I'm still exploring my backlog of unfinished pieces, and I recently unpacked a piece made of bronze and stone that I created a few years ago. It is a 17" long slightly curved textured bronze slab with a figure carved out of pink alabaster perched on the lower end of it. The figure is in a very tight "cannonball" position. The piece was originally set up so that it could be hung, however, as I revisited the piece, I determined that the weight of the piece not only made hanging a somewhat precarious proposition, but it limited where the piece could be hung (break out your handy dandy stud finder!). I decided to create a base for it and make it a free standing piece. After sketching out a design and gathering together some leftover pieces of yellowheart, I was ready to start construction of the base.
My concept for the base involved creating a wooden "cradle" that would support the piece under the roundest section of the bronze slab, but I also wanted to have a some space between the slab and the "cradle" so that the piece would not appear to be a part of the base structure. I wanted the supports to be spaced narrower than the width of the slab to further visually separate the piece and the base. I began by tracing the curve of the slab and then transferring that curve onto 2 matching pieces of yellowheart. After cutting the traced curve on the yellowheart boards, I cut a rectangular board to act as a baseboard. I attached each of the 2 curve topped pieces with 3 screws up through the baseboard. I then added 2 narrow yellow heart crosspieces at either end of the curved upright "cradle" boards. The next step was to add the elements that would allow me to attach the bronze slab to the "cradle".
My plan to attach the slab was to drill 2 holes in the back side of the thick end of the slab and epoxy them onto 2 pegs that would be inserted into the top crosspiece. I made 2 pegs out of yellowheart, but decided that the weight of the bronze might require pegs made of a more substantial material, so I switched the wooden pegs for ones cut from a 3/8" metal rod. I also decided to add a third smaller peg on the lower crosspiece to add greater stability. After sealing the base with satin polyurethane, I was ready to attach the sculpture...but wait! It occurred to me that I would get a more secure attachment if I used threaded rods rather that plain rods, so I made one last peg change before finally epoxying the sculpture to the base. C'est fini! The finished sculpture is now on display until October 19th at the River Arts Gallery in Damariscotta.
... views of completed "One" with base
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Cynthia Smith, Maine artist, originally from Connecticut. Taught art at secondary level for 35 years, retired in 2004. Sculpts in bronze, wood, stone, clay & plaster. Her work can be seen at several mid-coast Maine galleries and shows.