Monday, September 24, 2012

Down with Dust

lining up the core drill

the beast
I've stopped using the dry grinder after seeing Andrew use the core drill. It worked a charm and there's no dust .... I'm about to invest in more tools with a water feed - in the mean time - hand carving is working ok.....
look - no dust!

The hole - just where it's meant to be

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Lightning Ridge and sandstone

Lightning Ridge is part of New South Wales - or it's a world apart depending on how you look at things. I was lucky enough to see Gale Collins's three act performance at the Black Queen. The story, the place, the lamps.. it all fires the imagination and the opals are a beautiful mystery. The "overburden" is sandstone. There's a piece, newly quarried, sitting in the garden.

There's a smaller piece in the studio... so I've put out that I want tips on carving sandstone - both at home and out there, off the grid, in Lightning Ridge. Kevin Free came to the rescue.... and reassured me that my slice and dice method for getting rid of larger bits was the way to go... he gave me the name of some cool tools and told me to keep the stone damp.....

Just as well it was raining when I started since my respirator only helps me - and the room filtration system only works inside the studio.

The form is emerging from the stone - the grain is smooth and even - there's no shattering and the colours are subtle. Lovely stuff!

So for the next little while the water spray will be my friend - along with the powered respirator and together we'll release what's in there.

The leopard wood is pretty cool too - there's a few right where the stone is standing - does it grow any where else? I don't know.

Leopard wood at the Black Queen

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Four Horsemen

I should get along to the NGV and see the The Four Horsemen, Apocalypse, Death and Disaster... on the other hand I got to thinking enough without seeing the exhibition. Some of the interpretations in the reference material are very 16th Century.... the four horseman riding together and laying waste to the landscape. Death hunting rich and poor alike - it seems far removed from the way we live in sunny Melbourne. Never the less an interpretation occurred to me... one of dependant origination. In Revelations the horsemen were introduced on sequence... and in each cycle a quarter of the population died..... so I thought of the form I could build and the attributes of each of the horsemen that led from one to the other....
Cycle of decay, starting by chance with Avarice and tracking through Conflict and Inequity to Decay....

I thought of it rolling like a wheel in a cradle.... now to build it. I'll need help......

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Flowers that Bloom in the Spring

Everyday new flowers pop up. Mary was a great gardener and the flowers have survived neglect and garden rearrangements and chickens - and they still peep out of odd corners - one has even invaded the bathroom.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

BRO Magnon

My friend "volunteered" to be president of the Winter Sculling Association, so what to do to mark the occasion? Well here's something to add to the Glenn Alsop award for Volunteers:
BRO Magnon in a demonic form - started as a sketch and then I thought about how to make it.... at first I thought I'd make the foray into three scanning so I contacted Thinglab.

They were very helpful and I learned a lot. I'll be using them on a future job - but not this one. Here I went the standard way via plasticine/clay on glass:

Then to the shops for the silicone rubber, two part casting resin and copper powder. It was so cold it took 24 hours for the silicone to set off - not the 6 to 12 promised on the box.... such is life.

Then figuring how much resin to mix to fill the mould just the right amount. didn't want water in this one so the standard displacement wasn't available. Well the guess was OK and after an overnight set it was get to with abrasive pads until it looked the real deal.

Maybe it's not demonic enough... maybe the winter weather isn't as ferocious as it could be..... happy sculling!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Winter Solstice 2012

Raining, cold - hey it's winter! The chooks were let out to run around and enjoy themselves but they weren't interested - back to bed they reckon.

The sky is grey and the moon is new - ready for an awakening  - but ready doesn't mean leaping to it!

But in the front the camellias are in full flower - and I need to get out and sweep some leaves. It's wonderful - there's one tree with two colours of flower - I'm not sure how it does it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Winter of Discontent

Well the casting took a long time - and an even longer time to summon up the courage to open the mould. In fact it's a pity I didn't open it sooner - there are a few cracks that may not have happened if the glass hadn't sat locked in for so long.

cast irises
What should have been three irises
Now it's time to get on with other work while I decide what to do - I've learned that:
  • casting three complicated waxes at once is too hard
  • letting the glass soak at top temperature for longer did work - the mould was full
  • leaving thin glass in the mould is silly - the petals on the thinner flower cracked and broke
  • having the glass too thin was silly
  • I'm going to make this work!

A nearly good enough iris - yet to cut off the pouring lines
The cutting and fitting to the sculpture is going to be a bit of a challenge too.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Moving Right Along

A new job, a new place - life moves on - and the best thing is it's by the beach.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Glass Casting Experiment

"Secret Garden" at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show 2006
Flowers are ephemeral, fragile things - I built a sculpture called Secret Garden - I think it was 2006. And as I left the flower show where it was exhibited I slipped on some wet matting and broke one of the irises.

So the sculpture came home and moved house with me and more flowers broke over the course of the years.

So now that there are no more of the original irises it's time to cast some new ones and to experiment with techniques. I decided to try lost wax - foolish perhaps - but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

wax iris
So here is the wax with the copper "stem" threaded to attach it to the sculpture.

I experimented with a sort of shell casting for the investment - a mixture of patching plaster and silica for the registration layer, then building up in layers of refractory mixture and fibreglass then refractory mixture and grog until a mould was made. Then the hours of steaming - not long enough there was wax burning out in the kiln. I used some old glass - reservoir remainders from previous castings for this experiment.

Just out of the mould and still covered in plaster
I should have allowed longer at top temperature too - the glass flowed but didn't fill the petals - but amazingly against the odds it seems to have worked - a rough casting and tricky to clean.... but the spirit of the thing has survived. Time to build three flowers and get the sculpture back together.

Almost clean and ready to cut off the sprues