Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Duncarrick Mansion sculpture

Here are the steps of how I created a sculpture of the Duncarrick Mansion as part of my commission to create six sculptures for the ReImagining Works project of the Dayton Metro Library

Duncarrick Mansion - Darren Kall - Property of Dayton Metro Library
Dayton Waterworks and Duncarrick Mansion sculptures - Darren Kall - Property of Dayton Metro Library
The sculpture is cutout sheet aluminum approximately 33in H, 45in W, .25in D. The sculptures are integrated into the fence of the new reading terrace of the Electra C. Doren Branch Library. Each panel depicts a different Old North Dayton landmark. As part of the ReImagining Works project the community chose Charles Sheeler's Stacks in Celebration painting from the permanent collection of the Dayton Art Institute as the inspiration for this project. I interpreted Sheeler's fractured cubist sky with my sky sections of lines of different thicknesses. 

Unlike some of my other sculpture subjects Duncarrick Mansion still stands. I remember watching the Duncarrick Mansion being renovated as we passed it regularly on the highway. It is a "you can't miss it" building. It used to be owned by the Kennedy family of Dayton, but is now part of the Salvation Army's Kroc Community Center. I had several historical photographs of the mansion but I wanted some images of my own. Barb and Janet at the Salvation Army were super friendly and allowed me to take pictures. Plus they come from Old North Dayton so I got insider information on more than just Duncarrick Mansion. I took pictures from all sides of the mansion and decided to use one of the photos I took of the grand front entrance as my sculpture.

As you can see I'm just starting my chalk sketch of the mansion on black art paper. I start on the left of the image and work right. Since I'm right-handed I don't want to smudge the chalk as I'm working. 

I started with pencil sketches where I decided the layout of objects, then the fracture lines of the sky, and finally what of four bar thicknesses I'll use for the"shades" of sky in each segment.

So much for not smudging! As you can tell my sketch is forgiving at this point. It does not need to be too accurate - that comes when I'm cutting.

I worked all the cutouts out ahead of time at this stage. Since all parts of the black had to be attached in the final piece, I had to think through each line before I did any cutting.

Speaking of cutting, here are the tools of the trade. A kneadable eraser, a pencil, a blade, and a fine point burnisher.

Not a great photo because of the sunlight glare but you can see that I've cut out the sky first. The open spaces and the solid bars are free-standing continuous pieces of paper. But I cut them one segment at a time trimming each point where they touch the imaginary boundary between sky sections. This ensured that I cut the imaginary boundary lines sharply. Later, in the CAD drawing real support lines were added where at this stage they are an illusion.

When I'm finished I clean off all the chalk lines and smudges (with my kneadable eraser) and then scan the image to get sharp edges and high contrast. 

I used Ultra Aluminum as my fabricator for cutting the sheet metal. This is a copy of the instructional guideline that I gave Ultra Aluminum for the placement of the support lines, and the placement of my signature. This was accompanied with a written description of how I wanted the sculpture cut.

The CAD expert at Ultra Aluminum took the scan of my original and fed it through a transformation program that converted it to a CAD drawing. Then they manually adjusted where the program didn't interpret my original correctly. The CAD expert then added the support lines. The CAD expert and I traded the CAD drawings back and forth until I was ready to sign off on the final version.

The CAD expert then programmed the cutting path that directed the automated water jet cutter as it moved across the sheet aluminum cutting out each hole in the sculpture.

After this came a lot of hand grinding to remove burrs on the cut edges, more grinding to create the surface effect, and clear powder coating to surface the piece before it was ready for assembly and installation.

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