Lets look at the progress so far: all main pieces are fitted:
Moving on from the main figure construction to the side loop pieces. These were cut and assembled at the Watson & Brookman workshops, Chawston near Bedford. They recommended the’ edge to edge’ technique, fitting edges to each other and following along these tacking & welding, which we used to make the piece.
– Although my original technique was to clamp front and side to full scale model piece and tack these. Remove and clamp tack the remaining half side and back to the full size model, then tack, remove, fit the two halves together and tack then weld. This would allow the setting of extra curvature to the shape
Though perhaps not entirely practical here with ‘setting up’ and time – perhaps the difference was fairly slight – Clive, me, Mark (Watson) and Pete with others set about fitting the edges adjacent and Mark tacking very fine weld points. The pieces pulled together very nicely.
The bronze/gold mirror finish surface needed great care, I had made leatherette padded carriers for standing and clamping the pieces in construction, these had proved highly effective, keeping the surface safe. As the shape tightened up with continuous weld going around the form, the two matching edges needed to be highly accurate, 0 or 1 mm no more, eventually we, 3- 4 people holding the edges in place initially, got enough tacks to hold the entire shape, Mark’s welding was really spot on and very neat, making very fine welding, amazingly pulling up the gold tone weld most of the way around the loop.
Once the weld was complete I took the loop back to Julian’s workshop nr Huntingdon, where I masked the edges, pulling back the protective film and prepared it for grinding and polishing to bring out the sculpture. This was not easily carried forward, and several weeks went by whilst I considered the issues, the weld was gold coloured, fairly fantastic welding, neat and certainly a bit of a shame to lose it.
Heating Stainless will cause it to adopt several colours depending on temperature, the weld will be a gold colour when exactly right, and that is how it appeared most of the way around the loop. But where the bronze/gold surface finish was heated a black sintered edge traced itself around the weld edge, almost it could be left. The issue was discussed and resulting, ultimately I decided that this distracted from the whole piece and drawing of the shape, so I went on to grind and sculpt the edges, with the greatest of respect for the quality that was disappearing beneath, inspiring the new surface.
Once I’d started to shape the edges, it became obvious that it was the right thing to do, and soon this was finished to as near mirror as I could get, the metal was only 1.5mm thickness.
With the side loop complete I was more or less ready to deliver and install so arranged to meet the council to decide on the exact location. I went to a meeting at the X cell complex, The Elmbridge Arts development officer Liz Taylor, Surveyor Richard Walters, the two ground work contractors, the bolt template was brought out, and I brought the 1m model so we could try out the position of the sculpture outside the front of the building. When the position was resolved the ground work contractors sprayed painted points on the tarmac for returning to when installing. We discussed the ground cover and shape, being near a path would have to be oval as opposed to the full circle intended.
The !m model at the Elmbridge X cell Leisure Complex.