Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tête-à-Tête - 2010

This was the last piece I created for my show at Obsolete. I finished it at about 1:30 Tuesday afternoon - 4 days before my opening. I overnighted it to LA and saw it set up in the gallery, (after my wife and I flew out), the next day. I was sad not to spend more time enjoying this piece, I really love the way it turned out.

Again, click on any image to see it larger.........

"Tete" 28" x 16" x 6 1/2"
The mechanism for this piece is mostly in the base of the woman. However, the piece does not operate unless the 2 bases are at the proper distance from each other. The woman does not pull unless the man is pulling back. There is only a spring in the base of the man, which makes him pull on the rope.

My drawing of Tete. You can see I originally had the figures bent over, but after I tied a piece of rope to a column in my studio and pulled on it, I realized the figures should not be bent over, their bodies should be straight; so I changed my drawing.

Basswood pieces ready to be carved.

The joint at the man's ankle. I debated whether to have their bodies pivot at the waist, but opted for the ankle after doing a test in the studio with the rope.

The box I cut in half to make the matching bases.

I made this rig to determine where the arms and the hands needed to be in relation to the bodies. The brass rod stands in for the rope.

The woman's body, which shows how she rests on her back foot when she is at "full pull."

Here I'm determining how the hand joins the arm.
The hand was carved first, with the hole where the rope goes through determining where the fingers would be. Also the hole for the rope had to be in line with the corresponding hands on the other figure. So the hands where put in place first......

...then the rough cut arm was put in place and the wrist joint was finalized using the 'trial and error' method. Once I had the joint right I could then carve the arm down close to where it needed to be.

I then glued the hand to the arm and smoothed out where they join.

The 4 hands and arms that literally took all day to make.

The finished figures, ready for paint.

The clothes ready for final assembly.

The figures assembled. Their other shoes are glued and nailed to the bases.

The woman's head.

The man's head.

The woman's arms.

The woman pulling.

The man's hands.

The man, seen from the front.

The man pulling.

The mechanism, inside the woman's base - one cam and one follower.

The cam that controls the movement.

I will try to post a movie soon........


  1. your work is fantastic and incredible. Congratulations

  2. Thanks for sharing Tom. I continue to be in awe.