Giant bronze feet emerge… Rope tricks… and Siberian Reindeer herders….

Ok, after a long summer life kicks in .. we’ve been heavy into casting.. The Colossus has moved onto the next phase.. we now have two feet.. nearly a quarter of a tonne each.. this project is so big we can only take it a step at a time!

Prepare yourself for an epic posting.. only the casting nerds will survive this..

 

Here he is.. moulds beginning at his feet…

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Eva plastering over a heel.

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Tom pulling off rubber cases .. after the plaster cases have been removed..

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Rubbers safely back in the plaster jackets cleaned and ready for wax painting.

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Three layers of coloured wax applied.. trimmed then the sprueing system is attached.. channels through which the bronze will eventually pour..

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fine surface coat of grog and plaster is sprayed on for detail…

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More grog and plaster to create the core.

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pouring cup in the base is where the bronze will eventually enter the mould.. so much of this is thinking 8 stages ahead…

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Eva pulls off the rubber for the ‘reveal’  the wax is lovely.. she will now touch up the casting seams and repair any surface defects.. this new spay on blue rubber is fantastic for detail..

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Craig adds the vents which will take the air out when the bronze goes in..

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Then spends days applying the plaster and grog mould surface.. chain is wrapped on the inner surfaces to mitigate some of the immense pressure the ‘investment’ will be subject to when 250 kg of bronze is poured into it at high velocity..

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Haven’t got a picture of the finished investment, you’ll have to use your imagination…

The investments have been in the kiln for a week, now out, Craig inspects the pouring cups to make sure they are cooked and clean…

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Fred blows air through them to clean out dust and detritus .

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Nuhng is applying plaster and scrim very carefully , to strengthen the ‘investments’.. a lot of work has gone into these we don’t want them to burst…

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Fred and Tom skillfully pour in the bronze.. a whole crucible for one foot.!.the  temperature is around 1070 degrees centigrade

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Crowds gather.. this lot are the ‘Suffolk Art Fund’ visiting for the day….

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Nuhng in the gear…

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The break out starts.. this will take a day!

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Finally we have bronze feet..what a bloody palarva!IMG_0227IMG_0246

the surfaces are great we are very happy…. its the ankles next  two years of casting and we might get there!!  one step at a time eh..

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Elsewhere in the studio

I have finished the final Figure for the Heveningham Hall  Niches.. this is the ‘Artisan’ he stands on a pile of broken mouldings, these are from the hall. The East wing of the Hall burnt down years ago and the restoration project has been ongoing.. this guy represents that work.. he contemplates a ‘Wyatt’ ceiling and dwells upon it and many other things i’m sure..

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The fragments of mouldings, covered in the first layer of blue rubber..

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The Tutu is the mould seam, plastic shim is suspended and kept in place with wire and paper clips.. wonderful solutions to fiddly problems..

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Tom with the new spray gun.. this sprays a fine layer of rubber onto the surface, built up again and again, its comparatively fast and saves a lot of man hours.. It’s technology developed for casting the vast blades of wind turbines.

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Other moulds are being made.. using pink rubber.. what a lovely colourful process this is.. Louis is getting good at this..

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Nuhng is just starting..

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New guy Jamie has previous experience , so is let loose on making moulds for some Christopher LeBrun sculptures we’ve agreed to cast.. large-scale works…

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This is the sculpture Louis is making the mould of.. he’s called ‘EEK!’

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Other sculptures developing at the Fire Station..

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Early days , but I’m enjoying rope and twine… Bought 250 metres from a chandlers.

Fantastic!

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Imagine casting this!!  sorely tempted..

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The fifth Niche figure is now in bronze.. being welded together.. the detail on the base is incredible.. bronze really is amazing stuff!

SIBERIA….

I’m travelling with Anthropologist and writer Piers Vitebsky to a remote region rarely visited.  North Eastern Siberia is the home to the ‘Eveny’ nomadic reindeer herders, a people Piers has been studying for over thirty years.. I am visiting as a guest of the University of Yakutsk. Piers’s great friend Tolya is to be our guide.. we arrive after three days travelling to a place called Tiksi way above the Arctic circle, (next stop the North pole) to a land of permafrost and vast herds of Reindeer, wolves, bears and amazing bird life of the Elena Delta. We will travel for 80 miles on sledges to the herding settlements, and from there reach out into the Taiga to find the herders.. A privilege and a very exciting prospect..

look out for the next blog, for less casting and more herding..

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This is a wonderful book written buy Piers about the Eveny, their way of life and the Shamanism they practice, a practice fading fast.. he has recorded it for posterity!!

His book Living ‘Without the Dead’ about the Indian tribes of Soraland in Orissa, has just been published, its wonderful too, already winning international awards..

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You’ve done well to get through this one, pat yourself on the back.. see you when I get back!!!

 

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