Monday, February 9, 2015

Major Robert Rogers bronze

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!


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