The left leg Preplaster
I added the man’s thrown back chin, a suggestion of his head shape, and reinforced his wrist and hands. I also added the pig’s tail, reinforced his hoofs, and a added a suggestion of some very big ears.
from the front
The back side
November 15, 2018
I am working in the spacious new Glassell Foundry. There is abundance of space to work in.
Hat 👍🏼 Patina👍🏼 Torch👍🏼 Welding gloves👍🏼 Paint brushes👍🏼 Respirator👍🏼 Eye protector👍🏼
The patina I am using is a layered hot patina. First I heat the piece with a torch. Then I start laying a heavy dark brown, then a heavy layer of titanium oxide. About 30 minutes in I spilled the titanium patina.
It is really a bummer because once I remix it I can not use it for 24 hours, the chemicals need to bind together. Grrrrrrrrr.😬
Three days before thanksgiving and I can’t help myself, I want to finish this patina today.
After a heavy layer of titanium ash I ran out of butane. Luckily a second tank was ready to go.
You can see the rough coat on the underside of the bench. I am ready for the second application of concrete.
I have flipped the bench over and will work from the top to the bottom. You have to work from the top to the bottom because the process is very messy.
Step 1. Protect the bronze birds by covering them with plastic wrap.
Step 2. Paint the lath with a concrete bonding adhesive.
Step. 3 Make a slip from the concrete and the bonding adhesive. Paint the slip onto the piece.
Step.4 Apply concrete by hand.
Mateo. 5 Remain calm, enjoy the process.
It turns out my bonding adhesive is old, as a result my concrete does not want to stick together. I am grateful I am only working on the scratch coat. I can fix anything that falls off when I apply the final coat.
I like this branch growing around the other
Things did not go as planned as I worked on the bench. My bonding adhesive was old and the cement just was not sticking. And marriages do not go as planned. The lesson here is just roll with it. I will get new bonding adhesive next week and the next application will go smoothly. It is not worth getting upset over. The fun part of marriage is having someone go through the rough spots with you, someone who makes the rough spots not so rough, maybe even fun. Look for the good in every situation, it is there. Make your problems work for you.
photo by Nash Baker
At the end of every semester at Glassell, we clean out all the disheveled cabinets and drawers. We throw away broken tools and parts and reorganize the rest. A few years ago, while cleaning out the hammer and chisel drawer, I came across a worn out sledge hammer. Through the worn garish red paint the satiny steel skin of the mallet was unblemished, it had gotten better with age. Its handle on the other hand had not weathered as well. It resembled more of the rugged surface of old drift wood than a powerful hand tool. Its life had been extended several times with layers of duct tape that were now thread bare. I could only imagine over the years how many passionate sculptors had partnered with this handle and mallet to create their dreams; how many artist used it to mold their creations. I loved it for the history it held in the splintered grains of wood of its handle and the silent strength of its barely-red steel mallet. It’s days of hard labor are over. I bought the school a shiny new blue and yellow sledge hammer with a rubber handle and took the old red maul home to rest. Uncertain of its exact future, it rested on my den coffee table for the better of a year. Guests always comment on what a cool tool it was. It sparked unsolicited stories of hard work, of past labors and stubborn relatives. This summer, I decided to make a mold of the old maul. Each casting will tell a different story. This first casting is “You Make Me Stronger,” an ode to great partnerships as in the one with the artist, the handle, and the mallet.
Now that I have three pieces in my women’s movement body of work I have decide to alter the title and artist statement of this piece.
March 3, 2013 - Woman Suffrage Procession -Inez Milholland
Riding aside historically represents oppression of women's rights. Suffragette Inez Milholland rode astride in the 1913 ride/march on Washington. Inez was not only protesting for the right to vote, own property, to sue, but also to ride astride.
This is my first piece of work that addresses the women’s movement. It first resonated with me purely from an aesthetic point of view, as I knew the aged leather would reproduce beautifully in bronze. What I did not realize, however, was that this sculpture would represent more than a stereotypical Texas western symbol. In my women’s movement body of art it represents the strength of Victorian women and the beginning of the women’s movement, the March 3, 1913 suffrage parade in Washington.
For more information in the 1913 women’s movement see the links below.
I have very strong views on the connection between agriculture and health. I prefer to only eat organic grass-fed beef. I prefer to not eat any gmo products and I feel best when only eating sprouted grains. I want to know where my food comes from and how it is produced. Agriculture has a huge impact on our personal health as well as on our environment. Roots play a large role in regenerative and sustainable agriculture.
The first root - The root is fabulous all by it’s self.
The trunk is not so fabulous.
Off with the trunk-
Failure #1- Experimenting with ideas- this idea emphasizes the important of roots in sustaining life. - too obvious
Failure #2- Another experiment- “burden” I grabbed this marble sculpture I did a few years ago. I have always wanted to burden it with something on his back.
I like the thought, I think it either needs more more more roots or a Sprout coming out of the root.
The root would be bronze.
Stay tuned to see how I will use the roots.
January 3, 2018, our son Griffin married his soulmate, Alexandra Groome.
As a wedding gift, Curtis and I gave them one of my early bronze sculptures “lovebirds”.
The lovebirds are inspired by my grandparents Imogene Young Travis and Robert Francis Travis, (Granny Gene and Bob-pa). They were married in high school and remained married for 70 plus years. In their El Paso High School yearbook, their senior pictures faced each other and lovebirds were placed in the corners of each of their pictures.
The second part of the gift is to make them a faux bois bench for the love birds to sit on.
I am going to make each piece of the bench thinking about the two of them and the lessons I want to pass down from my grandparents and from my own marriage. It will be a reflection of the qualities of the love Griffin and Alex committed to each other that day on January 3rd, and will be a symbol of the characteristics needed to maintain a marriage for a lifetime. My plan is to have it completed by their first anniversary.
1. Griffin and Alex are both environmentalists, so I will recycle as much rebar from other projects as possible.
2. No marriage is ever perfectly balanced, so I will make the bench asymmetrical.
3. It will have arm rests for support - symbols of both of their families.
4. When things don’t work out exactly as planned, I will keep an open mind and make the best of the situation. The beauty will be in the imperfections as is life.
5. I will listen to their wedding playlist on Spotify as I work.
6. Griffin and Alex are very playful. The piece will reflect the joy they embrace life with.
I started on Thursday, June 15th. Griffin and Alex are both people-people. They are always reaching out to others and welcoming them into their home and world, they love to entertain. So I decided to make the seat of the bench the shape of open arms.
rebar welded into the shape of open arms that will eventually be the seat.
Next I need to set the seat on jack’s the correct height for comfortable seating. Every couple needs a good support group.
Marriage should be comfortable - The front is slightly higher than the back for comfort.
equality - I use a level to make sure the seat is level from side to side.
Grinding the tip of a piece of rebar cut for a leg.
Next is to creat the armrest and back of the bench.
Griffin and Alex are very fun loving and not inhibited at all to have a good time. The vines/branches that make up the back will embrace this side of them.
A little sketch of the armature and how it will look with concrete on it so far.
I might need to prune the crazy branch on the left side.
Three of his and a few of mine.
Dove/pigeon - bronze
Doves/pigeon and a fish
Two of my Herman Beak trumpeter pigeons with leg muffs in charcoal
Two frill back pigeon is one in Talc powder and one in charcoal.
“Heritage-dust to dust.” My dad was not part of the hat generation, he was a cap dad. He did, however, have the traits that are reflected in each of my Heritage pieces and I do see glimpses of him when I look at them. This is one of the two hats I worked on during his last weeks of life. The week after he passed with a large hole in my heart, we poured the bronze. When I broke off the shell I was not really surprised to see the large hole in the heart of the crown.
Last week I completed the metal work on the piece and this week my siblings and I will celebrate his life, as he requested, with a simple bar-b-que in the feed store warehouse. It won’t be your normal wake, with guest dressed in formal black jackets and pants. We will all be in jeans, boots, or tennis shoes and he would like that. My sister and I will decorate the tables with two of the things he loved: tomato plants and footballs. We will drink beer, eat texas bar b que, and share memories and his love. He may not have worn a hat but he did leave a hole in this one.
close up view
Stepping back a bit
It is in the upper left side of the lining of the crown.
dip 3 - wet
Ready for dip 4
the top of the cup is cut off and the blind vents are cut open in order to allow the wax to expand and milt out of the shell.
In the furnace to burn out the wax and the felt
with the wax melted out I now blow out what is left of the felt.
burn out number 2
With an pneumatic air hose I blew out the charred debris from each hat.
A cure from above looking into the cup that the bronze will be poured into.
After blowing out the pieces for a second time I seal all the holes with sparset.
Last Thursday we did our best to pour these but............. plan B we will pour them this this Thursday.
Thursday nights= patina night. One more ✅
I am starting two new pieces for my “gust” series.
Here is the first one viewed from every side.
I have two coats of wax on it. Now I need to clean off and wax that is clumpy and make sure it does not loose its shape and character. Then I can begin the molding process to cast it in bronze.
This hat is planned to be the 2nd in the series.
I ended up with cool spots in the pour resulting in spots that the bronze did not fill, big spots that did not pour. :(
I am going to clean them up and see what can be done to save it.
The sprues are cut to the stub
I have cut the sprue stub off flush with the felt.
I have repaired the texture .
Another Thursday night of applying the patina to yet another hat.
Woven in felt, every hat tells a story, shaped with memories, recording beliefs, and veiling sorrow, some eloquent and some twisted. Cradled in our imagination, they blow in strange, wonderful ways, spinning from generations that are inhabited by our respect to balancing our present responsibilities and fears. In generations past, in fable and in legend, hats sheltered spirits, represented people and occupations, and defended against the elements.