Hat day - and finding my voice as an artist

 This sculpture began my journey to find and define my voice as an artist.

 I inherited a family treasure from my grandfather Bob-pa, Robert Fleming Travis. This inheritance is not an object it is an impression of a human spirit. With this object I tell the story of the pain and challenges the harsh west Texas weathers imprints on a soul through tears, rips and holes in a satin lining. I see evidence of daily habits necessary to survive alcoholism, and diabetes through the creases still living in the felt. I see a love between two people committed for life in the tattered remnants of a gross grain ribbon. I see financial hardship that shapes character in the frayed and moth eaten edges of the brim. This well-worn inheritance quietly mirrors my grandfather’s life and character.  Shaped by growing up in the Depression, he knew hard times as he later farmed cotton and raised cattle in the harsh West Texas desert near El Paso.

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Photo by will michels.  

Photo by will michels.  

Acid rain patina - 3 little Muensters

These bronze pieces are bronze with a liver of sulfur patina under a gold leaf. The problem with gold leaf is it looks gaudy until it ages. When it rains I put them outside to speed the process.  

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Accepted -

A few weeks ago I noticed that Artspace a non profit gallery  in Roundrock, Texas was having a call for art. The curatorial theme - "celebration and Rememberence" a sort of day of the dead celebration.  I immediately thought about a bust I sulpted in 2014 and how nice it would be for the inspiration  of my sculpture (Mr. S.Erickson) if the piece was selected. "Celebration and Remembered" is not a juried Show and I had decided to only apply for selective juried shows. It would be a away of paying tribute to a man who was forgotten in his time and it was a local opportunity to submit a sculpture. So I submitted the piece.  I am happy happy to report that "forgotten soul- S.Erickson" will be remembered and celebrated at Artspace in Roundtop Texas during the month of December.  Below is the artist statement I submitted. 

forgotten soul – S. Erickson

Was one of the thousands who died at the Oregon state mental hospital whose ashes were abandoned inside 3500 copper urns. I saw his picture in the newspaper and could not forget him. "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" was filmed at Oregon state mental hospital.His file stated he was a laborer and suffered from senility, he came to New York in 1883 from Norway. Mr. Erickson was one of the forgotten souls but I could not forget him.

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"Gust" -7, 8, and 9

9/2/2016

Starting to sprue up another hat in my "gust" series. 

Cup and 3 1" sprues attached. These will create the cavities the bronze flows through to get into the sculpture. 

Cup and 3 1" sprues attached. These will create the cavities the bronze flows through to get into the sculpture. 

1/2" feeder sprues and primary vents added.  

1/2" feeder sprues and primary vents added.  

Another view.  

Another view.  

9/20/2016

 

Started another piece of my "gust" series.  

#8

#8

9-26-2016

The blind vents are added  

The blind vents are added  

The blind vents will allow the gasses to escape when the bronze is poured into the shell.  

The first dip (slurry only) -All three together "gust" 7, 8 and 9

The first dip (slurry only) -All three together "gust" 7, 8 and 9

The slurry machine

The slurry machine

The fine silicone powder.  

The fine silicone powder.  

Medium silicone powder.  

Medium silicone powder.  

2nd dip - slurry and fine silica

2nd dip - slurry and fine silica

The last dip- slurry only.  #10

The last dip- slurry only.  #10

This marks the completion of the 3rd step in the process of making a sculpture and casting it in bronze.  

forgotten soul – S. ERICKSON

S. Erickson was one of the thousands who died at the Oregon state mental hospital whose ashes were abandoned inside one of 3500 copper urns. I saw his picture in the newspaper and could not forget him. He has a quiet presence about him that stayed with me.  I tore out his picture and put on my bulletin board.  S. Erickson's  file stated he was a laborer and suffered from senility, he came to New York in 1883 from Norway.  Mr. Erickson was one of the forgotten souls but I could not forget him. 

Picture from the newspaper  

Picture from the newspaper  

Fyi- "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" was filmed at Oregon state mental hospital. 

forgotten soul - S. Erickson  

forgotten soul - S. Erickson  

Armature and wax 

Armature and wax 

I made the armature so that with a pull of the cord I could remove it from the wax. This way I can cast my sculpture without making a mold. You could never mold the beard I sculpted.  

Building up the facial features.  

Building up the facial features.  

Hay makes an awesome matted beard and hair.  

Hay makes an awesome matted beard and hair.  

Sprue system for building a mold.  

Sprue system for building a mold.  

The next step is to dip the piece creating a ceramic shell. The wax and hay will then be burnt out in a furnace. Then the bronze will be poured into the cavity of the shell. 

After the bronze cools I begin breaking off the shell. The beard is very difficult.  

After the bronze cools I begin breaking off the shell. The beard is very difficult.  

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It is a very slow process to remove the shell from a heavily textured surface. This is why almost a bronze is smooth-ish. But I love texture so I have to do the work to get it. 

The shell is removed.  

The shell is removed.  

The next step is to patina the surface. 

forgotten soul - S. Erickson   11"X 12" X 9" 2014 

forgotten soul - S. Erickson 

11"X 12" X 9" 2014