THE BOXING HARES.
This is my latest piece of work completed 21nd May 2004 to meet a deadline for an exhibition in the Cathedral Hall, St Davids, Pembrokeshire.
Height:31" Width 26"
151 hours in the making.
Stages in the making of.
Firstly the skeleton of the hare is created using a thin iron section and 5mm welding rods. This gives me the opportunity to assess the proportions of the body and try out the poses and the attitudes of the figures. At this stage pieces may be added or removed or rebent etc... to improve or correct aspects I may not initially be happy with The picture above shows one of the hares in its more or less final pose and I am starting to apply some of its outer skin .
FLESHING OUT THE BODY.
The skin of the hare is made up using 75 mm flat oval nails, which are welded as closely as possible together across the skeleton sections of the body and legs. The picture above shows one hare in the rather undignified position of his head locked in a vise to enable me to flesh out the under belly and inside of the hind legs.
After a sufficient area has been covered with the nails. The overlapping ends of the nails are then trimmed off with a rotary cutter disc, ( as seen in the background) and then the freshly cut ends are welded to the edge of the skeleton.
I then get to the fun bit of working on these pieces. The welding torch is now used to fill in the gaps between the nails and create a texture by dribbling the torch head across the nails in different directions until a thick texture and finish has been built up. Sometimes where the texture is too rough, an angle grinder is used to flatten or shape an area.
If satisfied with the result it will be left as it is. If not , I may re-apply the torch and weld over it again. This is by far the most time consuming part of the process as I may re-work areas repeatedly many times until I am satisfied with the finish.
Here the pair are being tried out for potential final poses having completed most of the texture on their bodies. Areas still to be worked on with the torch can be seen on the legs etc... Since they will still be paying regular trips to the vise for welding I have left off their ears as they get in the way.
Here the finishing touches to the second hare are being done. Any gaps that I have missed or areas that need a little more texture are dealt with. Its opponent (now with ears) has been finished and waits in the foreground for the fight to come.
After some positioning of the two hares to decide the best balanced fighting pose and finding two points where they touched eachother forming a tripod. I then welded them at those points of contact, which left the piece stable.
After cleaning off the soot left by the welding torch with a wire brush I was left with a bright shiny finish which I knew would rust and in other pieces this was an acceptable finish for me.
But, since this is quite an agressive work. I thought it needed a little something more. So I took the piece to Roy Thedvall, a local artist/blacksmith and he kindly assisted me in the liberal usage of his oxy-acetelyne torch with which I 'blasted' the piece to a red hot temperature leaving a blue'gun-metal' finish when it cooled.
The picture below shows the piece in Roy's forge after a good blasting with the torch.
Absolutely chuffed with it now !!!.
Many, many thanks Roy! I hope I left you with some gas still in the cylinders?
Here are a few more photos of the piece as it appeared in the exhibition at St Davids.