Friday, May 27, 2011

Commission Work and More Shows

Schools out for the summer finally! Although I still do teach ceramic sculpture starting next week, that studio class will not affect the metal studio where I am working right now. I have tons of undisturbed space to use and don't have to clean everything up every night.

James relaxing on the just-sanded Alligator Bench for Martha Ferris.
First, I needed to get the Alligator Bench sanded with it's final finish for Martha. It's still not ready for installation as we are waiting for the mosaic to arrive in mid- June. Once that is here I can put it in place and then finish off the top edge. It will probably go to Jackson before it is completely installed with the mosaic glued in place. Doing the final sanding of the bench was fun. James and I worked together on this and it took us a few days to sand it and also do a few spot welds in some places that needed it. I also installed the bottom cross pieces, requested by Madge later on to help with installation. Now it is set off to the side awaiting the mosaic piece and now I can begin work on the Garden Boats.

The Garden Boats are going well. Being back in the studio is very exciting and energizing. I am just at the beginning and working out my techniques for bending, welding and finishing the joints. Stainless is such a different material, so ridged and much stronger than mild steel. When you grind or sand on it with a flap disc it comes off in tiny slivers. Not nice on the skin and very itchy if you are not wearing sleeves. Being so hot in the shop (it's been up over 92F a few times) it's hard to put on sleeves but it's totally worth it. Another thing about stainless is that since it will get no finish later I need to sand every piece now before I weld it into place. Because I have some small parts and some complicated curves I have places that I can not get into with a grinder or sander later, so it all has to get sanded prior to welding. I also have to finish each joint as I go along. It's not something I am used to doing and initially it got in the way of my flow when working but I am adjusting well to the new material and even find I like stainless as I appreciate the hardness. There is more resistance when grinding and sanding and that makes gouging the metal accidentally less of an issue. I can sometimes have a heavy hand when grinding.
The hot shop and modeling my new welding sleeves

I am working on the bearing issues as well. Have a few samples coming and have a good design for how they integrate in the piece. Some bearings can be wildly expensive and others relatively cheap. I have been doing research on this and making some models with parts from the farm store for weeks now but I want to get this part figured out. There are many different bearings that will work for the project but none so far that satisfy my aesthetic for the piece. There are literally thousands of types of bearings and I have been consulting with the tech people at a few of the suppliers and I must say they have been very informative and helpful. One place I must mention is Impact Bearing, their sales manager Scott Barton was extremely helpful. They have so may kinds of bearings it's almost mind numbing, it was great to be able to get someone on the phone who was knowledgeable and easy to talk to. I await a sample piece from them and we'll see if it works.
A Garden Boat, basic structure going well

Templates for the fins to be cut out of 11ga SS sheet

Stainless ready to be made into Garden Boat sculptues

On a side note, The show in Florida at the Ormond Memorial Art Museum is going well and in a few weeks I make the long trek back to collect the work. The Maine show, The Art of the Boat at the Penobscot Maine Museum is up and my heavy ceramic vessel made it fine with out any breakage! Phew! Also, I just received a wonderful letter with an invitation for a show in Idaho in early 2012, of course I accepted and will post more information about that later. Soon I will also begin work on another Train Depo show here in Hattiesburg. The first exhibition, shown last year, was hugely successful and the curators decided to do it again and I am invited to make another work. In addition, I also am working on a top-secret project. We'll see if it materializes or not, if it does you'll get more information later!

No comments:

Post a Comment