Scaling up from the original
March 5, 2012
I'm back in China, same place, to make a couple more large figures. To start with, a reclining figure about 3.5 meters long.
Yesterday, my first day here, I confronted the big white styrofoam reclining figure ... always unsettling to see it in this phase ... until I work it, rework it, make friends with it and carry on with the plaster. Seems that it never looks quite right until I extend the arms and legs. Scaling up from the original changes the perspective and things that looked right in the small size, look wierd in large. (and everything looks wierd in styrofoam!)
Mr. Zang who is working with me ( I'm guessing he's about 25 years old), posed for me ... lots of laughs!
March 6, 2012
We put on the first layer of plaster on the bottom of the figure first, the nails as a guide to the estimated ideal depth (just to start with). The two guys Mr. Zhang and Mr. Fong helped me all day, mixing and laying the plaster and moving the piece around. We got into a good rhythm with the plaster. (They learned not to mix up so much, so fast for this old lady!) Plaster is so amazing, thickens and hardens in minutes.
We turned the piece over to see how it was laying and for some reason the legs were not flat on the table anymore so we had to cut off the legs again and realign them. Without the plaster, two people can pick it up. After some plaster we need a hoist to flip it around.
The same smiling old guy showed up to pick up and recycle the scrap styrofoam as would come 2 years ago. He greeted me with an exuberant "OIIIII!" and offered me a cigarette! He loads that cool old motorized cart to the max. I've noticed everyone in this area uses the scrap for all kinds of things, like furniture and tables. One guy had a big piece for standing on while floating in a pond fishing.
Tired at the end of this day and happy to lay in my warm bed!
Moving the big lady takes a hoist now
March 8, 2012
These guys are the best! lots of laughs and hard work. I've worked with all of them at one time or another. Today after lunch I was walking by the office and Liu Cheng called to me and said "tea?" and they were all gathered around to have chrysanthemum tea together during their lunch hour. Tea is made and served on a wood table that has a cut out indented area with a drain in the bottom of it. To heat the tiny cups, they pour hot water over the cups and on the table too.Then pour the steeped tea into each cup. We enjoyed rounds of tea and conversation together. Lily speaks some English but mostly I just grove on the good energy.
Moving the big lady takes a hoist now. The first rough layer of plaster, some problem areas with the legs and the popeye arms. There's always a way to make it right if I can figure it out. Everything is related to everything else. A lot more looking and thinking today.
I had a 4 word conversation in Chinese going all day with Mr. Fong. "plaster" ... "a little bit" and "add" or "reduce" and I understood him when he said "lunch" in Chinese. ( I'm surprised at how the words that I learn don't stick in my brain!)
Evolution of reclining figure
March 15, 2012
The reclining figure has come a long way since last week. Working it over and over, round and round, and eventually each problem is solved. Tanya Kukucka, an artist who has helped me in my studio often over the past several years. came last week and she is a godsend. Not only with the physical work but she gives great feedback about any issue that comes up. And we have a lot of fun!
The hands were a challenge, as usual. Trying to get them to hold the head right. I think we got it really well this time. And I love the toes! I place black paper where the eyes and mouth will go to see what it looks like. The eyes and mouth are cut out in the bronze.
It's been rainy and cold since I got here (except for two sunny days). Inside the industrial building with no heat feels colder than outside. Either I'm getting used to it or it's getting a little warmer.