Thursday, June 25, 2009

One SculptCycle Installed

I installed my first SculptCycle last week, a unicorn. I like the piece but it is a bit overwhelmed by the space, so I'm in the process of making another one to go with it. I'm also trying to finish at least three dogs for the "Dog Pack" ScultCycle. When they are finished, they may go in this space, in front of The Drawing Board on Main Street, Montpelier; I would then move the unicorns to the tourist center on State Street. Hopefully, they will be done next week, being the deadline is the end of the month. At least I'm not the last to install yet; I know several other artists are planning on installing next week so I might be able to beat them.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Representation - Baltimore Show Follow-up

Although I didn't make any direct sales at the Baltimore show in May, the time and effort is starting to pay off in that I now have representation in the DC area through a recommendation from someone I met at the show. Art Matters contacted me about representation a couple of weeks after getting back. They are an art consulting firm in Rockville, MD that works primarily with corporate clients on commissions. I sent them "Three Blue Stripes" last week as an example of my work. Commission work, especially for a public space, would be good - it is great exposure and it would be nice to have the opportunity to do something larger -- maybe a Baye Fall Wall!
"Three Blue Stripes"
©Robert Hitzig

Monday, June 8, 2009

SculptCycles In Progress

Having just finished the shows in May that I was preparing for, I now have time to work on my SculptCycles, sculptures with recycled bicycles, for Montpelier SculptCycle 2009. Last year I created a robot walking two dogs with bike parts, northern white cedar, and plenty of epoxy. It was bought by the town of Newburyport, MA and should be moved to their new bike path this summer.
Dog Walker
©Robert Hitzig

This year my plan was to make a series of the dogs and scatter them around town, maybe making more as the summer progresses. Here are seven of the frames I found, some pulled out of the garbage. Taking them apart was a lot easier this year but it is still time consuming. Sometimes the crank is reverse threaded, sometime not, sometimes it can take a while to figure it out. I usually need to pull out the Sawzall to get the axle off. I have three more that I haven't been able to finish taking apart and might have to break down and ask Onion River Sports to help me out. Last year I spent hours trying to separate a couple of rear sprockets before heading over there. I found you need a special tool for the procedure.
I had made a three extra trapezoids for the robot body that I found left over as I was digging around for some cedar last week and I used part of it for the first small dog, giving it more of a robot look.
I decided to use the second half of the trapezoid for the larger dog but after I glued it together I decided that it really wanted to be a horse, especially with the knot-eye of the side of the head. Unfortunately, I had already added the sprocket collar. Not sure if I want to go to the trouble of taking it off or just have a horse with a collar. Hopefully, as I make more I'll find other animals as well.
The third piece is the most dog-like of the bunch. It is much softer and will be sculpted into a rounded head.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Lumber

Yesterday I made a fun trip to the lumber mill to see what I could find. As usual, I came back with some interesting pieces. From left to right, curly hard maple, 1-inch thick; 2 boards of flame yellow birch, 1-inch thick; curly soft(?) maple, 3-inches thick; curly soft maple, 1.5-inches; and curly hard maple, 2-inches.

I've never worked with yellow birch before but have notice that it can have some spectacular figure in it so I thought I would try it out. It is a little darker than maple, making it a little problematic for painting colors on it but I've decided to experiment with bleaching wood this time. Most of the maple that I picked up this time is very dark as well so I'll experiment bleaching it as well. I'm wondering how the bleach will affect the figure in the wood so will play with it on some small pieces first.

The 3-inch thick board has some spectacular figure in it but was extremely pricey ($12/board-ft). I had driven away from the lumber mill and made it about 4 miles down the road before I turned back to get it. I didn't want to buy it unless I had a specific plan and it took me that long to decide to make two sets of book-matched wedges - that is, I'll cut it in half so I have two sections about 4 feet long each, then resaw each section on an angle so that each half will be about 3 inches thick on one end and 0.5 inches on the other. Not sure what I'll do with the rest of the lumber yet but it was such a good deal I wasn't too worried about having a plan. Prices looked to be down around 20% from my last visit.