Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Fearnought" 2010 - New piece....

One more piece for my show at Obsolete --- Click on any images to see it larger.
I wanted to do another piece involving lights, and since I had this great old gauge case, I decided to do a figure operating a searchlight.
I started stripping everything out of the metal case, which I think is made of nickel(?). The tower for the searchlight was made mostly of Erector Set parts with a few odds and ends thrown in. For the top, I chose to use the doll furniture table you see below, (I also have the matching chair - they are both great old hand-made pieces). I cut down the table a bit and added the metal parts with nails.

Here is the tower in progress. I mounted it to a board which was later cut down to size.

The tower with the searchlight in place.

Detail of the light.
I hand-cut all the mirror pieces and glued them to a metal cone I fabricated out of a piece of sheet metal. The support bracket was made out of an old handle of some kind. It took a while to bend into the shape right - it was harder than I expected.

The searchlight completed.

This is one of my favorite details.
I couldn't find a good piece for this area after searching through my collection of junk, twice. So I decided to stop thinking so darn practical. I stumbled upon this lion's head and since it already had 2 holes in it, I decided it would be perfect for the wire egress. It is perfect.

My carving stand as it usually looks while I'm working. It's 51 inches high and it keeps me from bending over to work.

The arms carved and assembled - ready to be painted. I made ball joints at the shoulders to allow for maximum movement.

Arms after painting and aging.

Here I'm working out how the figure relates to the "push bar" that moves the searchlight. (Actually it's the light that moves the figure. Don't tell anyone.)
In the picture the figure is standing on a block. I scrapped this idea and lowered the bar to eliminate the block.

My drawings for the mechanism. I was trying to maximize the sweep of the light, (almost 180 degrees) but also work with the figure, which had it's own limitations. I often use this method to work out the movements.

The mechanical parts complete.The silver bar is the "push bar" that the figure holds on to.

How the mechanism fits together, all wired and ready for the bottom cover.

The figure's head.

A peek at the final piece. I will post better pictures, and movies, once the show opens on Nov. 13th.
Stay tuned.........

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Crescendo" Construction Continued...

Continuing with my piano piece..... I painted the head and gave him a bit of a 5 o'clock shadow.

Here's his body ready for final assembly. I assembled the arms and legs as I dressed him - sometimes it's like solving a puzzle, I have to do it in the right order.

Half dressed. I sewed the sleeves on last. BTW - The fabric for his jacket came from an old pair of my favorite shorts - yes, really.

I wanted to something different for the floor this time. In the past I've done nice finished wood floors - this time I wanted it to be darker with more texture, like in an old dive somewhere.
I nailed all the planks down and took my propane torch and burnt it down about a 1/16" to 1/8". Here it is after I burned it.

After it cooled I "sanded" it down with a Scotchbrite pad. This brought out a lot of texture, with high and low spots. Also because I burned away some of the wood, the nail heads were a little raised. This was exactly the look I was going for.

After a coat of sanding sealer it got a lot darker - very rich!

I picked out of my stash, potential pieces to be used for the embellishment of the piano. You will see, some of the pieces made the cut and some didn't.

The 3 horns that go on top of the case.

I painted the case red but left some parts black and added the "nameplate".

The case after painting, aging and finishing. I also glued the keyboard in and decoupaged the inside.

The "inner workings" of the "piano".
At this point I'm trying to get away from the idea that this is just a piano. Now I'm thinking it's some sort of fantastical, musical piece of wonderment. And who really knows how it works?
I like how these workings could be their own little sculpture. One sad thing is you don't see a lot of this because of the front window.

The workings assembled.

This shows how I had to place the piano and the"chair" in their exact place according to my drawing. I actually put the drawing on the base to locate the feet of the piano, etc. I had to be dead-on because of where the mechanism were located below. No guessing here.

Detail of the area below the keys. I put pipes in behind the board.

The mechanisms finished and ready for assembly.

The 3 cams, one for the head and 2 for the arms.

Everything is assembled and wired underneath.

A sneak peek of the finished product. I will post better images when my show opens on November 13th. (I can't give away the surprise now, can I?)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Update and Select Recent Finds.........

Well it's been a while - but I want to update you on the progress of my recent work and other goings on.

--- The piano piece now has a name, "Crescendo" and has been completed(!) It came out great and I will post pics and movies soon.

--- Exciting News! - Both "Crescendo" and "Undaunted", which will be in my show at Obsolete, have been purchased - (got to love the pre-sales). Thanks again Mark!

--- I started a new piece on Tuesday and it is going well. It's a female figure operating a spotlight. Pics up soon.

***As always, click on any of my pictures to see a much larger view***


I was out of the studio for 2 weeks, traveling to a friend's birthday parties, (yes, 2 parties on 2 weekends). Of course whenever I travel I always have my eye out for found objects. Well, I found some really great pieces this time and I thought I'd show them to you. Surely these pieces will work themselves into my work in the near future.......

Philadelphia is fast becoming one of my favorite cities for great junk. This 11 pounds of mostly keys came from the 6th floor of Sander Supply. They had a fire there in the spring and are in the process of cleaning up. My wife Paula and I spent a while combing through the rubble to find this pile of beautifully distressed debris. It was like combing for shells on the beach. Funny thing is - I really don't use keys in my work unless they are miniature.

The hunt is on...

Note the melted windows...

Combing for keys - it was hard to stop looking.

More stuff from Sander's, found on the first floor. They have a lot of big, used restaurant equipment there, but scattered in are tons of these smaller, perfectly distressed items.

Our friend Robert,who makes amazing lamps and furnishings out of recycled industrial parts, gave me these exceptional pieces. I owe you one Robert. ---

Not sure what this is, but it looks great. Do you know what this is?

Robert said this is from France and has something to do with growing mushrooms. All I know it's a wonderful piece on it's own and has my brain spinning with ideas.

Some sort of gear thingy. This photo was taken before I blew all the dust off. This piece is ready to go - just add figure and a motor. I love it!

I also bought some great stuff out of the basement of Ollie, and 85 year old picker - great stuff, great prices. Thanks Ollie!

A huge spool of fabric-covered wire - awesome!

Some sort of brass thingys, I have no idea what these are for, do you? They have a pivot on one end and a threaded rod. Avoid Imitations!!!

2 great miniature vises used for watch making/repair. The top one is about 3" long.

Another 'what-is-it'? Small carved wooden box with a hinge for holding.....????

Found this in Virginia, it will soon be a companion piece for Crescendo.

Many more great items were gathered - too many to show.

Now I got to get back to my spotlight piece.....
Talk later,