Monday, January 31, 2011

Commission Awarded

Yay! I was officially awarded the commission at the new Mississippi Museum of Art, Art Garden. I love the idea of being one of the inaugural works in the space.

My nine Garden Boats will be dispersed throughout the water garden part of the park and will be from 2' to 6' long and from 8 feet to 12 feet high on poles. They will have bearings so they can turn in the wind. They will be made from stainless steal with a bright finish.

All nine will remain for a year or two temporary exhibition and then three will remain for the permanent collection. I am very excited but also know I have a ton of work to do in order to get them done for the beginning of June.

Below is a computer rendering of the works, not they will look exactly like this, this was done mainly for understanding scale within the sight. Right now I am learning some real 3D rendering programs in order to be able to fully render the works in a 3D environment for future jobs and competitions.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Grinding, Grinding, Grinding...

Grinding and sanding. That's pretty much all we did yesterday. A few re-welds and more grinding. Will take a break for a few days while some finishing supplies are ordered. Then some sample finishes will go up to the artist. Once that is settled we will have a bunch more to do with finishing. But for now a break and shop cleanup to get ready for the semester.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Another Day

Today we worked mostly on getting the ribbon of skin on the outside of the bench. This was tough work and required a lot of tedious welding and cutting of shapes out of the stainless (Got to love the cut-off wheel!). With the skin on we now have a ton of grinding and finishing work to do. I called the artist, Martha Ferris, to see if we could find out if we could get an ETA on when the mosaic will be delivered as we really can't finish the job until we have that in hand. The tile manufacturer sent drawings that specified a 1/8" lip over the top of the tile (the tile and backing board already take up over an inch of space its self), to me that is a pretty sharp edge of metal that would be sticking up into the back of your leg, so we want to get the edge right to the perfect height but need the actual mosaic to do it. In the mean time we can get lots of finishing done and surface treatment started.Right now we are putting in some long hours and working on weekends as we want to get the bulk of this done before the students get back into the studio next week, that's when life gets really crazy! (But in a good way.)

For more of the process go to my Home Page or click the "Home" button below.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monday's Progress

Today we did some additional welding on the structure for support and added a side 'ribbon'. I was relieved that the 'bench' felt strong and knew that this would help us in attaching the 15" of 16 gauge stainless that acted like a ribbon encircling the entire 29 feet of the alligator. But first we had to weld together two of the 10' long sections for the long, nearly 13' outside curve on one side. Stainless is a bitch (yes, I said it again) and warps like crazy when you weld, cut or even grind on it. So, you have to work slow and give it lots of time, never over-working any one area at a time. James did the painstaking tack welding along the 15" seam, until the whole thing was welded and then of course it needed to be ground out so we could put it through the roller to give the steal a bit of a curve to it. After all of that we then started to weld the side to the bench frame. This was hard and two of us had to work in unison to get it done. Part of the curve has a pretty tight radius and it was work to force the steel to go where it did not want to in order for us to weld it. James is a great welder (I am notorious for putting holes in sheet metal) and he is patient and easy to work with. Together we got it done and done well. It went together fairly easy and all our planning worked to our advantage. Now even with just one side attached to it the bench feels strong and stable. After a bit of extra tack welding we called it a day.

For more of the process go to my home page, or click on the "home" button below.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

More Progress...

James and I continued work on the "alligator bench" on Saturday. Grinding and preparing top and bottom panels, building the jig for welding, building another jig for cutting uprights,and welding top and bottom together. Next week we do cross bracing and more supports and then start to weld on the side panels. I am pretty sure we have done the easy stuff. Stainless steel is a bitch. I'll be happy when we are finished.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

UPdate, 2011

So it's been a busy year so far. Holiday madness is finally over. I was up in DE, NJ and NYC visiting friends and family for nearly two weeks, I do this every year. I love to travel, but sometimes feel as if I am away from home and studio for too long and then have to work hard to recapture my creative mojo, so-to-speak. This year not so much. I ordered stainless a few days before Christmas and when I got back it was waiting for me. Right now I am working on a fabrication project for artist Martha Ferris who is also doing a project for the Mississippi Museum of Art garden project. She designed a bench with a mosaic on it. I am building the bench in the rough outline of an alligator (though without legs) out of stainless steel. Someone else is doing the mosaic and I will install that later.

I am a great planner and can get just about anything organized, but I knew I would need help with building so I hired my good friend James Davis to work on the project with me. I also want to get the job done fast as I have a couple of other projects waiting in the wings that I need to start. So far things are going well and I am learning a ton of stuff from James. We have two full days of work in and now have a good plan for the final construction. It's hard for me some times when building new things, you can make a lot of plans for how you think you are going to build something but eventually that changes as you work out problems. I like to have everything figured out beforehand, and that just doesn't work in art making.

James working on cutting some stainless steel for the aligator bench.

As far as my own commission for the Museum goes right now I am working on the new location in the garden. I did a bunch of drawing and plans that were sent out just before the holidays and will soon probably have to do a model of something similar to what I presented earlier for the original location. Right now I want to get the alligator bench done and then my mind can be free to work on the Garden Boats.