Mammoth task

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Preparing the Foundations

Photo1Once all the preparations had been made, the carving process could begin. The piece was created in two halves, preventing damages and enabling the incorporation of metal work to stabilise the sculpture. To ensure the proportions were accurate, I created a basic outline of the shape before returning to finish by hand the depth and curvature.

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When the shape was finalised, the holes were sculpted and the work finely sanded. I completed the foundation by applying a polyurethane hardener, preparing it for outside display and adding a final matt white coating.

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Location, Location, Location

Last month, I had the pleasure of visiting Broomhill and experiencing the sculpture park for the first time. Broomhill has a beautiful setting, made vibrant with works by Artists such as Sandy Brown and Roland A. Westerhuis both in the grounds and displayed within the Gallery. My visit allowed me to consider the colour variation in the landscape and the materials that would work best within the environment.

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3D Render of the Maquette

Once back in my studio, I created a 3D render of the maquette to replicate the sculpture on a larger scale. A projection of the model onto a polyurethane block whilst carving, allowed me to work through the varied aspects of the structure. Using imagery taken at the location, the sculpture was superimposed into landscape and final adjustments were made. Colour variations were considered and altered until deciding on a matt white to juxtapose the environment.

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3D Model in Broomhill Location

Visiting the site and choosing a pink

I visited the site last month to see and select a location for the piece. My work is very site specific, for scale, wind and how it will interact with its surroundings.

I brought three samples of pink ripstop nylon,  they were all really similar in colour but also different weights so holding it up to see which catches and has the best movement was important. The colour really cuts into the green surroundings.

The location Rinus and I discussed was really interesting, next to the river with a glove either side. The gloves will begin to also interact with the river creating and mimicking its movements but also react to the sounds it creates.

CAD overload

With the design down, the next job is to translate each piece into AutoCad – a piece of drawing software that will allow the precise measurements of the sculpture to be passed onto the laser cutter to create a series of perfect geometrical shapes out of metal.

It’s a process which is both incredibly simple and also frustratingly complicated at the same time. As any errors in build need to be ironed out now…. it’s much easier to edit a drawing than it is drill a new hole in 4mm thick metal.

Each virtual piece is laid on top of the other and then I mark the position of the holes. It’s through these holes that I can run a length of threaded bar to bind the whole sculpture together and make it stable.

The other benefit of drawing on the computer is I can use 3D software to test how the sculpture will look and ensure everything is lined up appropriately.

I’ve also been able to work out where the pins that hold it into the ground will go (hence the slightly strange hooped feet on the above image- these will be embedded into the ground).So with the drawings secure it’s time to click send and wait 10 days or so for the parts… that’s when the real fun begins!