Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Undercurrent" - 2012

Another piece for my Obsolete show which opens on September 8th, 2012. And runs until October 13th.

This piece consist of a figure and a bird/plane with movable wings. The figures pulls down on the rope about 6", and because of the way the 4 pulleys are rigged, he makes the bird/plane move about 18" up and down. The wings move with the motion because they are perfectly balanced. It's was hard to get them in the same shot because the bird/plane could be rigged anywhere.

The base with figure. The base is an old telephone box. The base and figure measures 11" x 22" x 8".

The figure about to yank down on the line. 

My drawing, and the body of the figure in progress.

In the middle of carving his hand. I discovered this clamp thingy about 2 years ago - it's the best way to securely hold my hands while carving.

Here I'm testing out the arm and it's mechanism. He really only pulls with his left arm, the other arm just holds the slack.

The body before paint. You can see the brass tube that the line goes through.

The body before final assembly. (For some reason, the legs are switched in this shot.)


Here you can see the line which turns the wheel that enables the figure to pull down on the rope. In this picture the line is a 30 lb.polyester fishing line. Later, I replaced it with a miniature high-tech stainless steel cable. I added a removable brass cover to conceal all of this, and then stitched his shirt closed.


His carved hand. The arms and hands are really doing the work in this piece - instead of appearing to - as in many of my other pieces.

His head - he is looking up at the bird/plane, of course.

Building the wings. I tried to make these as light as possible to reduce the amount of weight the figure had to lift. Balsa wood and tissue paper seemed to fit the bill.

The bird/plane, (I didn't want to specify which one it was). As it rises and falls, the wings gently move up and down. The wingspan is 32".

A closer shot showing the counterbalances. The wings are as close to perfectly balanced as is humanly possible.

The mechanism, which has to be pretty heavy duty - the arm has a lot of weight to pull because of the reverse mechanical advantage (disadvantage?) of the way the pulleys are rigged.

I will post a movie soon.....


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"Steadfast" 2012

After seeing how well Tête-à-Tête came out, my wife suggested I do a similar piece - a couple on a teeter-totter. It took a while to figure out the mechanisms, which is basically there to keep the figures upright. The see-saw motion is pretty straightforward, but getting the figures to move correctly was a challenge.

This piece is Currently Available for $7080.

Click on images for a larger view. The movie is at the bottom of this post......

The final shot of Steadfast.  It measures 30" x 21" x 6 1/2". 

The female figure. The handlebars, and the rest of the mechanism, keep the figures upright as they move.

The male figure. To get the legs to move realistically, I added a small amount of lead to the shoes. I also added a tiny rare earth magnet to make sure the shoes didn't move around when they hit the floor. The floor is metal by the way.

A detail shot of the center piece. I know I could have done a simple wood or metal center piece but I really wanted to make something fancier. I really like how it came out - light and airy.

The two bodies in-progress - much carving lies ahead.

The hands, carved and ready to be added to the arms. The girl's hands are slightly smaller than the guy's.

The arms finished. All the arms had to be exactly the same length, and all the pivot points the same. The girl's arms are on the left.

The bodies in progress.

The man's body. I made the bodies and all of the mechanical parts before I made the heads.

The female figure testing out the mechanism. One of the last things I did was to carve the torsos.

The center piece before adding the screen, and before antiquing and painting.

Working out the mechanism and final position of the figures.

The bodies before painting.

The arms and legs in the process of being painted. Because they're part of the mechanism, they all had to be the same size.

All painted, antiqued, and ready to be dressed.


The bodies, all dressed and ready for assembly.

The lady's head. I love how these heads came out.

The man's head.


The floor in-progress. I attached pieces of sheet metal with many small nails.


The metal after the antiquing solution was applied. I love this color - though much of the blue color went away when I applied the wax finish.

The mechanism - simple, straightforward, and made to last.

 The movie..... (watch full screen)

Thanks for looking!

tom




Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"Departure" 2012

I've had this idea in my sketchbook for a while. It's a piece where the figure has an impossible load on his back. In an attempt to balance and secure his cargo - the figure pulls on the ropes, and his load up top shifts from side to side. The piece measures 7" x 31" x 10".

Click on the images for a close look.


A closer shot. His arms pull on the ropes.

view from the back . The motor is hidden in one of the small boxes. It took a while to come up with the configuration of all the elements, and even more time figuring out how to secure them all together.

The top part that rocks from side to side. I used a lot of my favorite found objects here.

So many possibilities - these are the found objects that made the initial cut for this piece.

Here I'm working out the puzzle that is the assemblage of found objects - a very complicated puzzle.

I added lead to the arms, which makes the pulling motion more realistic. After that, I covered up the lead with a homemade mixture of sawdust and wood glue.

Ready for paint. You can see the wires that run up inside his legs up to the motor.

His body after painting and aging - ready to be assembled.

I really like this shot. It shows the 3/16" metal rods and the wires that run up through his legs.

Close up shot of his head. I love his expression.

Adding the figure to the base.

All the weight rests on this found chair, held on with 2 screws.

A detail shot of his shoes. I used an old telephone box as the base. It was already painted black, but I added the metal pieces.


I will post a movie of this piece soon.......