Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"Makeshift" - 2014

As I love to work with found objects, and after completing a very complex mechanical piece, I wanted to do a simpler non-mechanical "fun" piece. Yes, fun. It's not often that I get to work spontaneously. Usually my mechanical pieces take a lot of planning, engineering and brainwork. This piece has some of that, but it's much more enjoyable to put things together when the parameters are looser. I had a rough idea of what I wanted the vehicle to be, but things were able to change as I went along. Most changes were hinged on what found objects I had on hand. I just went to my stash and made it work. I hope you like it.

It measures 18" x 19" x 8".

The wheels do roll but that's not the point. And instead of pointing the cannon straight ahead, I turned it  about 5 degrees, which moved his whole body from a straight on pose to a more dynamic one. He is a bit off kilter, tipping to his right, leaning on one leg.

I started with the cannon and played with a million different variations and combinations of parts, wheels, and boxes.

I really like this shot - it shows his determination.

I find it interesting that some of the parts I used have been sitting around my studio for years, and some, like this screw clampy thing, I found at a flea market a day before I added it to the mix.

He has his makeshift helmet on - ready for battle.

This ornament came off a butter dish that I cut down and put on the front of the vehicle.

The curved front and back pieces are actually a tin I cut in half. The shape and patina reminded me of a civil war-era boat.

Many screws and nails add to the detail. The aforementioned butter dish on the right.

You can see he's just barely hanging on the back. He was going to be standing on another box, but it hid the curved part of the base. I like that he just fits here.

In progress pics........................

Figuring out what this piece will be - so many found objects, so many possibilities......
Starting out I knew I wanted to use the cannon part, and for him to be on a wheeled vehicle of some kind.

Carving the hands from basswood.

Figuring out this arms. His hands were done - as well as his torso, legs, and shoes. Now to connect his body to his hands.

Lots of trial and error, but I think I got it.

Afterwards, the arms are carved - and glued to the hands.

Here I'm covering the base with small pieces of tin, using many tiny nails.

Wheels are added. The other section, with the cannon, will be added on top of this.

Thanks for looking,


Thursday, February 13, 2014

"Eversharp" - 2013

Another idea I've had for a while - a man sharpening a giant knife. The base is a handmade box I found and the stand for the grinding wheel is made up of parts from an old Erector set. The grinding wheel is made from a piece of wood.

He guides the knife back and forth across as the grinding wheel spins.

Magnets in the palms of his hands, and in the knife, help him hold loosely onto the knife. This lets the knife moves around a bit, with no binding as it moves back and forth.

The view from above. I love how the movement came out - slow and deliberate. The handmade knife was an antique store find. It has "1918 France 1919" written on it and the handle is actually a shell casing. I wish I knew it's history.

Here I'm working out the position of the "knife" in his hands.

Rechecking the position of the knife - and still some carving to do. I used small brass hinges for the pivot points at his shoulders.

His finished head - I was going for a sinister look.......

Ready to be dressed. I made two small covers that close up his chest.

One last check before I put on the cover and sew up the back. You can see the line and the spring which moves his right arm. His other arm moves because it's connected to the knife.

Four small magnets hold the knife in his hands. You can see one of them in the palm of his left hand.

The mechanism, (seen upside down). I used two motors - one for the wheel and one to move the arm. It's always a fun challenge to fit the mechanism into the box I've chosen.

Here's a quick movie clip that shows how it works. I'll be putting together a full edited movie soon.

Thanks for looking.