Thursday, October 13, 2011

Helping Him Make Up His Mind

This sweet little anthropomorphic owl cast in bronze from the original ceramic sculpture created in 2000 has gone through a few changes since his beginnings.   I'm not sure if I have an old photo on file of the original, but the casting of the bronze has divided the little bird's new medium from that of his pedestal.  The first bird was solid ceramic clay from the top of his head to the bottom of his milestone-based pedestal. It was all one sculpture.  Now, the bird is bronze, the pedestal is concrete....a substance I've recently discovered the magical utility and versatility of!
The first photo is of the Whetherbird's first concrete perch, which is also made from a mold of the original clay pedestal.   I packed the silicone rubber mold with white Portland cement colored with an ochre dye, and after it was cured, ragged it with acrylic paints.

The second photo is of the hand-sculpted concrete version.  Much smaller.   The cement was hand-pressed onto (and into) an armature I made of 1/4 inch hardware cloth.  Tricky!!  The weight of the wet cement kept pulling it off of the wire mesh!   It took another day's troweling of a second coat (without the perlite aggregate) and much rasping and sanding to make this little perch for him.   The drilling of holes for his bolts that hold his feet securely was also tricky, but done within 24 hours of the creation of it made it easier.   We really don't want this valuable little critter flying away, now, do we?

  The Chinese character I carved on the facade means "Clarity".  The Whetherbird has spent the last 11 years trying to decide "whether" to rain or shine (you'd have to see his wings to understand), so I finally gave him a little nudge with that character.   That version of "Whetherbird" is 10" in height.   The pedestal is hollow.

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