Creekside Wall

Creekside Wall
Indiana Limestone, Steel
200′ x 8′

Myself and my crew (including my son Dorian) spent almost two years building this park, on site, every day. We did all the stonework that isn’t at grade level and isn’t attached to a building.

Creekside Wall
Indiana Limestone, Steel
200′ x 8′

The walls we built with limestone quarry blocks are functional as well as unique. And the walls were far less than poured and molded concrete would have been.

Creekside Wall
Indiana Limestone, Steel
200′ x 8′

It was a two year ordeal, through all weathers. The lifting straps would freeze to the ground every night, so we would prop the loops open at the end of each day’s shift and lift them with the crane when we got there each morning.

Creekside Wall
Indiana Limestone, Steel
200′ x 8′

Each block was set on three bags of ice, which allowed us to get the lifting straps free and to settle each block perfectly into place as the ice melted. We were a crew of three; Kevin melted the bags and pried the pry bar, Dorian operated the jack hammer, and I directed the show.

Creekside Wall
Indiana Limestone, Steel
200′ x 8′

The blocks were fit together with this method with no joints between them at all. This allowed for great friction, and with the addition of steel strapping we were able to make these walls totally load bearing without being ugly.

Creekside Wall
Indiana Limestone, Steel
200′ x 8′

A channel was dug to creek depth (almost), and filled with a concrete footer of major import. My stones rested on this footer. The footer was leveled by engineers to within 1/4″ over two hundred feet.

Creekside Wall
Indiana Limestone, Steel
200′ x 8′

During the time we spent building these walls, we developed a great team, and skills that are hard to quantify. Blazing through limestone to make a park… ya better measure up. All year long. We adjusted each block to fit against the other, one at a time, test fitting with a crane. We did well to fot and place one block in a day. There are over two hundred blocks in these walls.

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Creekside Wall
Indiana Limestone, Steel
200′ x 8′

My son, Dorian, on the right, is schooled in subtle action by the crane operator, Buck, and ex Marine. Dorian measured up every step of the way.

Creekside Wall
Indiana Limestone, Steel
200′ x 8′

This is a view from the parking garage, taken during construction. You can see how we have shaped and strapped the stones together.

Creekside Wall
Indiana Limestone, Steel
200′ x 8′

This photo was taken by me, in the driver’s seat of the lift, as Dorian nudged the stone, carefully shaped by himself after many test fittings and shapings, into place. It also reveals the tighteness of our joints.

Creekside Wall
Indiana Limestone, Steel
200′ x 8′

None of the Wall was an accidental fit. Everything had been drawn and planned, by myself and the engineers hired for the occassion, to be made so. Making it so required great exertion. Here Dorian is preparing for the next stone to fit tightly.

Creekside Wall
Indiana Limestone, Steel
200′ x 8′

Making this park and wall was a heroic experience. Nothing like I could ever have hope for. All the details are fragments of stories. I am grategful to have been part of this civic project.

 

 

 

Creekside Wall
Indiana Limestone, Steel
200′ x 8′

The cracks between the huge stones became important places. The stone of the walls are so thick we decided to play them up, and built tunnels of light to illuminate some of the mos significant cracks. This is an example of what we built. It is now buried under the upper story.

Creekside Wall
Indiana Limestone, Steel
200′ x 8′

Building the eventually underground crack/imagination places was a blast. The tube in the photo is mirror polished stainless steel rolled into a tube to try to channel sunlight down into the imagination crack. The idea was that viewers from the outside would see light coming through the ground.

Creekside Wall
Indiana Limestone, Steel
200′ x 8′

Each of these stones was hand split to fit and made to fit on site.

Creekside Wall
Indiana Limestone, Steel
200′ x 8′

This is a test shot of the park just before it opened.

Creekside Wall
Indiana Limestone, Steel
200′ x 8′

All that effort, and look at tye tiny plants, just then getting started…

Creekside Wall
Indiana Limestone, Steel
200′ x 8′

The fellow in the pond is.. fishing? One of my hat feathers, two years building this park. I would love to do another.

Creekside Wall
Indiana Limestone, Steel
200′ x 8′

These blocks weigh between twelve and forty thousand pounds each, and myself and my crew got them to fit like this. Good job crew!

Whack, Whack, Patty Whack

Whack, Whack Patty Whack
Indiana Limestone
12′ x 5′ x 5′
Carved in three weeks at the Kettering International Sculpture Symposium with the help of Jack Oliver.

Carved in commemoration of 9/11 during the first International Symposium held in the United States. A dog and a cat are fighting on the back of a tortoise, and a little girl is running away, her hands over her ears, frightened.

Whack, Whack Patty Whack
Indiana Limestone
12′ x 5′ x 5′
Carved in three weeks at the Kettering International Sculpture Symposium with the help of Jack Oliver.

The contractors hired to move the 25,000 pound piece did a great job. I watched and kept my mouth shut. They knew what they were doing, and they knew I was watching with a camera. The original block weighed almost 45,000 pounds.

Whack, Whack Patty Whack
Indiana Limestone
12′ x 5′ x 5′
Carved in three weeks at the Kettering International Sculpture Symposium with the help of Jack Oliver.

The face of the tortoise is patterned after the style of the Maya.

Bronze commemorative plaque.

Ya gotta dig yer own historical plaque. Heck yeah!

Indiana Limestone
12′ x 5′ x 5′
Carved in three weeks at the Kettering Stone Symposium with the help of Jack Oliver.

The Symposium was held in public, with artists from eight countries participating. We all carved all day together, ate together, drank together, and had a great time getting to know each other and performing for the public. Great experience.

Indiana Limestone
12′ x 5′ x 5′
Carved in three weeks at the Kettering Stone Symposium with the help of Jack Oliver.

My piece is installed in front of the Community Center of Kettering. It is very well taken care of. Nice job, Kettering!

Whack, Whack Patty Whack
Indiana Limestone
12′ x 5′ x 5′
Carved in three weeks at the Kettering International Sculpture Symposium with the help of Jack Oliver.

All publicly owned work is an honor for the artist. I am grateful for all the opportunities to create publicly owned Art I have had. Art is a gift to the future, and I hope my input helps contribute toward peace and empathy.

Goodale Park Column

I used to live across the street from this column over twenty years ago and have wanted to redo it ever since.
I used to live across the street from this column over twenty years ago and have wanted to redo it ever since.

This column in Goodale Park in Columbus, Ohio, originally installed in 1899, has deteriorated badly. I have been commissioned by a Centennial Preservation Group to re-carve the heads. My proposal is to rebuild the missing parts with clay and then to re-carve new sandstone blocks to match the clay.

The heads on the nearby gate have fared much better, as they are under a roof.
The heads on the nearby gate have fared much better, as they are under a roof.

The gate and column were a gift in 1899 to the City’s first park. The original meanings of the column animals have been lost to time, although we do know that the eight human heads on the gate represent the eight stages of Man. The carving is masterful, and does not resemble any other carving in the Columbus area, that I know of. We know nothing of the original artist.

The animal heads as they have appeared for decades.
The animal heads as they have appeared for decades.

The tooling on the buff sandstone has survived remarkably well, and demonstrates the level of the craftsmanship brought to this column. The heads are about 9′ off the ground- too high to touch. The wear is likely from acid rain and the burning of coal for so many decades.

The lift operator was not bad, but not overly confident. I think he may have needed a change of underwear after this.
The lift operator was not bad, but not overly confident. I think he may have needed a change of underwear after this.

The cap came off easily, and we set it aside. After we had picked the section with the heads and put it on my truck, we put the cap back for safekeeping while the restoration is done in my studio.

Note the pattern on the cap- impeccable craftsmanship.
Note the pattern on the cap- impeccable craftsmanship.

Playing with big lifts and heavy things is always exciting. Although no one can really see it, the scalloped top is textured with one continuous spiral line from top to bottom.

You don't know what you've got til it's gone...
You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone…

This is the only original photo the historical committee could give me. Detail must be inferred. It is agreed the animal on the left is probably a panther, and that the one on the right is a lion. The ram, not show here, is extent enough to know it is a ram, but the fourth head was badly deteriorated and no known photo exists.

Kind of scary, kind of silly.
Kind of scary, kind of silly.

The ears, the eyes, a bit of the for head, and a grainy photo are all there is to go on, but that’s enough to conclude it was a stylized panther.

Some thought this one may have been a camel.
Some thought this one may have been a camel.

Part of an eye, droopy ears, and a bit of forehead seem to indicate the subject was a dog. No known photographs exist.

This one is very different from the rest- symmetrical, not terribly rotted, and not very expressive in the eyes.
This one is very different from the rest- symmetrical, not terribly rotted, and not very expressive in the eyes.

The ram is pretty much intact, and a hint at the style that may have been used for the other heads, although it does seem very different.

I don't think anybody passing by would have seen this as an animal head.
I don’t think anybody passing by would have seen this as an animal head.

The lion head featured a bit of an ear, some mane, and pits indicating the height of the eyes. The source photo and the extent remains indicate this was a lion. Here I have started on the lion, and on the left is an early version of the panther.

Old toothless, we used to call him.
Old toothless, we used to call him.

Using an oil-based clay that gets softer with heat (I use an old Sunbeam electric skillet), I rebuilt the heads in full scale in my shop. This is an early stage of the panther. The lion is on the right, the dog on the left. The sandstone blocks are 16 1/2″ tall.

I could not think of another animal with front-facing eyes and floppy ears. Can you?
I could not think of another animal with front-facing eyes and floppy ears. Can you?

I was able to get a good start by making the right begin to mirror the left. At this stage I had to commit to something, and felt that the only defensible choice was a dog.

The eyes don't focus on a single point- they look in two different directions, intentionally.
The eyes don’t focus on a single point- they look in two different directions, intentionally.

The red sandstone is the original carver’s work. I have tried throughout to do what I could to work in his style more than my own. I’ve learned during this process several pointers from the past.

The lion was the hardest. Not having the eyes made getting the expression a challenge.
The lion was the hardest. Not having the eyes made getting the expression a challenge.

The lion, nearly complete. I will add textural details in the sandstone when I recarve them.

Rather concerned for a dog, but I guess dog's can be concerned about life , too.
Rather concerned for a dog, but I guess dog’s can be concerned about life , too.

The dog is as animated as I could get him, given the restraints.

I patterned his sneer from Elvis's.
I patterned his sneer from Elvis’s.

I gave the panther a sneer, as the eyes sort of implied that, as did the source photo. He struck me as a tease, a mischief maker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creekside Mosaic Fountain

 

Creekside Mosaic Fountain
Glass, Indiana limestone, Concrete
40′ x 4′ x 10′

James is doing the lowdown in this shot. This was a LOT of bending over, meticulously. Very fun and mesmerizing to do. The textured substrate made it a challenge.

Creekside Mosaic Fountain
Glass, Indiana limestone, Concrete
40′ x 4′ x 10′

The finished mosaic, before the opening. Just over 45,000 tiles went into this- each one hand placed, and where necessary, hand cut to fit.

Creekside Mosaic Fountain
Glass, Indiana limestone, Concrete
40′ x 4′ x 10′

I envisioned the underlying substrate to read almost as letters of a strange language under the mosaic fountain. I wanted something that would reflect light in the winter and still be interesting without water.

Creekside Mosaic Fountain
Glass, Indiana limestone, Concrete
40′ x 4′ x 10′

In order to keep tight joints, we started in the middle and worked our way out. Getting ahead of the growth only makes closing the resultant gaps nearly impossible to do well.

Creekside Mosaic Fountain Glass, Indiana limestone, Concrete 40' x 4' x 10'
Creekside Mosaic Fountain
Glass, Indiana limestone, Concrete
40′ x 4′ x 10′

At night, lit, the mosaic is a beautiful and soft guide into the park.

 

 

 

Comfest Sculpture

This was the first pice, and consisted of 49pieces I had installed the day before the opening; when I got there the next day, there were 48 pieces. Really?
This was the first piece, and consisted of 49 pieces I had installed the day before the opening; when I got there the next day, there were 48 pieces. Really?

Comfest is a big deal in Columbus, Ohio. Each summer volunteers put on three days of music, activist opportunities, and fun. Last year the organizers decided to add sculpture and asked me to participate. I had these pieces left over from roughing out an earlier piece, and drilled them and glued in steel pins on one end. They were easy to plunge into the soft ground to build ever changing sculptures, some made by me alone, others with the help of the festival goers.

This is a different view of the first sculpture.
This is a different view of the first sculpture.

For three days I made a constantly evolving piece, with the help of the community. It was a lot of fun, and there were some interesting conversations and interactions. Doing Art in public is a riot.

Circling the square?
Circling the square?

The square gave way to the circle., one piece at a time. Each post weighs about thirty pounds. At the end of each day I was definitely feeling it.

Oh my, the pins hold them even if they are not plumb. Discovery!
Oh my, the pins hold them even if they are not plumb. Discovery!

This piece was done by gently tossing the posts through the air and letting them land as they may. I wish I had taken a video of this one. Several of us plucking the posts from the circle and tossing them around. Good times. Would have made great video.

Chaos gives way to grace.
Chaos gives way to grace.

This version is so relaxed it almost looks drunken.

Occuping a lot of space sculpturally with only a little material is the goal.
Occuping a lot of space sculpturally with only a little material is the goal.

After I had completed this one, a man approached and performed an amazing feat- he leaped them al, on after the other, without stopping and without blowing a single landing.

The construction by a human indicating that a human was here. Strange urge.
The construction by a human indicating that a human was here. Strange urge.

Another view.

I took a break and came back to find that volunteers had converted the last piece to this one.
I took a break and came back to find that volunteers had converted the last piece to this one.

It was hilarious to watch the would-be ninjas try to balance on these structures, clearly a bit buzzed… not.

Ashley did his best not to indicate signs of fear.
Ashley did his best not to indicate signs of fear.

My friend Ashley came by (wonderful painter) and asked if I would do him as a chalk outline. He got way more than he asked for. No bumping the sculpture allowed!

Houdini!
Houdini!

And then he managed to crawl out without disturbing a single stone. Go Ashley!

(Ashely's view)
(Ashely’s view)

Now ask yourself- how did he get out of there? Not for the faint of heart. He was VERY slow about it, I must say.

I had the able help of painter Jonathon Ryan on this one, and a couple others. Thanks Jonathon, that was fun!
I had the able help of painter Jonathon Ryan on this one, and a couple others. Thanks Jonathon, that was fun!

That is all balance, and in a very public and crowded space. Majestic, it was. And all by eye. No measuring tools were used throughout the festival.

Another view.
Another view.

This one occupied the most space and took the longest time to make. Very tricky- and very cool.

Fred Astaire!
Fred Astaire!

This subtle piece was done by a volunteer. I dig it.

This was Ashley's idea, and several of us made it. Thanks Comfest!
This was Ashley’s idea, and several of us made it. Thanks Comfest!

Peace, Art, and good times on a summer day. Wonderful.

Sentinels as the crowd thins and the festival closes.
Sentinels as the crowd thins and the festival closes.

Ihad a great time. Thanks Comfest. What for next year, eh?

Easton Dog Clownfish

Indiana Limestone, Copper
Life Size

Another of the Easton Children’s Fountain pieces. this is my Basset Hound discovering that his tail has been taken over by the Magic Clownfish above.

Indiana Limestone, Copper
Life Size

The Magic Clownfish laughs and laughs, and the Basset just gets more and more flustered.

Indiana Limestone, Copper
Life Size

Oh my, it’s all so fun!

United Traveler’s Monument Moving to Goodale Park

United Travelers Monument Moving to Goodale Park
Granite
Carved in 1906
Catalogued by the Smithsonian
Don’t break it, bubba
14′ tall

This was originally located where it is now- this post is me in charge of moving this historic monument across Park Street and back to its original location in Goodale Park in Columbus, Ohio. It had been moved across the street at some point in the past for reasons I don’t know, and when Ron Pizzuti bought the building where the monument had been moved to to house his collection, the monument had to be moved back. I was hired to engineer and supervise the move.

United Travelers Monument Moving to Goodale Park
Granite
Carved in 1906
Catalogued by the Smithsonian
Don’t break it, bubba
14′ tall

We scaffolded the entire thing and build a frame of 4 x 4’s to stabilize the columns, and lifted the top section in one piece. A crane set it on a steel plate on a waiting massive forklift, and it was driven across the street. We had already moved and reassembled the base, piece by piece.

 

United Travelers Monument Moving to Goodale Park
Granite
Carved in 1906
Catalogued by the Smithsonian
Don’t break it, bubba
14′ tall

This is the completed monument in its original location, chip free. Mission accomplished.

United Travelers Monument Moving to Goodale Park
Granite
Carved in 1906
Catalogued by the Smithsonian
Don’t break it, bubba
14′ tall

We used a ninety-ton crane to move it the 65 feet from the street to the original footer. Here you see it is in the air and being moved, delicately, into place.

United Travelers Monument Moving to Goodale Park
Granite
Carved in 1906
Catalogued by the Smithsonian
Don’t break it, bubba
14′ tall

It is placed. A member of the  crane crew is disassembling the belts. A huge sigh of relief is released.

United Travelers Monument Moving to Goodale Park
Granite
Carved in 1906
Catalogued by the Smithsonian
Don’t break it, bubba
14′ tall

This is where it had been stored- in a parking lot .

Easton Ladybugs

Indiana Limestone, Bronze, Copper
Dimensions variable

The school marm worm in the apple seems to have had her fill of the students today. No matter how studious the teacher’s pet.

Indiana Limestone, Bronze, Copper
Dimensions variable

Man, I loved an all day sucker when I was a kid. And I loved having fun creating this preschool for the kids. These were there for several years. Hundreds of thousands of kids saw, touched, and maybe, remember them.

 

Indiana Limestone, Bronze, Copper
Dimensions variable
Indiana Limestone, Bronze, Copper
Dimensions variable

“Holy cow, mom! Ya ever see a balloon this big?” says the bug.

Indiana Limestone, Bronze, Copper
Dimensions variable

Preschool for the ladybugs of Easton Town Center. Everybody is paying attention.

Indiana Limestone, Bronze, Copper
Dimensions variable

Even the gymnasts are welcome, boisterous though they may be. But notice… no skateboarders.

Indiana Limestone, Bronze, Copper
Dimensions variable

Every chance for the critters to not roll of the pier post has been eliminated, and yet none of them have fallen. Must be the modern generation just doesn’t know how to behave.

Indiana Limestone, Bronze, Copper
Dimensions variable

Artists are always in awe.

Indiana Limestone, Bronze, Copper
Dimensions variable

I had so much fun imagining myself in kindergarten and picturing what kindergartners do with this project. I love that age.

Indiana Limestone, Bronze, Copper
Dimensions variable

Remember playing with the wooden blocks with numbers on them? I do. I loved those blocks.

Indiana Limestone, Bronze, Copper
Dimensions variable

Goodnight Moon…

First Responders Memorial

Cast Stainless Steel, Granite
Cast Stainless Steel, Granite

I was commissioned to create the focal sculpture for an Ohio park dedicated to our nation’s fallen First Responders. I created hundreds of different images of people doing very ordinary things; all of the poses are the sorts of things we all do every day, from walking the dog to playing a trumpet. I wanted to convey that any of us could have been targeted that day. Being asked to create a memorial sculpture for an event like 9/11 is beyond an honor; I felt an obligation to not only those that died that day, but to those of us living and doing our best not to forget. Working as a public sculptor is to be part of a memorial tradition as old as civilization.

Cast and Fabricated Stainless Steel, Granite
Cast and Fabricated Stainless Steel, Granite

Several of the first responders from New York’s Fire and Police departments came for the dedication.

Cast and Fabricated Stainless Steel, Granite
Cast and Fabricated Stainless Steel, Granite

The figures were each first drawn on paper, and then cut from sheet wax, which was then shaped and cast in stainless steel. Each stainless plate was then welded to the others to create a large steel “flame”.

Cast Stainless Steel, Granite
Cast Stainless Steel, Granite

Because the final sculpture has so many edges to catch the cover, a custom canvas cover was made to the right shape. After a few test runs the officer in charge of the unveiling figured out a technique, and the unveiling at the ceremony came off with no struggles.

Cast Stainless Steel, Granite
Cast Stainless Steel, Granite

The Honor Guard stood at attention for nearly an hour, amazingly motionlessly. They conveyed everything such an effort is expected to convey, and then some.

Cast Stainless Steel, Granite
Cast Stainless Steel, Granite

The architecture, lighting, granite, and fountain works were done by others, and they all did a fantastic job. Thanks guys!

 

Cast Stainless Steel, Granite
Cast Stainless Steel, Granite

These photos were all taken at the dedication by my daughter Amber, then fifteen.

Cast Stainless Steel, Granite
Cast Stainless Steel, Granite

If I remember, later I will crop this picture.

Cast Stainless Steel, Granite
Cast Stainless Steel, Granite

The piece at night casts amazing shadows on the entire area, and shimmers as the lights pass through the rippling water.

Cast Stainless Steel, Granite
Cast Stainless Steel, Granite

Thank you to everybody involved with this park!