Head In The Cloud

Posted on Tuesday October 02, 2012

Gosh, is it over a month since I posted a progress update on the making of Cloud Column?  I’m still toiling away. It may look like slow progress, because it is. For the last three weeks it’s been at the ‘filler on, filler off’ stage. Unlike Daniel-san in The Karate Kid, this has brought me no closer to enlightenment and physical perfection than would sitting in the pub have done. But it’s something that must be done to move Cloud Column to perfection.

Working on Cloud Column

It didn’t take long to create the basic form by tacking a heap of Styrofoam together and beating it into shape with a handsaw and a farrier’s rasp. What’s really gobbled up the time is smoothing the form. I’ve used what I call styroplaster – a mix of plaster and styrofoam granules (produced by the aforementioned rasping) – as a filler. It’s also a great material for building up the cloud bumps. It carves easily, to produce a surface that looks fairly smooth.

Smoothing Cloud Column’s surface

But as anyone who’s done car bodywork would know, the fingertip is much more sensitive to imperfections than is the eye, and this work is designed to be touched by people, not just looked at from a distance. I’m trying to bring tactility back into sculpture, in this virtual world where anyone with a smartphone can drown in images. What this means is that much more smoothing and scraping has been needed – and I’ll have to repeat it when I’ve covered it with epoxy.

To make the high and low spots more visible, I painted it with some watered-down artist’s acrylic in ultramarine. This produced an interesting surface effect that I’d like to keep. It’s added drama, which sets up some tension with the underlying calm cloudform. Let me know what you think.

Blue cloud