Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Finishing More Sabbatical Work

It is Christmas, so I am obviously not working in my studio today, but I did finish up (or nearly finish) some work at the end of last week that I haven't posted. The piece I was most worried about is an asymmetrical piece that I was never able to balance when it was wet. I built it in sections, like everything else, but because the top pieces were so long and narrow, I held them up with foam to get the angles right, then let them dry laying down. 

early sketch for asymmetrical piece

When I glazed these pieces, they were also laying down on stilts so they didn't have a dry spot on one side.
glazed and fired pieces without bike parts

I put together the bottom and top parts with their bike parts separately. The base has a section behind with chain pieces hanging out. I bought a tool to separate the chain into smaller sections. I also spent some time with the chains and the wire brush wheel in the garage cleaning the dirty grease from the exterior of the chain sections.

first layer of bike chains, upside down while epoxy sets

I epoxied several chains in place and let the epoxy set for a day. The next day I took off the masking tape and added a second layer of chains to create a fuller (and more weighted) effect. After the chains were in place I was able to turn the piece over to continue putting the two larger sections together.

second layer of bike chains taped in place while epoxy sets

The top three long pieces attached to a gear stack which will eventually attach to the base of the sculpture. The original angle I had envisioned turned out to be too dramatic and would have resulted in a sculpture that might tip over. Instead I put several small stacks of gears together with half circle spacers separating the bottom of each gear stack. Once the epoxy sets in the bottom gear stacks, I should be able to attach the top section at a more stable angle. 

long bulb pieces setting with foam supports  /  base with gears setting after chains were epoxied in place

Not all of the work I started this sabbatical will necessarily be finished before my January "Biomorph" show in Pasco. One that may or may not be finished is a computer key piece I started near the end of my work time.
bike wheel top with bulbs setting in place

The idea for this sculpture is that the bike wheel top might be a moving piece that spins around on top of a metal rod that is attached into the green gear of the base. Of course a bike wheel is a rather large spinning piece, perhaps even unwieldy, so the balance will need to be tested and assessed after the bulbs are secured to the wheel.

base during building with green gear to hold rod and bike wheel
The biggest problem may not be putting on the bike wheel, it may just be that I run out of time to finish the open end of the base. On Friday I epoxied the keys in place. It was a surprisingly fun activity. The keys snap in place like they would on a keyboard. I used epoxy to ensure they wouldn't snap out of place later.

base after firing and key attachment

The two bike fork and pitcher plant pieces will probably be finished before the show, though they are not finished now. I have attached the bike forks to the bases and most of the pitcher plants to the tops. The pieces are now tall and narrow which negatively affects their stability, but I will be adding more weight to the base of each so that should improve.

unfired pitcher plant base and bisque fired pitcher plant tops before glazing

The bike forks are at a large scale that, in some ways, dwarfs the bases themselves. Right now each of these pieces is taped up and a few pieces are missing from each, so its hard to get a sense of the whole piece.

base with bike fork being epoxied in place

Three of the pitcher plants have interior attachments that mimic a plant's stamen. The others are more complex on their exteriors.  All of the pitcher plants attach in some way to the top of the bike fork.

pitcher plants with "stamens' being epoxied in place

The first round of pitcher plans slide onto the top fork and stack on top of one another. The others are more complex, with some sliding on, others tucking around the middle of the fork and one slotting onto the side of the bottom of the fork. 

two sets of pitcher plants taped in place while the epoxy sets

The pitcher plant / bike fork pieces are unfinished today because the end caps aren't attached. I have glazed them, but they were not ready to take out of the kiln before the holiday. I should be able to attach them in the few days before my show is installed.

glazed end caps in the kiln
The end caps with be attached to the base with gear stacks or other bike parts. The earlier base has just one end cap. The later base has four end caps with gear stacks and four small end caps with ball bearings.

bike fork bases with some gears and end caps in place

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