Monday, September 29, 2008

Where the hell are we?

I know, I know, everyone wants to know what happened next but before we move on I thought I would review what has happened so far.

So here we are again...a blank canvas.

Janine and I bending steel to make those eels. In the end I think we made over 120 eels, though we never quite got a conclusive number that we all agreed on.

Welding the frame took about three days. My welding assitant almost never used eye protection, he just kind of squinted a lot. Even though I wasn't welding I still had multiple burns and red sore eyes from being close by.

Once the skeleton started taking shape we started adding chicken wire to the eel forms so the clay would stick and hold.

Aaahh we had so much fun attaching the wire...not! One hundred and twentyish eels means more than one hundred and twenty squares of chicken wire to cut and attach. I would come home looking like I had been attacted by a prickle bush, covered in scratches and punctures.

We finally finished the armiture and took the chance to put the two halves together and wow! The consensus was that it was going to look great.

Adding the clay to one of the first eels. In this photo I'm working from the inside which is tight and progressively gets tighter as the clay goes on and the eels get bigger. I and everyone else that worked inside the sculpture found out that IT IS NOT GOOD FOR THE BODY!

The first eel finished was cause for a little celebratory dance around the place (crazy Kiwis). The eel heads are made with moulds from home that I packed in with my underwear and socks. Surprisingly they survived the journey which made the work a lot easier. The heads are moulded and the bodies are sculpted by hand.

The most annoying part of making this sculpture has been the wrapping and unwrapping of the thing. Because we are working in thirty degree+ heat the clay doesn't last more than half an hour in the open air without drying and cracking. This meant every time we stopped work, even for lunch, we had to wrap each and every eel in plastic. And again, we had to unwrap when work restarted. As you can see in the photo above we didn't actually see the sculpture as an unwrapped whole untill right at the end.

The first complete view of the bottom half of 'Hinaki' reveals that there will be at least a days worth of finishing touches to complete. The realization of just how complicated this sculpture will be to take a mold from begins to dawn. Incidently, this is about time my dreams really start getting really wierd (see earlier entry). It is also around about the time the first of the sculptors begin to finish their first work and some begin their second( I have only finished the bottom half of my first). They are all very sympathetic.

Here Chao and Changchun are spraying down the nearly finished top half of Hinaki with water, maybe for the last time. Even though the pressure is really on to finish there is a strong since of pride amonst the dream team. No matter what happens during the next week or so with the fibre glass mould, right now it looks amazing. We are so close to finishing!

This is a very good day. Everyone involved and none more than I are so excited that it is finally finished. I put all of my worries about making the fibre glass to the back of my mind to just enjoy the moment.
Oh yeah!

After 31 days of blood, sweat, tears, a lot of hard work and no full days off, the clay version of 'Hinaki' is finally finished. Over the next four days we rest and recouperate. I take my dream team out to lunch and say goodbye as they are all heading back to their uni studies. Meanwhile the 'moulders' have started their work on 'Hinaki' and the grand opening looms.

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