They pay me for this?

snowman and lost friend by Kim Marchesseault  I think I was channeling Calvin from Calvin and Hobbs this day. Had a great time with my preschool students teaching Frosty Fun and talking about what happens to snow when the weather warms up. We have fun coming up with new projects for kids and play off of each other’s ideas at the art center.

Smooth reclining

whitereclining2_0094  Here’s that third sculpt of the reclining nude  in white clay with smooth finish. This is a quickie sculpture but the smoothing did take longer than the rough, tooled look. On this one I tried to capture the little smile on the model’s face and the way her arm pressed against her cheek. Great model.

Never drink water from the bathtub after you’ve peed in it.

This little tidbit of information was shared at snack-time from one four-year-old boy to another while I was handing out cups of water today in art class. I think it’s great advice. Thanks, kid!

Our angels -Thanks, kid!

OurAngels by Kim Marchesseault and Ruby I was struggling to finish this piece I dreamed of -one of my tasks, when a pre-school student of mine gave me a figurative sculpture of her own.

Her father said it was really important to her that she give this to me.  Thanks, kid.

Elena’s Kite

A few years ago I had a student at the art center where I teach named Elena who started coming to classes in her wheelchair with her Dad at age two. After many surgeries she eventually was able to walk using two crutches.

About two years ago she began coming to my preschool classes alone, using only one crutch.  She was so tiny we used to put a large cardboard box of markers under her so she could reach the table. When the other kids asked her why she wore a brace, she told them, “I can’t walk very well. My leg hurts.”

This class was based on a story called “The Leaf and the Wind” and for our final project we made mini kites out of coffee stir sticks and tissue paper shaped like leaves. Elena looked a little apprehensive. She told me, “Ms Marshmallow, (They call me Ms. Marshmallow because it’s so much easier to say and remember than Marchesseault and sounds similar) I can’t fly a kite because I can’t run. My brother has a kite, but I don’t because I can’t run.”

I said, “Don’t worry. You will be able to fly this little kite.”

We went into the hallway to get a drink from the water fountain and the other students wanted to help Elena, but she refused. She grabbed hold of the fountain, threw her crutch on the floor, stepped up and took her own drink of water. It was one of those moments in life you thank God you were there for.

Afterward we took our kites into the larger classroom next door and thanks to fellow teacher, Jewel’s brilliant idea, we set up a floor fan and Elena again threw her crutch on the floor. She stood still without her crutch in front of the fan with her little kite, guiding it as it flew in the breeze.

She was laughing and smiling. The other kids were running and swinging their kites around and taking turns in front of Elena’s fan with her.

Elena’s mother came to pick her up. She just stood in the doorway watching Elena for a long time.

They had been to the kite festival a few days before and it had been disappointing for Elena but now she had made her own kite that she could fly by herself. Elena’s mother was so happy. I told them to stay for as long as they wanted. They were still standing there in front of the fan with the kites when I left to go home that day. Another moment I thank God I was there for. Thanks, kid.

Just a quickie!

 blackunnamedreclining by Kim Marchesseault

I know it was fast, but was it good for you? It’s good for me!

This black clay is messy, but I love the results. It’s a challenge to complete a full body sculpture enough in one modeling session that it only requires some minor touch up afterward.  I add hair after the session so when I walk away from the group, this baby is bald! I’m trying to avoid obsessive detailing and pay attention to the overall lines of the piece.

I have to work faster, not only to push myself to a higher level of proficiency, but also because of the cost of modeling. We’re sharing a model in the Raleigh Sculptureblackunnamedreclining by Kim Marchesseault Group and she is doing the same pose for one more night. I hope to have a third sculpture of this pose in white clay at the end of that night. The models head and hips changed slightly during this second session. I like the position of the head much more like this compared to the first session in brown clay.

Working fast helps me with letting go of each piece. I know I can make more so it’s ok to say goodbye. It’s ok if one isn’t perfect. I can do better next time.

Casting in Bronze

Kim Marchesseault Bronze 

Here’s the first little nude bronze I ever cast right after breaking it free from its sand mold following a bronze pour in Moncure, NC last spring.

Kevin Eichner teaches this class through Central Carolina Community College that covers the basics of bronze.

It’s a lot of work.

We started with wax models of our piece, then added what Kevin called a pouring system, or sometimes it might be referred to as sprues made of bendable wax sticks. 

We mixed bags of sand and a two part epoxy in what looked like a cement mixer to create our sand mold material. We added large chains and other heavy metal items which we kept careful count of to the cement mixer to help break up any lumps. It was pretty smelly and dusty. We built wooden forms to suit the size of our pieces. ThKim grindingen we carefully packed our wax models into the sand mold material.

You can see on the tops of the remaining molds sitting around me that there is a large hole for pouring in the bronze and several small holes for the bronze to ooze out of, to purge all the air pockets. When the bronze contracts as it cools,  metal reserved inside of the pouring system is drawn into the cast art. This prevents pitting in the finished work.

The leftover bronze is made into ingots and used again for another pour. The piece has to be cleaned up. I am using a grinder here to remove sprues. You can polish and use bowling floor wax or apply a patina.

The leather coverings  I have on over my calves and shoes are part of the protective gear for pouring bronze. We wore leather overcoats, aprons, leggings, hair pulled back and a face shield.

Awesome experience.