Sunday, January 9, 2022

"The Beekeeper" - 2020

This piece was a commission from a family friend who used to be in the beekeeping business. I think he wanted to commemorate his days keeping bees. He was very specific about the details that needed to be present - and I appreciated his input - it helped me to make exactly what he wanted, and to get everything just right. I did have to learn a bit about beekeeping - about the tools, the clothing, and about the hives.
It turned out to be a fun project - and my client was thrilled. 

Here are the final images ---

The piece is powered by a crank on the right side. And the piece measures 13" x 19" x 11".

Here are the in-progress/detail images....

Here I'm figuring out the height of the hive, the location of the hive relative to the figure, and the size of the frames. 

This is the body, fully carved. His right arm moves side to side, and his left arm moves up and down.

This is the mechanism inside his chest. When the line (polyester cord) is pulled down, and it pulls the lever back. Halfway through the pull it engages the brass lever for the head, and turns the head to the right. The springs act to return the arm and head to their original positions. 

Here I'm finalizing the position of the figure and the hive on the base. 

This head, sculpted from polymer clay. 

The figure is ready to be dressed/assembled. His gloves, shoes, and head have been painted. His left arm needed to be weighted so it would drop properly.

His hat, in progress. I made this from plastic - a material that I hardly ever use. 

The bees were created by painting pieces of black rice with yellow stripes. This took lots of time and patience. I attached them to double-stick tape to keep them from moving as I painted them. 

The mechanism, in progress. I used salvaged gear to gear down the crank motion. 

More progress. This is before the cams are cut. The cams always start out as circles, sized to the largest dimension that the levers will have to travel. Then I figure out the low points after connecting all the other parts - including the figure. 

This is the mechanism finished. The large brass gear on the left spins the bees. The two cams and levers are for the arms. A ratchet and pawl can be seen on the right. 

The final cams. You can see how much was taken off the circles. 

This is the door on the back - so my client can see the mechanism, and show it off to others. I thought it would be fun to have bees everywhere, including here. Besides, I painted tons of them. 

The movie.... (watch full screen).

Thanks for looking!


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