Heritage- a new piece

In the fall of 2018 I started this piece to add to my Heritage series of sculptures.  As a teen, I shaped hats in my father's western wear store and I began to understand that old hats are reflections of their owners, that they keep a bit of the spirit of the person who wore them. When I start a piece I am often thinking about a specific individual and a  challenge they're facing. While working on this piece I had a conversation with a friend about his career. This friend is very very passionate about his profession and has an admirable work ethic. His work situation has been frustrating for several years. There was not a way he could remedy the situation. In the end he turned  challenging circumstances into a new opportunity. He took the leap and carved a new path.

Initially, when I broke the piece out of the shell I was disappointed that there were so many spots that did not pour. The texture is exactly what I wanted, well worn and full of passion and character.

A little frustrated but keeping an open mind, I set it on my utility room counter. I like to set pieces I am working on there so I can glance at them quickly as I go about my household tasks. This allows me to think and rethink my next step with the piece.

I walked by it and glanced over quickly and it hit me, those patches that did not pour could resemble the new path that my friend carved. Is it possible this piece took on bit of the spirit of my friend and his circumstances?

The next step with this piece is to do the metal chasing. Once the metal work is done I need to make a decision regarding the cool spots. Do I want to patch the cool spots or leave it as is.

I will have to ponder that.

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It is still sitting in my utility room. I do love the shadows. ????????????  

Hurricane Harvey Heroes- LIVEstock- “bringing home the bacon” The inspiration?

He is one big pig, the beloved family pet that had to be hoisted upstairs to save him from drowning in the flood waters of Harvey. The idea of saving a pig was inspired by a YouTube video posted by a young family in Conroe, Texas. I hope you see in the figure not only the strength it takes to lift up a frightened squirming pig but also the determination that the figure has not to let the family’s favorite pet parish. The pig twist and turns  while straining his back legs straight out trying to reach the ground. 

photo by Nash Baker 

Bringing home the bacon

Bringing home the bacon

66” X 42” 60”

Steel, stainless steel lath, plaster, hydro stone, wire mesh, screen and cloth, and baling wire. 

the next pig post -  why a pig?

“You Make Us Stronger I IIIII IIII IIIIII..........

In February, my brother, Dean Travis turned 65. In November, Linda Razloznik, my sister-in-law, wanted to purchase “You Make Me Stronger” for him for his birthday. Unfortunately, it was already sold. Linda and their kids, daughters, son in-law, and grandchildren wanted a gift to demonstrate to him their appreciation for his wisdom, support, and advice. He has been a source of strength in our family since I can remember. Linda commissioned the below piece as a testament to their gratitude. I was particularly pleased to be able to take part in such a special gift as he has also been a great big brother. He first stepped up when I was 3 years old. I had decided to run away and live with the chickens on our farm. I headed out through the cotton field barefoot. I did not get far when the undersides of my feet were completely covered in west Texas cockaburs. He carried me home. A year later, swimming in a friend’s pool, he pulled me out of the swimming pool by my ponytail when my life preserver came off. I was not too appreciative at the time, I boy punched him for saving me. Four years older than I was, he always included my in treehouse building, fox hole digging, or just swimming in the horse trough pretending it was a submarine. In my early twenties, when going through a divorce, I sometimes needed his advice in the middle of the night. He always answered. Linda was right; “You make us stronger”. I hope it was a Happy birthday - bro

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Hurricane Harvey - sculpture day 28 “bringing home the bacon”

Today’s ingredients  

Hay, string and wire-cloth to be mixed with plaster. 

Hay, string and wire-cloth to be mixed with plaster. 

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The left leg Preplaster  

 

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Hoof vibrations  

Hurricane Harvey - sculpture day 18 “bringing home the bacon”

 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.

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from the front 

From slight left  

From slight left  

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Left side 

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The back side  

The right side.  

The right side.  

Gust- patina

November 15, 2018

I am working in the spacious new Glassell Foundry. There is abundance of space to work in.  

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Hat 👍🏼 Patina👍🏼 Torch👍🏼 Welding gloves👍🏼 Paint brushes👍🏼 Respirator👍🏼 Eye protector👍🏼 

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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.😬  

 

November 19,2018 

Starting where I left off.  

Starting where I left off.  

Three days before thanksgiving and I can’t help myself, I want to finish this patina today.  

 

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After a heavy layer of titanium ash I ran out of butane. Luckily a second tank was ready to go.  

 

Faux bois Wedding gift ❤️❤️ #12 the 1st layer on the branches.

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. 

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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.  

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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. 

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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. 

Roots #2 rooting out the best concept

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. 

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The first root - The root is fabulous all by it’s self. 

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The trunk is not so fabulous. 

 

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Off with the trunk- 

 

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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.  

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The root would be bronze.  

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Stay tuned to see how I will use the roots.  

New project - Faux bois Wedding gift ❤️❤️

January 3, 2018, our son Griffin married his soulmate, Alexandra Groome.

After the wedding at the Houston Arboretum.  

After the wedding at the Houston Arboretum.  

As a wedding gift, Curtis and I gave them one of my early bronze sculptures “lovebirds”.

Bronze lovebirds welded to rebar.  

Bronze lovebirds welded to rebar.  


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.

photo of copies of the yearbook pages framed in my house. 

photo of copies of the yearbook pages framed in my house. 

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. 


Design Considerations: 
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.

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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. 

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Marriage should be comfortable -  The front is slightly higher than the back for comfort. 

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 equality - I use a level to make sure the seat is level from side to side.  

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Grinding the tip of a piece of rebar cut for a leg. 

With small taps I  use a sledgehammer to make a gentle curve to a leg. 

With small taps I  use a sledgehammer to make a gentle curve to a leg. 

Next is to creat the armrest and back of the bench. 

Four legs and two arm rest are welded to the seat.

Four legs and two arm rest are welded to the seat.

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. 

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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. 

“gust” building the shell

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dip 3 - wet 

 

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Ready for dip 4 

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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. 

 

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 In the furnace to burn out the wax and the felt 

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with the wax melted out I now blow out what is left of the felt. 

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burn out number 2 

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With an pneumatic air hose I blew out the charred debris from each hat. 

 

 

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A cure from above looking into the cup that the bronze will be poured into.  

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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.