Thursday, August 7, 2008
Working in the Studio
First thing this morning all the artists gathered in a room on the 16th floor for a medical check-up, this didn’t set well with a few of the artists. We had no idea what was to be done and I felt a little on edge because we learn blood would be drawn and blood pressure taken and an EKG, given my passed bad medical experience during the past two years That was enough to boost the old blood pressure. This was all done for blood typing and for an insurance coverage for the group, when you think about it this is really a first class organization.
It is a beautiful sunny morning, crisp, after the day before having rained. We have 500 pounds of work ahead of us, as we continue to pack large balls of clay into the form of the first section of the sculpture. We managed to get one quarter filled the day before and it won’t be until before lunch that the form is filled. At 11:30 it’s time for a clothes change and some lunch, a ride on the bus gets all the artists back to the hotel in 10 minutes and we have until 2:00pm to eat and rest, today I really enjoyed the rest and shower at lunch.
Back at the studio Yu and I begin disassembling the form…the moment of truth…it looks good, minimal clean up and we wrap it in plastic and move on to rebuild the form again and begin packing the clay for the next section. When all four sections are stacked the sculpture will be just over 3 meters tall (120 inches or 10 feet). I need 2 ½ inch wood screws and there are none to be found…oh wait some are found in an old wood construction and removed for me…oh wait a screw drive must be located first, with a + head, that can wait and we move on. There is at least another 500-600 pounds of clay to be packed into the form and I have the longest arms to reach the bottom of the form, so I’m up on the table laying the first 75 pounds. The bus is here, thank goodness. Shower then dinner, looks like squid and other delights, there are large bottle beer, but I refrain, don’t get me wrong a cold one wood be good and I can taste it, but tomorrow is a long one and I want to be at my best for Yu and Chan Hua. It’s not all work, they both have been exposed to the poetic farewell “See you later alligator, after while crocodile” and I now can ask for water please, thank you, hello, good job.
The picture above is me packing clay into the form, what a great workout and all the while chatting with Chun Hua and her interested friend with the bag. This is difficult work, and in no time I’m dripping with sweat. Yu and I get a rhythm going and we have made great progress this morning. The clay is inconsistent, some old used clay which is firm and then the next batch is newer soft and sticky, not really ideal, I fear that after the wood form is removed on this block it could slump or sag. That being the case I opt to stop filling the form at ¾ full and reinforce the top of the form after lunch.
This afternoon Michael Warrick and myself and our trusted interpreters Chun Hua and Angela, decide to walk into the enormous sculpture park, it’s so pleasant strolling down the wide sidewalks with a cool breeze with a wonderful variety of summer flowers blooming and birds flitting about. We walk stopping and viewing the sculptures from artists from all over the world. It wasn’t long before we came across an elderly couple very interested in us, obviously we looked not from around these parts, they told us in broken English, that they had visited the U.S.A. and that their son was living in Las Vegas. We parted with smiles and continued down the path, and Wow I found a sculpture from an artist from Belau, too cool, the path forks many times and before we know it, over an hour had passed. We made it as far as the lake and this was barely quarter of the park, we will be doing this again, but for now we cut across so we don’t miss the bus back to the hotel.