Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cradle, the Middle

This is the part where I tell you how we made this thing. The hands were sculpted in WED clay with internal armatures. Alginate and plaster bandage molds were made and the hands were cast in plaster. I could then sand and resculpt using a little joint compound. Once finished, production molds were made with Smooth-on Mold Star 25 and Plasti Paste. We had tried to cast the hands in quickcrete, and after a few tests, decided that a 2 part plastic would do the trick with a few coats of spray paint. Amelia fabricated the cradle with found and made objects. There is a charm bracelet with lots of little animals that were cut by hand, and many rings with set stones that were made. Many of the beaded areas were fabricated as well. We ordered a column mold from a garden supply store, vacuum cast styrene. Amelia built a few jigs so we could run a piece of PVC pipe down the middle of each column part in order for a threaded rod to hold it all together. After a few tests with different concrete mixes, we ultimately cast everything in plaster of paris. The bases are fabricated from MDF. A threaded rod was glued securely to each hand, and a nut was secured to the underside of the top of the base. With ease the rod slipped through each section and was easily tightened together. Every piece was primed and spray painted white.

Cradle, the Beginning and the End

Back in January, my sister, Amelia, www.ameliatoelke.com and I submitted a proposal for a show in Portland, Maine called Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been. The guidelines for the show were, it had to be a collaboration between two people at different points of their careers. A perfect fit for Amelia and I. We came up with Cradle in no time at all. It was a perfect mix of our talents, mine with mold making and sculpting, and hers, in metals and construction. We had mapped out the project so I would construct the hands in Brooklyn and Amelia would fabricate what would become the "cradle", in Madison, Wisconsin. Before the install, we would get together and fabricate the columns and the pedestals in upstate New York. I have posted the original drawing from the proposal and the finished piece. We were surprised how it close the sculpture came to the drawing. The show opens at the MECA Library in Portland, Maine on June 1, and will be up for one month