Firstly I create a small bird in wax. On this very small scale I am able to learn the anatomy of the Crane
Then figure out where the birds must barely touch each other allowing for steel to pass through one bird to the next
Each Crane is then enlarged to life, or larger than Life-Size from the measurements of this small version.
The armature follows the form and movement in each individual bird
The surface is worked until even the appearance of the fine covert feathers appear on the surface of the clay
Sequential flight is beginning to take form with each bird a part of the whole flock
The Scapular Coverts were achieved using a block of wood with natural grooves in it – the Primary and Secondary feathers are carved in clay
We cover each bird with plastic at night to keep the clay moist. Having finished all 12 birds, we made a plaster mold over each clay
From this plaster mold we are able to cast sections in resin, such as wings, legs, and the head etc..
Working to chip away the plaster is intricate. I toiled away under the hot Florida sun for weeks until all the details of the surface returned.
When reassembled, it is with this resin cast that we were able to hang the birds in the sequence of flight.
Once we had determined where each resin bird would attach invisibly to another, we took the model birds down.
Now we made a ‘rubber mold’ over the refined surface of the resin. This required a ‘mother mold’ of plaster over the rubber to keep the shape firm. With these new molds of the birds, we could now take a hot wax reproduction of each section. These hot wax pieces could now be cast into bronze by the lost wax system of Bronze Casting. Once cast into bronze the Cranes were attached by steel rods running through the voided space in the bronze birds to hold them in place.
There was a scramble to get this sculpture to HH Sultan Qaboos for his birthday, but we arrived in Muscat on time.
I was unable to be present at the installation. Bellow are pictures of the location in front of the summer palace overlooking the Straights of Oman..
This beautiful country is an exquisite example of a culture where peace reigns, kindness and curtesy is paramount, freedom of religion, and a ban on the death penalty.