(Caution: flashing/bright light) Quick work in progress action shot from the welding workshop!
Work in progress welded sculpture: Torso II (after Laocoön) made from reclaimed metal. It’s early days, so my arc welding skills won’t win any prizes, but I’m having lots of whale of a time learning!
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This is a video of my attempt to make a Cubist-inspired sculpture. It’s formed from a single A4 sheet of copper using a process I tentatively call ‘etch-forming’.
The intention is to provide ‘clues’ to the sculpture being a figure but without spelling it out for the viewer. It’s very much based on David Hockney’s comments about ‘seeing is memory’; that we construct what we are looking at from minute ‘fovial’ glimpses of things we focus on and then ‘stitch together’ with the peripheral objects that we don’t focus on, along with other archetypes dredged up from our memories.
I’ve still got further work to undertake to ensure the sculpture offers visual interest from every angle ‘in the round’, and my soldering skills definitely need improving, but I feel that the concept of using a technique associated with 2D printmaking to construct a 3D object offers potential.
I’m also keen to experiment with surface texture and tones, perhaps using other printmaking techniques such as aquatint/spit bite or copper patinas such as verdigris. These would allow me to play with other Cubist-inspired ideas, such as ‘what is in front’ versus ‘what is behind’, as well as trying to separate line, shape, value and form.
Longer term, I would hope to produce a series of these figures, each of which would be available as limited editions. I also have ambitions to produce them in varying sizes and materials/techniques; the first probably being welded scrap metal.
Music by @zelyg_band
I finally dug my arc welder out yesterday and had a go at running some practice beads across a piece of steel. I used 3 different widths of 6013 electrodes and experimented with different voltages, which goes some way towards explaining the variation in quality. Lack of experience and skill explains the rest, but it was great fun, and I got one ‘peel’. Yay! I need to keep practicing if I’m to try my hand at scrap metal sculpture again.
Earlier this week I took part in a 3 day Scrap Metal Workshop held in the Holyhead Ucheldre Centre and which was run by Graham Jenkinson, whose expertise and friendliness made it a really relaxed and thoroughly enjoyable affair.
It was great fun rooting through containers of metal, searching for pieces of scrap metal with interesting shapes and colours, then joining them together to form recognisable(?) objects.
There were about 6-8 of us attending each day, all of varied artistic backgrounds and ages , and most with little or no experience of welding, so it was a relief that the arc welder used to join the pieces together turned out to be far less daunting to operate than it first looked. What was most fascinating was to see the results of all creativity each day.
The two images attached are the results of my three days (as well as being my first attempts at producing gifs.)
All in all, it was great fun and I would highly recommend having a go!
My thanks to Phoenix Metals in Gaerwen, who were kind enough to donate some of the materials used.
(P.S. In case anyone is interested, I produced the gifs simply by:
1. taking several photographs
2. converting them to individual gif files using the free Paint.net (also making sure to optimise the image size for my blogging platform – n.b. WordPress)
3. dragging and dropping the converted images into the free UnFreez software in order to generate the gif
4. uploading the animated gif file to my blog (For info: WordPress required the gif images to be inserted ‘full size’ rather than ‘thumbnail’ in order for the animation to work))