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Installations and large scale projects

Tree of Life - Topanga, California

Without a doubt, this was the most challenging job we have done to date. The long mural in North Hills may have been more square footage, but this was built to fit a curve, and an uneven one at that. Figuring in shrinkage for this was not simple. See below more of our working shots. There are several so I have divided it up into two pages:

Building the Form and Making the Greenware (below)

Bisqueware through Installation

other shots of final fountain

Building the Form

Here s the original site. We took several measurements and made many calculations before we could start.

Our first task was to make a a template of the bottom of the pool and enlarge it to adjust for the clay shrinkage.

We built the floor of our form...

Studs were attached in varying heights.

Masonite was used to cover the studs because of its flexibility.

This photo is actually out of sequence but I wanted to show that the side walls were made too, but after the center portion of the art was made and taken off the form. (The form is laying down here. I worked on this thing from all different angles.)


Making the Greenware
The first slabs are rolled and layed out on the form.

The slabs are "stitched" together by scoring and adding a coil to join the pieces.

While the form was being built, I started making the small sculptures that fit into the design.


Full size blow ups were made of my drawings, then tracings were made on plastic.


For one element in the design I was able to use a previously made open face press mold.

Working outdoors in the heat of summer made it very difficult to keep the clay moist. And it was windy too!

Here Doug is adjusting the angle of the fixture so I can work on it more comfortably.

The branches and the leaves were really pretty easy to make. The small figurines took more time.

Here I have made the puzzle cuts and am fitting the piecds back together after smoothing out the edges.

One thing we may do differently next time is to sawcut the holes after the clay is fired. There is a tool for that!

El dia de los Muertos is an important holiday in Spain, where the client comes from. Its really fascinating, here's a link if you are interested in reading about it .

Here are figurines of Luna and Chico, who kept us comp[any during the installation.
I designed a die so we could extrude the trim tiles.

We did our best to maintain the curve while the clay became bone dry. We had to remove it from the fixture to allow air to get to the backs of the pieces.

Want to see more?

Bisqueware through Installation