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.