Before we get to Chicago…
A month has gone by, I’m starting to feel that time is no longer limitless. My daily routine includes the bike ride to the factory. The fall here has been beautiful, the leaves are just beginning to change. My route includes passing these beautiful water towers, day and night.
Kohler water towers
Stepping out from women’s locker room, I have to walk between these tubs that are moving in both directions on an overhead conveyor. I quickly don my earplugs and diligently look both ways.
Tubs on their way to enameling
More casting is happening, I’m working a little larger. And even though I tell my students – the larger one works, the longer it takes, I ignore my own advice. My next few molds are large. And, I am often working alone at night and weekends. I can’t just wait around for Garrett Krueger (the iron shop technician) to return to his regular M-F 9-5 hours. So I lumber about in my own way, not always knowing what I’m doing. Last week, my big problem was making molds that were so big I can’t even budge one let alone move one by myself. I figured that each mold was over 250 lbs. I’m working in the studio, say, on a Sunday. There is hardly anyone in the factory and I can work pretty much all day and it seems not a soul walks by. But, when some one does, I nearly assault them with, “…hey, can you help me for a moment?” Little do they know, they’ve volunteered to help me move these gigantic, cumbersome and abrasive molds, AFTER their shift is over. The first thing on my Monday morning question list to Garrett is “how do I install trunnions and use the hoist so I can move these by myself?”
With some help, I did manage to get these four huge molds strapped to the casting cart, ready for an iron pour the next day, Monday. And how did I move them?
This is Tom the deer/bow hunter guy, making fun of me (but really making sure I won’t take a Kohler fixture or something, out).
Driving them to the iron pour site. I love driving the forklift! Any excuse!
Molds are too big for the hand-held crucible. I love the hot metal splashing everywhere!
With casting comes a lots of grinding! I don’t have a good picture of the castings from this pour but I do have a story:
I spent nearly a whole day cutting off gates (large sprues that the metal runs through to feed the piece), grinding off flashing, and general grinding with pneumatic tools and huge body grinders I can barely lift. Sweat is running down my face under my dust mask, into my eyes under my safety glasses, down my arms and my back. I am hot, miserable, and filthy. Garrett strolls by and says, “wanna try the air-vent hood?”
This is a magnificent hood thingy that feels like an astronaut’s bubble – soft and comfy inside, adjusts to my head perfectly. Full face protection and no need for a dust mask. Cool fresh air is constantly flowing through the hood. I am in heaven! I can grind ALL DAY! Even though I’m still wearing my earplugs, and still can barely lift the grinder, I hear this soft hissing of cool air surrounding my entire head and shoulders. It’s the nicest piece of safety equipment I’ve ever experienced.
I continued to grind all the next day. People commented on how long I was grinding!
You can see two halves of one of my pieces to the left.
On to Chicago!
Mary and Curt Enderle fly to Chicago. I rent a car and pick them up at O’hare. Our goal is to see some art and eat deep dish pizza at Pizzeria Uno.
We begin at the Art Institute of Chicago and are immediately overwhelmed!
We spend most of our time in the modern wing and the Rene Magritte exhibition (sorry, no photography allowed) “Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938”. Beautifully produced, we saw works I’ve never seen reproduced in books. It was breathtaking.
Some highlights for me:
Motherwell, “Wallpainting with Stripes”, 1944
Kikki Smith, “Blood Pool”, 1992
David Hockney, “American Collections (Fred and Marcia Weisman)”, 1968
Lee Bontecou, “Untitled”, 1960 (this one was particularly moving to both Mary and I)
Steer Horn Armchair, 1870/80, probably Texas (decorative arts)
De Scott Evans, “The Irish Question”, 1880’s tromp l’oiel
Elevator Grille from the Chicago Stock Exchange, 1893-94, ALDER AND SULLIVAN (architects), copper plated cast iron
Anish Kapoor’s “Cloud Gate” in Millenium Park on Michigan Ave.
There is so much more that we saw, I could spend hours showing you more.
Next, a few quick pictures of some funny things we came across in Delavan, WI, visiting my Aunt Helene. A slice of Wisconsin:
Salad bar, including blue jello
Little Debbie still going strong in the grocery store
Wisconsin magazine rack
Everyone’s a Packers fan!
Till next time!