One of the gifts of the recent extended period of "downtime" was an abundance of time to not only catch up on neglected tasks and unfinished business, but to take time to re-visit ideas and projects that had been put aside for one reason or another. I found myself reconsidering a bronze sculpture titled "Upstairs Downstairs" that I did a number of years ago. When I first conceived the piece, I thought that it could be elevated on a rod. When it came time to figure out the mechanics of that option, it seemed that the weight of the bronze (the "sphere-of-stairs" measured about 11 inches in diameter) would be prohibitive, so I opted to simply attach the piece directly to its base. Fast forward to June 2020 and the chance discovery of an 8 1/2" long piece of 3/8" threaded rod in my work area ... inspiration for a re-do!
In addition to the threaded rod, I found that I had a piece of 1/2" aluminum tubing which fit nicely over the rod and would hide the exposed threading. I knew the aluminum wouldn't take a patina, but I also found a piece of 5/8" copper tubing that would - and it fit easily over the aluminum tube. I used a black cold patina on the copper tube and sealed it with satin lacquer. Then I began the process of elevating "Upstairs". After removing the original 1/4" threaded rod, I used a tap & die to drill out a new threaded hole (as you can see from the photo, I did not have a lot of room to spare!), and then screwed (and epoxied) the new rod into place. Next I enlarged the hole that ran through the base to fit the larger sized rod, and deepened the recess on the bottom of the base to accommodate the larger nut needed to attach the rod and sculpture to the base.
The final adjustment that I made to the base was to add a small wooden square over the hole in the top of the base. I made a hole 5/8" in diameter in the center of the square that would serve to hold the tubes surrounding the rod securely in place. Now all that was left to do was to mount the piece on the base and tighten the nut...or was it? Once I had the sculpture mounted my "internal critic" told me there was something missing. I immediately knew what I needed to do. I dug out the 3 small bronze balls that were extras left over from another earlier sculpture. Each measured about 5/8" in diameter and had a bronze peg extending from it that could be utilized as an attachment appendage. After determining the optimum position for each of the balls on the top surface of the base beneath the mounted sculpture, I used a right angle drill attachment to make 3 holes in the wood and then epoxied the pegged balls into place. Now - it was complete. I will leave interpretation of the piece to the individual viewer.
Note: "Upstairs Downstairs" can be viewed at River Arts Gallery in their new location at 36 Elm Street Plaza in Damariscotta from July 15th through August 15th.
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.