If you came by the studio the past two weekends, you got a sneak peek at the progress on A Feast of Flowers, my public art project for the coastal rail trail. Two of the flower heads are finished and even got to experience their first rain. In the week in between Open Studios weekends, I’ve been working on the patina for the stems. I still have the four other flower heads to finish the patina surface on and then they will all be ready. The patina process is exhausting and exciting to see the acid change the surface of the galvanized metal instantly. I love the organic quality of the surface and the variety of reactions it has to the different areas on the metal.
All of the Feast of Flowers parts came back safely and super shiny from the galvanizer last week and after a little bit of clean up work, I was able to get two of them coated in a brown patina. The patina process was new to me and a little nerve-wracking as they are acid based products to clean the surface and then patina the surface. I don’t have any pictures of it but I was fully suited up with all my protective gear and a good respirator. The cleaner and patina actually smoke and bubble when they are put on the surface of the metal and then need to be doused with water to stop the process. I created troughs with plastic sheeting in the studio to collect all that run off so it can be disposed of properly – which was also a source of stress through the process. The final coat is a water-based sealant that gave a little shine to the surface as well as protect the patina and is graffiti resistant.
After I got the studio cleaned up from looking like a haz-mat site, I got to work attaching the ceramic flowers to their metal flower heads. These two are taking up a huge chunk of the studio space right now, but I think they look great. Two down and only four more to go!
And if you come by this weekend for Open Studios, you can see them up close and in person, we’ll be rolling them outside the studio so you won’t be able to miss them!
All of the metal parts for A Feast of Flowers have been fabricated and are now on a field trip to the galvanizer. Huge thanks to Kirk McNeill for helping load them up and to Fox Welding for transporting them for me. It was quite a puzzle getting them to fit onto the truck and arrange them to be safely transported. Although it may look like a daddy long leg spider convention on the back of the truck, we figured it out.
Now we just have to keep our fingers crossed that they make the journey to the zinc dip and back to the studio again without incident. I’m looking forward to seeing how they’ll look with the patina that will go over the zinc coating. Always an adventure making art!
With the flower heads finished, they made the big move from Freedom Forge to Earth Art Studio which is really just a quick forklift trip from one end of our building to the other! When I thought the studio couldn’t get any fuller, we somehow squeezed in 6 gigantic flowers into my space so that Kirk has more room in his studio to work on the stems.
Everything still needs to be galvanized and given a patina, but I had to test out putting the ceramic elements onto the flowerhead forms to make sure the spacing was correct and that everything was looking good. Meanwhile Kirk started tacking the sections of the stems together. It took a few tries to get the angles just right but as soon as it started looking like a Dr Seuss tree, we knew we had it right. The final welds will create a smoother transition between each section. We’re so close to seeing what these guys are actually going to look like!
The six umbel shaped flower heads are finished and will be moving to my studio very soon while they await a trip to the galvanizer!
My studio had the vibe of an alien invasion for a few days while I filled all the ceramic forms with expansion foam. The idea of the foam is to support the rods when they are epoxied together. The middle photo shows the washers where the ceramic elements will meet the metal and where the epoxy will seal them together.
Preliminary work on the stems has begun and it will be really exciting to have the segments come together and see height of them take shape! Onward and Upward!
Freedom Forge is going full steam ahead with umbel production! All of the flowerhead parts have been fabricated and now we’re tweaking the angles to adjust for just the right amount of organic movement in each flower, allowing them to be uniform and unique all at the same time. The big stems are coming up next and then there will be an adventure to the galvanizer in the very near future!
I’m loving seeing the process of making the metal parts for A Feast of Flowers and luckily Kirk McNeill’s studio is right around the corner from mine, so I can pop over to see what Kirk and his team are up to.
In my last post, the flower head ‘arms’ were bent for the outer ring of flowers and now those arms are being riveted and welded to the base plate. Eventually the inner layers of flowers will be made the same way and stacked on top of this larger base plate. This is only one layer and they’re already looking so cool! More to come, stay tuned!
I’m excited to announce I’ve finally finished fabrication of all of the ceramic elements for A Feast of Fennels and every surface of the studio is covered in parts. Scroll down to see the progress on the metal fabrication happening!
Kirk McNeil and Franco Di Majo working on bending the rods that will create the flowerhead structures. Love the custom jig they made to get each curve just right. Can’t wait to see all these parts start to come together!
Umbels have been an inspiration for me for years now, and I’ve created numerous works based on their forms. I found this fennel umbel in full bloom on a morning walk the other day and had to share side-by-side views of my studio in full bloom next to these guys. Nature definitely inspires!