Just a quick post. In going through some photos today of my statue for LAKE GEORGE STEAMBOAT COMPANY, found a few images. And it WAS a stretch for a classically trained sculptor to work in this style, creating head, arms and legs and then draping the wet fiberglass soaked with resin for costume! But fun!
Minne Ha Ha will be back on her pedestal in the Spring to greet visitors to the steamboat bearing her name. Discovered in my research that although Hiawatha was a real person in history, the "Song of Hiawatha" poem by Longfellow, and also Minne herself, were fiction. I need to find out more on all this.
Planning on Facebooking that I will be at the dock on certain days this coming summer to take photos of visitors with their families and the sculpture. The folks at LGSC have said that Minne was an instant icon. When I went to photograph the piece I kept being asked to take pictures of people with their cameras.
It is as if Minne was always there! Hope all will take the time to comment! Also, see Alice Manzi Sculpture on Facebook to join a contest to win a glass sculpture!
To finish up my combined posts about the Robert Rogers bronze statue creation, a couple of extra photos.
Robert Rogers great great great nephew from Canada, who I used as a model for the face. Robert came all the way down from his home (dressed in the suit he had had made) to be there at the unveiling of the statue.
A small clay piece I was developing for the Army's use at the Ranger school. It is cast from the original mold of the maquette. The glaze is clay from Rogers Island. I hope visitors to this blog might ask me about this little project. Fascinating.
A quiet moment with Janine Thomas, who was responsible for getting me the commission. So thankful for Janine!
Detail of the bronze maquette. Just love this little piece at 11 inches in solid bronze.
And so, there it is. What a wonderful project for a sculptor so interested in history. Oh, and a side
note from the unveiling, and the last in the synchronicity list;
Mr. Nastasi had asked that we have a Sabrett's Hot Dog truck at the Island, and that he would give everyone lunch that day. Two weeks before I had been at a town wide event in Northville and had seen a Sabrett's truck.. This is not an everyday occurrence up here. I hired the owner and we had a great lunch, complete with Indians in total costume; loincloths and body make-up, standing in line for hot dogs. Missed that shot. Channel 10 was there, as were the local news outlets. A great day for all.
More very soon. Do write and inquire about anything that interests you.
So we left our hero in the wax at Polich/Tallix. After doing that work and returning home, I waited while the foundry began to process the individual pieces by coating the sections with a slurry of ceramic material, called a shell. This coating covered all surfaces, including all the gates and vents that had to be created in order to allow the bronze to flow in and the wax and air to flow out. A burnout process heats the shells to a temperature that makes them ready for the arduous task of accepting the molten bronze.
I next visited the foundry when the time came to patina the piece. I knew what I wanted for this sculpture, and so a patineur was assigned to me and we made decisions as we went. A little brown with green highlights in the shadows only. Coats of wax were applied to protect the piece. We deeded not to use lacquer or similar material as sealer because of the aging of that material over time.
Arrival of the piece at Rogers Island. Mason John Abrahamson did the work on the 7 ton stone.
With my good friend the writer and sculptor Walter Lape. I miss him every day.
The maquette of the piece in bronze. I had one made for Frank Nastasi, who was pleased to get his Christmas present from me that year. A second copy is here in my home to remind me of the excitement of this very important project. A friend of Mr. Nastasi's called a few years back to say that since Frank had not in fact left him the model in his will, he would need to buy one himself. He did. My friend and former Army Ranger Thomas Nichols is handling all sales of the maquette on his website at rangerring.com. Thomas' website is the official site for the purchase of US Army Ranger Rings and memorabilia.
And so, to continue my narrative about the creation of the Robert Rogers statue...
I think we are on the third in the synchronicity series, by the way- # 1 was Janine getting the inquiry about a bronze sculptor who could do the piece. #2 was my finding the young former Ranger who was willing to pose for me. And so...
Here is a shot of the signature which I placed on the 'rock' Rogers kneels on. Again, in Chavant Clay- as the entire piece was. Since the client, Mr. Nastasi, was coming to review the piece in clay, I had to build a side porch as he was in a wheelchair and would not be able to enter the studio. Here are a couple of photos of the clay original on the side porch at Manzi Studios in 2004. Rogers had 27 faces before I was satisfied with the look. One was with a beard, which the client immediately dismissed. Really? Did soldiers of the time in the woods truly shave each and every day? Not my choice, but I did like the final look.
Now, as you will see, the arm was designed to be removed for molding. This often happens with large figurative work. He is supported by a post in his chest for strength while the work was being done. I decided that Polich/Tallix Foundry would do the mold, as I wanted them to have exactly what they wanted for the wax prep. Usually I do the mold, saving the client in budgeting.
I decided after many years that I was no longer going to be carving marble, and therefore did not need the air compressor I had been storing in the house. I put it out in front of the house with a sign...FREE.
Soon a truck with a crane pulled up and began to question me about the compressor. He would take it, but did I need anything done he could assist with? Well, as a matter of fact, I would when the bronze was finished, need transport to Rogers Island. DONE!
The final face was informed by my finding the Great great (great, how many greats was that?) nephew of Robert Rogers in Canada. His wife took some face shots and I was able to get a great feeling for the structure he probably had. Is this synchronicity #4, I lose count.
Here we are after rubber molding and casting in wax at Polich Tallix in Rock Tavern, NY So thrilled to be able to work with my friend Vanessa Hoheb and all the artists at Polich. I found the Major in pieces suspended from the ceiling. It was my job to 'touch him up'. So exciting.
Someone please remind me to talk more about Vanessa and her dad, the sculptor Bruce Hoheb.
Hello again to all who are following my new blog. I will try not to have so much time in between posts. The following will be some posts about the design and creation of the Robert Rogers statue at Ft. Edward, NY. Too much info for one page, and so I will space it out, IF I remember how to do this. No guarantees!
In every case I will try to give some info and pictures that have not been seen before, a "behind the scenes" approach.
The small model was made of Chavant Clay, my clay of choice for everything I do. I refer to it with students as the Rolls Royce of plastilenes. It was later cast in an edition of 25 in bronze at Campbell Plaster and Iron in West Rutland, Vt.
My very good friend Janine Thomas was volunteering at the Hyde Collection, our world class Museum in Glen Falls. A man came in asking who he could reach to have a bronze statue made. Janine said, simply, "you will have to talk to Alice". That was the beginning of the project. Mr. Frank Nastasi, a Long Island businessman, had had a long time fascination with Robert Rogers, the French and Indian War hero who wrote the Rules of Ranging the Army Rangers still use today. Mr. Nastasi had purchased Rogers Island, just outside of Ft. Edward, where the Continental forces and the British had been stationed. His purpose was to create a historic site complete with statue and Museum, hotel and Marina.
This is where it got interesting. I was at the time a member of the Upstate Independents Screenwriting group in Albany. One evening I was very taken with the appearance of a young man who had participated that night for the first time. I was looking for a model. He had long hair in a ponytail and was very muscular. Turned out he had been a Ranger, had been to the Ranger School in Georgia, and etc. he posed for me, crawling around the studio in the manner of the Rangers, moving to avoid detection. This is the kind of synchronicity you discover when you are doing what it is you should be doing. It continued.
When the design in miniature was approved by the client work began on a welded steel armature. This was done at the shop of a good friend, Jim Moulton. Jim had followed me home one day when he saw the Manzi Van in Saratoga and wanted to meet me. Jim is a skilled engineer and metal and wood artisan in addition to his other talents. We made the skeletal structure together. Here you can see the outline of the body and the rock.
Two views of the full size piece, planned to be 6 foot 4 inches. Spray foam was added to fill in the gaps of the armature. Then Chavant Clay was added by heating it in a microwave, and applying it with insulated gloves for speed.
I soon began correspondence with those who had studied Rogers for years. They stuck with me, even sending drawings of how the tomahawk would have been shaped, and the like.
More coming on this project, a very exciting one, and one that I can visit at any time!