Day 3 in the workshop carving my bustard sculpture as I arrive in the morning, the first thing to check is how well the pieces have stuck together… Unfortunately it looks like the glue really hasn’t had time to set overnight, on the main body and where the head and tail attach…I can’t afford to lose anytime at all just sitting around waiting for the glue to go off, so I strap up the body with a belt and decide not to touch the head or tail for as long as possible.
I use the big saw sparingly as it vibrates the whole structure, and instead use my trusty Japanese rasp, which is a beautifully constructed thing…
I work steadily through the sides to bring them in a little as my Bustard was looking too round past the widest point.
I quite like the rough marks left by the edge of the rasp, almost imitating feather edges.
I start to work on the head, gingerly and then I get a big shock as the head join comes apart and the head almost flips back on itself… this is not what I need to happen at this point, I can’t make glue dry quicker!
Making sure I am even more gentle and keep even pressure on the top of the head, I carry on, dreading that happening again.
I manage to get a good Great Bustard head shape carved, they have quite angular features and no more scary flip top heads, but it’s the glue, it’s still not dried!
After lunch I move onto the tail, I know full well this is still a wet join as the two parts were sliding a bit and I had to turn it back round as the middle was not matching up with the centre piece on the tail, but gently and slowly work my way round the outside.
it’s looking quite good, I’ve trimmed the sides, shaped the head, managed to smooth the tail and get the shape right, but I’d like to cut into the tailpiece, rather than have it solid. I decide to cocktail stick the two parts together in the hope it might help and start to cut into the very centre of the tail.
In a real birds tail like this it would only be a couple of feathers thick, obviously working with this polystyrene I cannot make it that thin, it will just tear or break, so I try to mimic the outer shape at least to give a hint of the real tail.
And that’s about it for carving.
I have thoroughly enjoyed it and have now found a reason to have big shoulders…carving! The best work out for your upper arms you’ll ever have, 3 days solid of sawing, cutting, pressing and rasping.
But no time to stop and admire my handiwork, I need to get the steel armature done so I can start scrimming the shape with plaster tomorrow.
Using a giant set of bolt croppers I cut my steel to length, for both legs, the 3 toes and the base platform to affix it too.
Jim welds the base for me and we tack the legs on and then put the sculpture on top of the steel for the first time, it looks great, it actually transforms it!
I am really pleased with how it looks, I’m just completely knackered! With me in the picture you can see for the first time, just how big the sculpture is when standing. It measures at just over the 105cm mark, but the feet and the base probably take up that extra 5cm, so it’s all good…
So I can get going straight away on the plaster work, I need to get a mesh onto the base, so the plaster has something to sit on, and my Bustard has something to stand on.
Chicken wire does a grand job, even though I get scratched to heck and bleed over my metalwork, we add on the cradle at the top and another strut on each leg in anticipation of the extra weight the plaster will bring and I manage to get it all attached in time… But then I remember we haven’t put the toes for the feet on…
I know what the first job tomorrow is going to be!