Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Installation and Unveiling

Once the base was installed at the Waterfront Park, and a majority of the hard-scape work had been done, it was time to move the sculpture to it's final home. This was a challenging operation since the sculpture was designed to stand upright, and had to be laid on it's side in order to transport it. Even though the Waterfront Park is only a mile away, there are numerous utility lines that the sculpture would not fit under when standing in an upright position.

After much contemplation, Robert decided that the best idea was to make a supporting frame for the exterior of the sculpture. The picture below shows the sculpture being lifted by a crane onto the flat bed that will transport it to the Waterfront Park. You can see the three sided frame on the outside of the sculpture that is designed to stabilize the sculpture and prevent damage to the stainless steel surfaces.

The sculpture is carefully set onto the flat bed trailer.

Now it is slowly lowered into a recumbent position.

The frame works beautifully, and is strapped securely to the flat bed trailer.

The slow, careful trip the the Waterfront Park is made without incident. Now the crane lifts the sculpture from the flat bed trailer. The wind is blowing a little, so ropes are attached and held to keep the sculpture steady as it is moved and lowered onto the brick pad next to the base.

Now Robert climbs the frame, and must cut it apart to remove it from the sculpture.

Once more the sculpture is lifted, this time without the protective frame, and it is lowered onto the base.
The long bolts that secure the sculpture to the base line up perfectly and slide into position.

Using the three holes in the side of the base Robert placed the nuts onto the bolts that hold the sculpture in place, and torqued them tightly.

Stainless steel plates are placed over each access point. Each is engraved with information about the RISING sculpture.

Everything fits perfectly and tightly.

The scaffolding is moved away and everyone steps back to admire how it looks on the base.

Tomorrow is the unveiling, and the crew works feverishly to ready the park. As the sun lowers in the sky, the lighting on the sculpture changes...

* * * * * *

Friday, November 19th is finally here, and at 1PM a crowd of 60 or so people gather in to witness the unveiling. The cool breeze keeps some folks in their cars, but most gather around the steps of the sculpture. Mayor Andy Maclean speaks (right) followed by Savings Bank of Maine President John Everets (center), and then the sculptor, Robert Lash (left).

Robert unveils the sculpture...

and the crowd applauds...

Robert and his very proud wife Amy pose for pictures with RISING.

It's been an eventful week. RISING looks stunning in its new home. As the sun goes down and the sky changed color, the moon rises in time for some splendid photographs.

Thank you to everyone who has followed this project, and for all the kindness, support and encouragement you have offered.

Thank you to the Savings Bank of Maine for commissioning the RISING. Thank you also to the City of Gardiner. Robert is also extremely grateful to his good friend, Andrew Wilson, for the many hours of labor that he donated to this project.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Base In Place

The Rising's base was brought to Gardiner's Waterfront Park on a flat bed. It was lowered by crane onto a concrete footer with rebar, drainage and electrical conduit sticking up out of it.

It was a tricky process to lower the 6,000 pound base precisely into position, but everything went smoothly.

After installing the up-lighting and connecting the electrical, the next step was to fill the base with concrete. It was a cool, damp day, but that didn't stop the crew from getting the job done.

After filling the base, the concrete pad was poured around the base. Come flood or ice dam - this base isn't going anywhere for several hundred years!

Painstaking bricklaying has been done over the concrete pad and the sidewalks.

This picture shows how perfect the brickwork is - right up to the bottom gear of the base. They did an outstanding job!

There was a ribbon cutting ceremony in October for the Waterfront Park. The sculpture was not yet installed, but Rob was there and got to meet Senator Susan Collins who gave the keynote address. Senator Susan Collins, Robert Lash and Earl McCormick (Local Senator) pose for a picture, below.

The Rising Sculpture is completely finished. The next step is a delicate one: transporting it one mile to its final home at the Waterfront Park. If the weather cooperates, we hope the installation will happen in the next ten days. Then there will be some final polishing and perfecting on site. The final stage of this immense project is in sight!

An "Unveiling" is planned at the Waterfront Park in Gardiner on November 19th at 1PM. All are welcome to attend!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Moving the Base

Today the base is being moved from Robert's studio, to the Waterfront Park in Gardiner. Since the Rising sculpture has been built on top of the base, it has to be carefully lifted off the base and then the base removed from under it. To accomplish this process without harming the sculpture, Robert and his crew have done some careful planning.

First, straps are attached to the Rising sculpture at several points to try to keep it balanced when it is lifted.

The crane lowers it's hook into position.

Robert attaches the straps to the crane hook.

The bolts are loosened that hold the sculpture to the base, and then the crane lifts the 1,000 pound sculpture slowly and carefully.

Robert and Andrew attach a wooden framework to the base of the sculpture to keep it straight and give it something to sit on once the base is removed.

The crane lifts the sculpture even higher, and it moves slightly from side to side. Everyone is holding their breath.

The fork lift comes in to pick up the three ton base, and the sculpture has to be moved even higher.


This photo is taken from underneath the sculpture as it gently swings from the crane hook.

Now the base is transported to the Waterfront park sight, where it will be permanently installed, the electrical will be connected for the lighting, and it will be filled with concrete. The sculpture will stay at the studio for more finishing work.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Welding, Grinding, Polishing, Welding

All nine individual forms that make up the sculpture have been plasma cut, glued, welded, ground and polished. The process was very much like making nine individual sculptures. Combined, they represent a football field length of welding, and twice that of grinding and polishing. The surface of each has been worked with abrasives, starting with aggressive ones to remove the weld slag, and gradually moving to finer and finer abrasives until the entire surface of each has a uniform, glowing satin finish. It is painstaking, labor intensive work, and Rob is incredibly grateful to his friend Andrew Wilson for volunteering many of his hours to help with the polishing process. Two of the completed forms are shown here on the studio floor:

Scaffolding has been set up around the sculptural base, and Rob is welding the individual pieces together. The cooler fall air and lower humidity makes for a much nicer outdoor work environment.

One can begin to get a feeling for the scale of the sculpture. Rob is on schedule to have the welding done by the end of this week, so the sculpture can be removed from the base, and the base transported to the Gardiner Waterfront Park to be wired for lighting and filled with concrete.

After the base is removed, Rob will work on the sculpture at his studio, to remove any excess welding material that is visible, and re-polish around each welded joining point. The photograph below shows the sculpture with six forms assembled, leaving only three more to go.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Robert has finished the fabrication of the first three pieces that make up the lower tier of Rising. Yesterday, with the help of his friend Andrew, and son John, he placed the three pieces together on the sculptural base. After several hours of maneuvering and positioning, the pieces are attached to the base, and join together as they should. Today he will be welding the pieces together, and then finishing the welds.

This is an exciting time as the sculpture starts to take shape, and one can imagine how truly amazing it will be when all three tiers are assembled. The satiny glow of the stainless steel contrasts beautifully with the industrial cast iron gears and corten base. All the painstaking welding, griding and finishing of the pieces pays off in the perfection of the graceful lines, and smooth finish.