Memories of the Ocean

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The time has come

to start thinking about the next big sculpture. After all the ups and downs with the making (and welding) of the Intuitive Sense of Connection there are a few ideas, variations on the theme if you like, that I'd like to try.
This little plankton has been stuck in my thoughts the way some people get a song stuck in their heads and just can't stop humming it:

It is Emiliania huxleyi, often abbreviated "EHUX"

It is one of thousands of different plankton that freely drift in the ocean, forming the basis of virtually all marine food webs.
This species has been an inspiration for James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis which claims that living organisms collectively self-regulate biogeochemistry and climate. 
I am intrigued by it's circles within circles, forming spheres.

In an odd way, it reminds me of the symbol for the group of people in Australian Aboriginal dot painting. 

It also makes me think not only of the beauty of the Earth's tiny building blocks, but its significance in transporting the energy through the "food chain". I cannot pretend to understand it's role in the climate change due to the global warming, but I am smitten by it's shape, name and images, and I want to learn more....
Thursday, 1 October 2015

Clay sketches

The question is how do I depict the essence of the form, without being to literal about it. I want to use the same style framework as the Intuitive Sense of Connection, but create an object with a very different feel. Using the same dimensions provides me with a starting point few steps further along the path. I can use the wooden frame from the previous mould as a starting point in creating a new one.

Armed with several paper sketches, it is time to do some 3 d rough drafts in clay and see if I can get a feel for the form...
First attempt:

Several hours later there is not much more I can do to it. I can't quite see how they would connect together, so I'm trying to get a better idea by connecting the photographed form in Photoshop:
I know, it doesn't look very exciting. Lets try that again....another 2 hours in the studio have produced this:

For the time being, I am convinced that it will work, and I march on forward to make a plaster mould.....
The next day I look at it with the fresh eyes and decide that it is better to be brutally honest with myself than put more effort into it.
It is too big and chunky and very sixties and I need to start again.....
Yes, the monkey on my shoulder tries to argue that as I have put so much effort into it, I  might as well continue and I will like it better as it grows, but I have been there before and decide to listen to the gut feeling and give it another go.
Back to the empty wooden frame....

and back to the original images... I am particularly intrigued by this one:

I found it on Emiliania huxleyi Coccoliths web site ( Click on name to go to the very informative site)
And this is the third attempt.

I am much happier with it.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Memories of the Ocean

Some time in September I started working on the sculpture for Sculpture by the Sea in Cotesloe, 2016.

Today was the first "dress rehearsal".
Before I start welding the frame, I thought that it would be prudent to check if I need to make  any adjustments to the templates.
It is really handy to have a previous sculptures' frame available.....
I WILL BE making a new frame for this sculpture, and it will be a bit different, from the inside.
So here it is:

And with the early morning sun:

I am quite pleased with it (so far)
This was the computer image of the concept:

Not a bad match....

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Second time around

There is a huge benefit of repeating the project (or in this case, parts of a project). This time last year I was welding the first frame, and it was a very anxious experience.I have put endless hours of work in planing and making the elements of the sculpture, and I had no idea if the concept will work or not. As I worked on it, step by step, for a moment it seemed that it will work beautifully, and next moment I was convinced that it will not fit together. It was the emotional roller-coaster that I don't want to repeat.
This year, I have proof of the concept, I know that it CAN work, and I also have a fall back position ( last years frame) if I mess this one up. So needles to say, I am much more relaxed about it.

As last time, (see Intuitive sense of Connection), I have started by welding the Y shape, and then connecting the Y's into pentagons and hexagons. 
The frame is emerging:

This time, the base and the inner core will be different. I am attempting to use SkechUp program to design and visualize the new elements. It is a great program, but I know so frustratingly little about it!
But here it is, I can show you my crude sketches to illustrate the obstacles in my way. (That is how I used 3 days of total fire bans when I could not do any metal work)

Imagine that this is my metal frame. Yes, I know that this one is a proper 3V geodesic dome, while mine consists of a honeycomb of hexagons and pentagons....but stay with me. (If you draw a Y shape in each triangle, you will get my frame - I am not proficient enough in SkechUp to be able to do it just as yet).

Have a look at the base: is not sighting flat on the ground. Not only that, but all the little sticks at the bottom are at odd angles. To make things worse, my frame flexes and wobbles like a soap bubble.(That is the bit that I did not expect from metal, and it almost pushed me over the edge last year)
THIS time around, it did not come as a surprise, but it is still a hurdle I need to figure out.
So, this is the plan (If you look carefully, you will notice the black lines inside the dome:

It is easier to see if I separate the dome: 

I have no idea if I can do this, but I hope I can. It will be quite difficult to access all the bits to weld them.
But at least I have a step at the time......

4.3.2016 Friday

It opens tonight!
Memories of the Ocean have made its journey without glitches and now it is in its "natural" environment.

How do I feel? I'm in a dream.

I'm looking forward to seeing it without the orange flags, and of course, all the other wonderful sculptures.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Memories of the Ocean is in the foyer of the Rockingham Council building. Very exciting!


  1. Fantastic blog and congratulations with the outcome! Nien