Saturday, August 27, 2011

Legends Park-fabrication-the cut out

So after i got my feet wet building the fence, mark and i went down to southern steel to pick out materials. we needed 10" pipe for the center of the bat (everything will essentially be built out from this piece) sheet material, both for the music notes as well as sheet to skin the bat, and angle iron to construct the frame inside the bat.

below is a photograph of a shearing machine, basically the length of a car, that can cut through a 1/4" sheet of steel in the blink of an eye. i find the writing on it to be quite amusing.

after getting loaded up we head back to the studio to unload and get to work. i have drawn to scale each of the notes and cut them out to use as a template- then traced them onto the sheet of steel with a limestone stick. i'm sure these have a proper name because they are sold by the box and are an absolute essential in a welding shop.

after laying out the notes, i proceeded to cutting them out with a cutting torch. very tricky and tedious stuff. it's hard enough to draw a straight line, but to then do it with a roaring torch is quite different. pretty exciting though.

did i mention it's the middle of summer?

when using a cutting torch there's a good bit of metal that melts and curls up on the back side of whatever you're cutting. so after cutting the notes out, there was a good bit of clean up involved to remove the undesirable; grinding and wire brushing. it doesn't sound like much but it turns out to be hours of back breaking work. hours and hours.

R - E - S - P - E - C - T
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

LEGENDS PARK-fabrication 1

so after completing the model, the next step was to figure out how i would build this thing. i’ve never worked on this scale before. and more than the technical and physical difficulties, there were safety issues to think about.

in memphis there are quite a few options that offer a solution. there are several businesses that are metal fabricators that could handle the job. there are several amazing metalsmiths that i could call upon for help. and there’s also the national ornamental metal museum. all would be good options but there were a couple of things to consider. one being i have never made anything that i didn’t make make myself. i"m use to doing things start to finish, my hands on, myself. and the other, being a novice to such a large scale sculpture, i really needed someone who could be my guide in regards to structure and safety. after much interviewing, lamenting, deliberation and hopping around the city, i decided upon and negotiated a deal with mark nowell.

mark and i had gone to school together many years ago at memphis college of art but hadn’t seen each other in almost as many years. we actually saw each other for the first time in years at a public call to artists for this project and another.

in the beginning i think mark and i both were a bit nervous or apprehensive about the arrangement. artist are such funny people; with their “spaces” and such. and neither mark, nor i, were an exception to the rule for certain.

mark and i spent alot of time catching up and getting to know each other again. i had forgotten that he too was from mississippi. and soon discovered we had a great deal in common. we bonded over metal, and art, and social politics, and the fact that sometimes you've just got to build a fence.

this photograph is an example of just one reason i love mark and another thing we have in common. the fact that while cleaning up the courtyard he would make these stacks of "like' rocks. you never know when you may need that.

to learn more about mark nowell