FLIGHT OF THE CRANES
Commissioned for His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman
A group of 12 larger than life-size Cranes, the flock of birds taking flight. Each of these beautiful creatures has a wingspan of 9’ft, and the entire sculpture is 50’ft in length.
I was unable to be on site for the installation and thus unable to obtain a good photograph of the finished sculpture, however, in the pictures below I illustrate the stages of creating this sculpture commission, the largest I have ever undertaken… plus a link to the poem that I wrote – Flight of the Cranes – presented in a leather bound book from Asprey’s to Sayyid Qaboos bin Al Said, Sultan of Oman – leader of a country I greatly revere
This sculpture of Sandhill Cranes, together with the poem, speak of the inspiration I felt while watching this magnificent bird take to the sky – POEM
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
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..
Work 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.
It has been an honor to make sculptures for this exemplary society