New KIln, built by Tom Crompton, first firing, its like closing a cathedral door.. four days later the moulds are fired and we are ready to pour bronze. The first one in the new foundry.. very nervy!
Delicate as ostrich eggs, they look geological.
We have to strap them with plaster and skrim
The crane’s the thing…blowing out a mould …lifting 150 Kg of hot metal..
Inside this mould is the shoulder section of the next life size ‘Catcher’.
Here’s how it was made.
The sculpture is made of wax, organic material has also been dipped in wax to create the textures. Its strong enough to cut up.
Freddy made a box out of old shelves joined with plaster, suspended the wax section in it and then poured a grog and plaster mix in .
This is the finished investment being prepared for loading in the kiln.
Here’s whats left.
It doesn’t stop there, here are the remaining sections to be invested ready for the next pour. This sculpture is going to the new Messum’s space in Wiltshire, a giant medievil thatched barn , converted into an amazing space. Show Opens on the 4th of December.
The Barn will be called ‘ Messum’s Wiltshire’ its in Tisbury.
This is the first ‘Catcher’ during finishing earlier in the summer, you can see where all the joins are , they are the shiney bits.
It was cast in 27 pieces, the new one will be cast in 6 main sections and 2 or 3 frilly bits, saving a considerable amount of labour, truer to the original.
This one went to a sculpture park in ‘Wesenburg’ east of Berlin.
This is the other method we use to invest. This is the first time we’ve been able to cast ‘The Crouching Man’ in one piece, minus a hand. We hand built this one, a more complicated and time consuming method, but one I prefer, its more tactile, hands on, and delivers a subtler casting (I think), its impossible to work on complicated organic pieces like this.
Wax with hole cut to allow for the cleaning out of the inside when in bronze, and also to allow an exit for mould gases during the pouring.
The grog and plaster mix is applied in stages and built up over a day.
It needs to be turned the other way round…again we couldn’t work on this scale without the new crane..
Pouring cup is added to the runner system, this is what the bronze will eventually be poured into..
The pressure of the bronze will be immence, so we reinforce the mould with wire and chains.
It probably weighs nearly 250 kg in the end..
Here he is in bronze.
Other sculptures waiting to be finished.
Back at the Fire Station studio, i’m tentativley developing ideas, whilst we cast all the orders from the show in the summer, they’ll probably end up on the cutting room floor, rope and string seem to feature…
Work in progress at Halesworth
A cage is constructed around the head so that I can turn it upside down to fix on the figures legs.. its all very confiusing .
This figure wil now be worked on , and become the second ‘Borrowed Breath’
This is an armature for a new figure, which will I hope be over life size. He will be the basis of a number of new sculptures.
I need to keep my eye on the job, I need him to be simple, I don’t want ot get distracted and get carried away with new thoughts during the making of him, it will reduce my options later on. I have to tell myself there will be plenty of time to enjoy the clay process later.
Here’stwo of the sculptures that inspired me as a student, ‘Storm Man’, and ‘Storm Woman’ by Germaine Richier. I thought to look her up again, and was delighted to still find these figures amazing. I find more and more that my teenage self surfacing, you can never rid yourself entirely, however much you try..
Here is Richier working from her favourite model ‘Antoine Nardon’, in Paris , in 1954.
I love the lines drawn on him.
I always think what a sacrifice it is to model for someone, I don’t , as a rule, work from ther model. I use medical books, photographs and a wall of haphazard mirrors. For some reason I find the model restrictng. I’m always amazed by artists such as Germaine who can depart from the model whilst in their presence. It was the honestly and frankness of her figures that got me 30 years ago, and looking back it seems to me that I’ve been trying to get there ever since.
I saw ‘Flesh’ a new show just opened in the York Art Gallery, examining all things fleshy, no surprise there. It is a jem of a show, with great works from Kossoff Chardin, Bruyckere, and Stezaker to name but a few. My favourite piece was this below, The Dead Christ with the Virgin and St John, the San Lucchese alterpiece 1340-50. Infact looking at the christ figure in contrast to the Richiers is interesting. I love the tenderness in the hands.
There was a lovely suite of 8 Tosa water colours (18th Century), charting the demise of a noble lady, from sitting in all her finery to a stain on the ground, here she is in mid decomposition.
In Durham Cathedral I fell for ‘the Neville Tomb’. The alabaster had been abused to such an extent that it had almost become a natural object. Again this is something I’ve always tried to do.. I love the centuries of graffitti,(as one so often does), this though had become integral, I wonder how one could effect this type of surface with such a short time on the planet. This is one of the very frustrating things about being mortal.
My friend John Christie has just published ,’Lapwing and Fox’ which comprises of his correspondance with John Berger now 90! over the last 6 or so years. Its a follow up to their previous conversationsthe acclaimed ‘I send you this Cadmium Red’ John describes his experiences in The Sainsbury Centre Collection in Norfolk, taking us through Giacometti, Aurbach, Modigliani, with wonderful perceptive and personal insights. John Berger tenderly responds and reveals relationships with Zadkine, and Pru Clough to name a few.
Its so nice to read honest thoughts on subjects and artists that I’d long stopped looking at properly. It was good to be reminded that there is always more to see, I will remember this when i’m next tempted to rush through a gallery to get to the next thing…
Here’s the link:
Talking of the next thing….Here are a couple of paragraphs from the Dutch Curator Chares Esche, describing his view of the current cultural landscape. Apologies for presentation, i’d stuck it into my note book before realising I’d put it on here.
Pheew.. make it whilst you can..
Thats all folks.
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