The Colossal Other Side of Eden

It’s said a picture is worth a thousand words. The slide show gives just a small taste of all that has been involved in assembling and finishing the colossal Other Side of Eden.

This is the first work which appeared as that flash in my minds’ eye. It happened nearly four decades ago when I was sketching a dancer doing his grand jetes diagonally across the the studio. He crashed into the wall on the last one but I saw him go through the wall, or rather I saw this sculpture, complete and at this monumental size.

The work on this commission started in the autumn of 2014. My friend Glenn Campbell in West Rutland helped build the massive armature onto which the clay was modeled. That was transported down to my studio in two halves and assembled. The clay model was completed in the spring of 2015.

Then the rubber molds were made on the piece. Sectioned off into 54 separate parts by shims, several coats of rubber were applied with plaster back up molds. That process took 3 months.

Wax was then painted into the molds and those wax castings were gated and vented. Some of the wax castings needed to be cut into smaller sections as they became to heavy for me to lift in the ceramic shell room. I had installed hoists to lift the shells in and out of the slurry tank but by the sixth coat I could see that I would have trouble handling the ceramic shell molds. So in all there were 86 ceramic shell molds that were made.

Those molds were then dewaxed in the oven and then bronze was poured into them. This stage took five months. The shell molds would be removed the gates and vents cut off and then chased down. the sections that had been cut into smaller pieces were welded together and the surface chased to the original form.

The bronze sections then were assembled by welding both on the outside and inside. Those welds were then chased and finished. This stage though not quite complete has taken eight months of demanding concentration.

I expect that the work will be (hopefully) completed in a month. It has been hard to gauge the amount of time, it seems every step takes more time. The work will need to be lowered and the final top sections put on, then rolled out the doors and the last leg section welded on outside. The whole work must be sandblasted lightly to clean the surface before the patina is applied.

Once finished it will be transported to its home in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the garden of Eden of Tom and Mary Steffek Blaske.