Over the New Year, I was on vacation in Florida and carved this wooden chain from a section of basswood.
Returning home, I remembered I had a collection of small chains in my studio. Most of it is old weight chain from grandfather clocks and the like. In my sketchbook I have a few drawings of figures wrapped up in various things - wire, string, chain. So maybe this idea to use chains has been stewing for a while. This was my first piece of 2015.
This piece measures 11" x 20" x 8", and is Currently Available for $6450.
The final shot of "Bound".
He pulls on the chains with each arm, trying to free himself. This piece is really more of a metaphor than anything else, and his expression fits the sentiment perfectly. (Don't we all have our personal chains we are trying to free ourselves of?)
The base is a vintage copper flower tray, turned upside down. I added the wooden part to allow for more room for the mechanism.
A closer shot.
His back - more chains.
His desperate look. I sometimes impress myself with the way my heads come out. Of course I always hope for the best, and put the time into sculpting them - but being self-taught, I never imagined I would ever get to this level of proficiency. All my heads are sculpted from a special blend of polymer clay.
His shoes, and the top of the base.
The making of.....
This is the chest, hollowed out so I could add the 2 levers to make his arms move. Lately I've been using small hinges for the pivots at the shoulders. They work well and will last forever.
His hands, carved from basswood. Another skill I'm pretty proud of. I use an X-acto knife mostly, but also small chisels and gouges. I also employ a magnifier that I wear on my head - I can really get into the detail that way. Though it takes about 2 hours to carve one hand, I think it's worth it.
His arms, showing the hinges and levers. I have a little more carving to do on the forearms.
Here I'm working on the mechanism upright. I do a lot of the mechanism work upside down, but later I have to temporarily mount the body to figure out the shape of the cams. Gravity always plays a part in an automaton, so I have to test things out in their proper orientation.
A final shot before I insert the protective cover and sew up the back of his shirt.
My drawing for the mechanism. I had to really squeeze it into the base. Sure it would be easier to pick a larger item for the base, but that would make the base out of scale with the figure. I'm always having to strike a balance between the size of the container (the base) and the room required for the mechanism to move the figure the way I want.
I made the mechanism outside the metal try, so I could work on it easier. The whole mechanism has to pivot on the point where the tubes from the legs come down. This is always the starting point to figuring out how the mechanism will be laid out.
The mechanism shoehorned into the tray. You can see on the right, that I even had to cut away part of the tray to get the cams in. (The cams are uncut at this point.)
The cams, cut and ready to be assembled, and inserted into the mechanism. Two precision bearings will act as cam followers, so there's no worry about wearing out the wooden cams.
A final shot of the completed mechanism. You can see one of the springs that help keep the cam followers up and against the cams.
Here's the video - watch full screen for best results....
Thanks for looking!