I've started gluing the glass into the channels I carved in the sculpture. I'm using a flexible silicone glue so that when the wood expands and contracts the glass doesn't break or come off. What I must learn to do is leave it to dry fully before I start neatening up the edges .... otherwise, if I find a little extra bit and pull it, the whole nicely sealed edge comes away and I have to start again!
Last Monday I moved my sculpture to the Nottingham Workshop
Since then I've been working on embedding the glass into the wood. I've got to give the heavier pieces some support so that they stay attached when the sculpture's in place in the new courtyard.
It's fiddly work and it's taking longer than I thought it would, but it's nice when I get a piece to fit well.
Making the first cut in the smooth wooden form was a bit of a wrench! All the weeks of indecision had to come to an end - there was definitely no going back once I'd started to make that first cut!
I think the wooden part of the sculpture is pretty much as I want it now.
Over the last few days I've been working out how the pieces of glass I made with Ingrid Pears fit around the sculpture. After several different configurations I think I've got a plan!
It has meant being brave and breaking up some of the glass pieces so that they fit around the curve of the wood better.
This is surprisingly low-tech - dunk glass and fine-toothed saw blade in water, score glass with saw, put on thick gloves and snap the glass. If I've done it right then it breaks with a satisfying little pop! If I haven't scored it enough, or it's a really thick piece, when I try to snap it then it feels more like my wrists or shoulders will go pop ... then I resort to hitting it with a hammer over a hard edge.
Then I take the sharp edges off with wet and dry paper so I don't cut myself when I go back to arranging the glass over the wood.
There's a layer of woodchips an inch thick all around my workbench. They go amazing colours on the wet studio floor. A rich dark red leaches out of the wood that's been soaking up water for some days. You could probably use the chips as a dye, in places the floor looks almost bloody.
Here's how the sculpture is looking at the moment. It's starting to take shape now, although there's a lot of refining to do before I can decide whether it will be smooth or still have the gouge marks showing.
Here are a couple of pictures of the sculpture's progress from block to rounded shape. There's a way to go before it becomes a shape I'm happy with, but the grain and the colours in the wood are beautiful!
I’m wearing as many layers as I can! After half an hour of sawing I'm usually warm enough to take off my hat, and a bit later I can sometimes even do without my coat (at least for a while). I’m really glad of the two pairs of thick socks though, no matter how much carving and sawing I do the warmth doesn’t get to my toes.
The main surprise is how dark it is. I managed to clear a window in the 4 inch deep snow on the studio roof to let in some more light, but I’m really noticing how little daylight there is at the moment.
The sculpture progresses nicely, here are a couple of pictures:
The sawdust I’m making is shades of pastel pink and yellow, a bit like those fruit salad sweets you used to be able to buy. It doesn’t smell like them though! This might sound odd, but I am enjoying the smell of damp wood in the studio. When the carving is complete I’ll bring it to the house to help it dry, I’m hoping the sudden change in humidity will give it some interesting splits down its length (about the opposite of how you would normally try to dry wood out!)
About this blog
This blog, by Sarah Fiander, is about making sculpture.