Sunday, March 11, 2012

LEGENDS PARK- Field Trip to Phoenix

Though I have two other public art pieces under my belt, it is not lost on anyone that Legends Park is my first LARGE piece. When discussing all the here and theres, and how important it is to me that I do every bit of these piece that I can; and that if I can't do it now, I want to leave the project knowing that I can next time; Mark got it. He knew that not only was there technical work to be done, there was network to be done.

At the end of this project I know I can stand back and say that not one piece was made by a machine. No computer designed parts, cut out and pieced together. No big machine rolling the bat. Every piece was made by hand. Mine or Mark's none the less, but made by hand. Hand forged. Rain, sleet or snow. Hot or cold. Like 27 degrees cold. But who's counting. All at the Rozelle Warehouse.
That said, I also know you can never have too many resources. So, we headed on down to President's Island to meet Lonnie, the owner of Phoenix Manufacturing.

When we walked in Lonnie came up and said, "Mark the artist! Of course I remember you! Been a long time. How in the hell are you?" I got a big laugh out of it. Particularly because I already know a "Gary the artist". It's kind of funny when you're an artist how many times you'll be referred to as "the artist".

("Hey, 'Mark the artist', tell me about ART Farm." -on going inside joke that will most likely be revealed at a later date as much as it comes up)

Introductions were made and stories were shared and then Mark and I headed out to tour the facilities. Immediately I see the new laser cutting machine that Lonnie was bragging about. If you look closely in the next photo you'll see that what looks like a chandelier is actually a hydraulic arm with suction cups on it that is capable of picking up large sheets of metal and moving them from point A to point B.

Sheets large enough and heavy enough that would take several men and man hours to maneuver from job to job. Now it's done in a matter of minutes. If that. Likely a topic that Mark and I would get on and dissect in great detail and passion; that of how machines have replaced human hands and computers are robbing us of our connection to nature and those things around us.

Okay, okay .....back to the field trip. Some of these pictures are blurry because they are taking with my cell phone, pretty much on the run trying to keep up with these two guys.

negative sheet of steel from laser cut letters and machine parts.

Another negative drop sheet again. This time a flower pattern.

Super rolling mill. Could have rolled the bat. Ghostly boots.

Fire pit that Lonnie was making for himself and Mark telling him how he would forge that by hand.

Giant drill bits and a new take on a ceiling fan. That would be of the hanging from the ceiling variety.
After the ceiling fan I rounded the corner and found this.

Yep, we're in a machine shop.

Lonnie's office and another "Big Fish" story. Though this one was a hand made fish a friend had given him.

The whole visit was intriging. All of the heavy duty machines really gave me some insight on how things are manufactured large scale and the scope of what can be done. And the, what to some would seem offensive and chauvinistic, atmosphere just affirmed to the feminist in me that I'm in a place in my life now that in 'kind' environments, I prefer to accept differences and pass on judgement. Particularly since he passed on judging me; a woman in a man's world. Lonnie was great. Really liked him.

The sign on Lonnie's office door. I have a particular affinity to it.

When we left, Lonnie gave Mark a calendar. Here we have left the building and Mark is trying to look the part.

He threw the calendar away when we got back to the studio. Sorry Lonnie. He looks like a heavy metal tough guy but he's really just a teddy bear. "Mark the teddy bear".

Saturday, March 10, 2012

LEGENDS PARK- Center of the bat

This is the pole that runs through the center of the bat. At this point the side bars have been attached. These will hold the brass rods that make up the music staff. In the photograph you can see that there are steel rods already bent and placed temporarily for test purposes. The pole is also painted with 3 coats of marine paint for extra security that should water or moisture ever penetrate the bat, there will not be any rust developing.

While i was working on the music notes, Mark was working on the infrastructure of the bat. The pole is ready and next, the framework that the "skin" of the bat will be attached to is being laid out- measuring, cutting, welding.

We're also testing some sheet thicknesses to decide which will be used for the skin.

Testing the framework- checking the fit measurements. One half set on top of pole.

The second half is clamped in place and checked against the first half for fit and measurements.

It is interesting to me that photographically, the perspective is completed flattened out in these next two shots. The framework looks completely the same width from end to end when, indeed there is a distinct taper at one end and distinct spread at the other.

After this is completed, again this piece is painted for security that in the future there will not be any rusting. Since once the bat is closed off, we will never see the interior again which means if it were to begin to rust no one would ever know it, it's critical that this is done well. Rust can weaken a seam over time, diminishing the integrity of the entire piece

From here we've tested and decided on the dimensions and gauge steel that we need and begin to bend around the framework and tie in place with binding wire- then clamped in place for tack welding. At this point the sheet is tacked in place and check for fitting. once everything is good and where it should be, the complete welding of the seam can be done.

Mark on top of the table, tack welding the sheet on first half of the bat.

first half complete and now it feels like things are really starting to take shape