Friday, January 22, 2010

Octopus On Ice


It was mixed use mediums of metal and mud this week in the studio. The tip of my middle finger I use for drawing is REALLY sore from all the sgraffito work! Wrapping my tools in athletic tape cushioned my finger which helped, though a bit too late. I think I'm going to get some of those pencil cushions for my tools. I got the Octopus commission cut and welded and now it’s just chillin’ out on the deck! The client wanted a rust patina finish on the sculpture and in the middle of the cold, dry winter it’s a bit more difficult to achieve than in the warmer, wetter, summer months. The client also expressed a great interest in the eye of the Octopus be just right, so I

took care to create it as best as I could. Creating the eye was fun because it’s one of my favorite parts of the sculptures. The client had seen another one of my Octopus sculptures and had wanted hers to be very similar. Fortunately, I had a digital image on file of the piece she had seen to work from.

To speed up the oxidation process of creating a rust patina I clean the steel of any protective grease and oil (the mill ships all the steel with a thin coating of oil so it DOESN’T rust) by using Kaboom bathroom cleaner –I’d NEVER use this stuff on anything in my bathroom because it works that good on my metal!

Kaboom actually acts as a corrosive and a great base to the commercial rust patina I use. I originally bought it at FartMart because it was really cheap, then discovered how well it worked on my metal. The extensive warning label actually warns AGAINST using Kaboom on “frosted glass, brass, aluminum, galvanized metal, natural marble, stone, Mexican Terra Cotta tiles, reglazed surfaces, fabrics and carpet”…not sure what’s left in most bathrooms.

The only ingredients listed are “Contains organic acids and surfactant” which are just perfect for cleaning and prepping Mr. Octopus! To achieve a nice rust finish, I’ll “weather” the Octopus outside for a few days, intermittently spraying a saline solution and fine sanding the details of the sculpture. Eventually the rust will become encapsulated enough allowing me to spray an enamel finish on the back and a clear coat on the front, especially around the eye and the front will get a final, fine finish sanding. I welded a reinforced frame and hanging washers on the back so the client can easily hang indoors or out. Probably on Tuesday or Wednesday I’ll be able to hang picture wire on the back, wrap him up and put him in a large bicycle box shipped from Alaska to Louisiana with love. I'm sure he'll be glad to head for warmer climbs and thaw out a bit!

10 comments:

chris said...

That octopus looks like it is crawling in the snow! It is so life-like! Your client will love it. Hope your finger is better.

ang said...

wow super creepy!! you have to take care of those fingers, you need them..

cookingwithgas said...

muddling about with mud and metal- what a great life!
I don't envy your snow!

Gary's third pottery blog said...

I could an octopus like that alright :)

Orion Designs said...

Another awesome piece Cindy. I love when you share the process with us here.

cindy shake said...

Hi all! thanks for reading and commenting :o)) It was fun to fire up the welder and plasma cutter again -though the shop was cold on my bones. I'm on a roll with the last of the sgraffito trays and am back at it with those -yaaaay! (with finger cushions)

Linda Starr said...

Beautiful octopus, amazing how you encourage the patina on your pieces, that kaboom stuff sounds lethal. wonder if one of those rubber covers like a thimble would work for your finger, the ones used for flipping pages more easily?

Christine B. said...

Hi Cindy,

Just stopped by Half Moon Creek yesterday looking for garden art. They mentioned your show was in May. I marked the calendar, I am looking forward to it!

I really enjoy your sea themed metal art (I have the halibut and the salmon group in my hallway). You nailed the octopus eye: I'm sure the client will be thrilled.

Christine in Anchorage

Charley said...

WOW! That is a very beautiful piece of art work...and you are right, the eye was spectacular! Too bad it was not a manatee! HA

Love,
Uncle Cool...

Patricia Griffin said...

Wow, your process is narly. I think you are such a STUDETTE! (and a wonderfuly artist too of course)