drilling holes in the large dish carving. There are to be ten of them that will hold the sculpture in its eventual upright position. I am trying to drill the holes in which the stainless steel rods will fit, only a few millimetre's larger than the rods themselves in order to preserve the structural integrity of the marble. I worry a little about the rods at either end as the marble is much thinner there and as a result much more vulnerable to breaking. When you consider however that the sculpture will be supported by ten rods all working in unison, my fears diminish. With such small difference between the rod width and the hole width however, I have to be very careful to drill in exactly the right direction.
Rain fell today after several weeks of dry easterly winds. The farmers are beginning to let out the cows who are dirty and look happy to be out of their winter sheds but will nibble around for anything to eat as the grass has not started to grow yet.
Tuesday 9 April 2013
Pooch and I cleared the debris aside to photograph this piece for the onform London exhibition which is happening later in the spring. This onyx is so beautiful when you achieve a good finish but requires great effort to get there. The stone is crammed full of faults and cracks and will chip at any opportunity. Any cutting that gets the stone hot will result in it scorching and cracking.Still such outlandish beauty could never come easily I suppose.Simple forms would seem to work best with this kind of outrageously gorgeous stone, otherwise it fells like ‘painting the lily’. When I see Pooch’s incredible picture however I forget all the anguish; well almost.
Monday 1 April 2013
“Why does it matter dad, no one else will notice that there is a little bump”? Actually I am far from a perfectionist but paying attention to detail is something that I have been working on. I know that if I let the sculpture go out into the world with that little bump then it will catch my eye whenever I see it.Worse; it is the only thing that will catch my eye. Perhaps this all has nothing to do with perfectionism but is just about me trying to live an easy life and to sleep well at night. So now I am at that point where I am ironing out those little problems. For instance you can see in the picture that there is a slight kink in the edge by the post. This is the result of having to work with that steel in the way. This piece needs to look like a section of bubble billowing in the landscape. Bubbles do not have kinks!