Friday, 11 November 2011

A busy week

Last weekend I suddenly realised I'd only got a week to finish the sculptures that are going into Curwens, the High Street solicitors on Monday, so had to get a bit more focused, rather than smooch idly about doing a bit of sanding, then sloping off to the nature reserve for a bit of birding!

This one is called Tooth Fairy and is carved from a piece of wood I collected from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute when I worked there.  They built a new block, starting in 2002, I think, and the process of clearing the land in preparation involved felling a few trees.  I'm not sure what wood this is, as the tree was already down and cut up into logs by the time I became aware of it.

Although I finished carving it some years ago, I've only just made the black plinth for it.  It's been standing in our hallway, but really isn't stable enough without the plinth to go into a public space.  I'm quite sure the solicitor would not let me exhibit it there as it was.  So it's actually standing on the plinth while the glue sets, then tomorrow I'll up end it and drive half a dozen long screws into it, just to make sure!

This is Untitled and is a bronze casting I made in 1998.  It sat outside in the garden for most of the time since then, and when I started polishing it ready for this exhibition, I discovered I'd never really finished polishing it all those years ago.  I used 500 grade wet and dry to sand out all the old scratch marks left by the random orbital sander, then put a polishing mop into my power drill so I could polish it up nice and bright with tripoli.

The third piece I'll be exhibiting is not quite finished, so I'll have some work to do over the weekend, which is why there's no photo of it.  I finished shaping it a couple of weeks ago, and have spend much time since then sanding and smoothing it, but today it got its sealing coat of French polish.  That has to dry thoroughly, then I'll sand the whole surface with very fine sand paper, as the French polish lifts the grain a bit, and I'll have to remove that before giving it another couple of coats.

It's carved from a piece of African hardwood called paduck, which is a beautiful red colour, which the French polish really draws out.   The whole thing is late, because when I started sanding, I found that many of the concave curves were slightly rippled, which is simply not acceptable, so I've spent a lot of time over the past few days scraping away with a metal scraper, to get them smoother.  Still not perfect, but whether I'll find the motivation to work some more on it when I get it back from the solicitors in a couple of months' time, I have no idea.


Jennyta said...

It must be so satisfying to be able to create something so lovely, Rob.

Rob Clack said...

I'm really pleased with these pieces, but most excited by the third piece, which I'm frantically French polishing right now! The shellac is really bringing out the richness of the red wood and I'm like a little kid waiting for Christmas! You know how when know you've chosen the present of a lifetime for someone, you just can't wait to hand it over and see their reaction? I'm like that now! I can hardly sit still!