Monday, October 14, 2019

Bxiie: Series Six Update

It's been a long summer.

I usually design next year's work over the winter, get to work on fabrication as soon as the snow is gone in the spring, and deliver works to various venues through the early spring through fall.  This year didn't work out exactly like that.

I did produce designs for this year's work over the winter.  I came up with a number of related drawings that I refer to as Series Six.  Here's one drawing; this work was envisioned to be constructed of twenty-four 6-inch-square beams, each six feet long.

Series Six Design Drawing

I ran into fabrication issues immediately. 

 The wood was not easy to find.  I had wood delivered by a major retailer; when it finally arrived, the wood was poor quality and I had to send it back.  I realized that even when I found good material, drilling 2" holes through these beams was going to be a very daunting task.

By early summer, it was clear that I was going to miss deadlines for events where I had agreed to show work.

Swarm at North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show

Event organizers were very understanding and accommodating.  I took one work from last year, Swarm, to the North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show in Vermont.  The above picture shows Swarm at NBOSS with a piece by Jay Mead, Attraction, behind it.  Across the street is a piece by Joe Chirchirillo, Earth Arch.

Points of Contention at Prosper Road, Woodstock, Vermont

I installed Points of Contention, another work from last year, at Sculpturefest in Woodstock, Vermont.  The Sculpturefest organizers were pleased with this work and invited me to deliver the Series Six work when it was ready.  They have been very nurturing, gracious, and generous supporters of my work for years and I can't thank them enough.

Mashup of Argument and 1200 Pieces, Perkinsville, Vermont

A work that I had produced several years ago and sold to a private collector, Argument, was destroyed by heavy snow last winter.  That patron had me remove the ruined work and commissioned a second Series Six work.  The above image depicts the retired Argument on top of another work of mine, 1200 Pieces, in Perkinsville, Vermont.  I think of this locale as the place where my art goes to die.  Readers familiar with the Witness collaborative installation that I produced with Filth two years ago may recognize this location.

I digress.

Wood beams being delivered to Hawks Mountain Motorcycles

I finally found a supplier of local spruce in July.  Filth (my very good friend and invaluable art facilitator) found someone who could drill the 2-inch holes around the same time - Mike Todd of Hawks Mountain Motorcycles in Perkinsville, Vermont.  Mike proved to be an invaluable resource for this project.

Mike Todd measuring hole location

Mike is amazing.  Before he could drill the 48 2" holes, he had to modify the drill bit to get it to fit his milling machine.  He then improvised techniques to drill precisely-placed holes in the beams.  After drilling the holes, he delivered the beams to my workshop.  While at my workshop, Mike evaluated my broken drill press, went back to his workshop and milled a part, came back and repaired my drill press.  This man is a wizard.

Mike Todd drills a hole in a 6x6

After the beams were drilled, other 'interstitial' wood components had to be fabricated.  I produced these pieces myself with a table saw and drill press.  With Filth's help, I stained all of the components.  Actually, it would be more accurate to say that Filth stained the components with my help.

Finally, all of the sculptural elements were acquired, processed, and marshaled into a rented truck.

Series Six Prototype packing list

The big day had arrived.  Filth and I arrived at Prosper Road at nine, found a location in consultation with the organizers, positioned the rental truck, and sited the first spar.  Andrei and James arrived around ten and we got to work in earnest.

Filth and Andrei replace sod

It seems curious but most of my pictures of the installation show people replacing sod.

The picture above shows braces that Andrei improvised to keep the center pipe oriented correctly during construction.

Filth, James, and Andrei install the tenth spar

The installation went smoothly.  There was some digging, some heavy lifting, some tool fabrication.  It was fun and we all had a good time.

Series Six Prototype at Prosper Road, Woodstock, Vermont

Finally the piece was complete.  

Series Six Prototype at Prosper Road, Woodstock, Vermont

I am very happy with the way it came out.

Series Six Prototype at Prosper Road, Woodstock, Vermont
I have one more work to complete this year; the related piece for the private collection will be installed next month.  The beams are drilled; the smaller wooden interstitial pieces are produced.  All that remains is to stain the components.

It took a long time to produce this work - much longer than I expected at the beginning of the spring.  Series Six Prototype is a huge piece, though; 16 feet long by 10 feet wide by 10 feet tall.  It weights about 1,400 pounds.

I've learned a lot this season even though my 'per piece' output was lower than in the last few seasons.  I feel that I am well-positioned to produce large works next year.

Work on your art!

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