Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Here there be Dragons!

Uncle Ferrous Clusterfrack's Backwoods Fine Arts Seminar series.
Howdy all! Today's lesson will be on the slowest way to complete someone else's metal sculpture while still ruining their artistic vision for the piece. Joke, joke...well maybe not. Well over a year ago I began to finish a large yard-art metal sculpture project that had been the final work of a dear friend, Chuck Jacobs. Chuck, who was a professional woodworker, had tried the 'dragon' piece as his first foray into metal sculpture. Chuck passed away before he could complete the beast, and his widow Betsey wanted the piece finished as a memorial.
Here is the dragon in Chuck's shop shortly after I began to work on it. The globe is about three feet in diameter, and the dragon is three feet or so as well. I started out working on scales as my intro to the project.
Scales, scales, scales. They start out as three foot pieces of mild steel strap which I have cut from sheets at a local shop. I then cut the strap to length, clip the ends to rough shape, finish shaping on a bench grinder, tweak the scale to fit its place on the dragon, bend in the tip curve, and finally weld it on; phew, about five to six minutes per. I generally make about a dozen rough scales in a batch, then fit and attach them. Then repeat...

I got a fair amount of work done on the beast in this first phase, then Chuck and Betsey's house and shop were sold and I took the dragon(and my own hairy self) to crafty Nancy's place. It had been a pretty nice place until I ghettoized with moto-shades, piles of lumber, derelict sailboats, and the odd dead car or two and now a big ol' crazy sculpture thingy. Well, the move was not conducive to progress on the project and it languished until about six weeks ago.

The arrival of the sun was a boon to this outdoor welding enthusiast. I have been able to make good progress on scaling, and on the lower legs and claws.

The claws were time consuming but great fun to zap up, what with all that scary lumpy jaggeldy dragon-hide goodness. It's the end of March and I have a few more hours on scale duty, then it's off to the races with the wings. The final bit will be a slight modification of the globe base. The dragon should be snarling away at the Selma Community Center by mid-spring.
Yippee, and out; sez kelly.

1 comment:

  1. Kelly is the Hugh Jackman of Cave Junction, what a freakin' STUD!