Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Look At The Results!

Each person in the sculpting workshop brought their own creativity to our assignment for a dinosaur or dragon head.  There were super results!

Given a chance and some basic instruction from a great teacher, it's clear that each of us has a unique vision and far more creativity than we sometimes allow ourselves to believe.  It was a pleasure to meet all of these folks and work beside them.  Not everyone was able to finish their project, as we had many many places to visit in addition to the many other projects we completed.  Some folks had local businesses and were dealing with work in addition to the class...and others were Dan's employees helping out with keeping us full of food, materials, tools and help...  It was a pleasure just to see these heads come alive.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


I have plenty more to share about my amazing workshop experience in Yarrow, B.C. but I wanted to show some recent purchases.

I knew before I left for the workshop that on the other end would be some new tools...a welding machine in particular.  I have the welder and helmet and some chopped fiberglass on the way- but pictures serve a great purpose! They can help remind us of all those little tools, products and things we might otherwise forget.  Here are just a few:

Some protective gear for welding, bolt cutters for cutting steel pencil rod, various wire cutters, concrete mixing paddles and drill, concrete tools for mudding and carving, files for dealing with sharp edges on steel, wire to attach diamond lathe to an armature...still plenty more to pick up in the next few days...there's work to be done!  I don't want to forget the feel of the concrete when it's just the right consistency. I don't want to forget that I only need to twist the wire one and a half times...these little details and a hundred more that make up the important part of what I learned. I'll be putting them into practice soon, so that they don't fade!  I think the first project will be a new mailbox for the new shop.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

There and Back...again.

I have so much to tell, that I think it's going to take a few posts to get through it. That's ok. Where to begin? How about inside the magic?

Along with several helpers, Janis (Dan's wife) kept all of us more than well fed and full of energy.  In the middle of making the new house a home and all of the life events that surround us all, she made "home cooking" really mean it.   We dined inside the new house several times and each one was a treat in more ways than one.  She serves an awesome item they call "pink stuff" and they can add another fan.  Dan simply wouldn't be Dan without Janis.  She deserves a great deal of credit...Thank you Janis!

During what felt like a blink of an eye, I welded, added wire mesh, learned to properly (and improperly) mix concrete mud, added mud to the mesh, carved the concrete...sculpted a dragon, visited many of Dan's completed projects, attached more wire mesh, made new friends and got lost in Chilliwack at least twice. 

During the course of the workshop, we worked on our own magic sculpt projects. I decided on a Chinese dragon.

I wanted a little "life" in him, so I gave him a curve in his neck with some steel pencil rod.  The rough shape was built up with aluminum foil and then rough coated with magic sculpt.  There were many amazing pieces made by my fellow classmates, and I'll share them in a future post.

We began our concrete work by attaching mesh to boards, then adding concrete.  The trick is to allow the concrete to dry a few hours and then carve. Dan showed us some techniques for carving brick, rock and several kinds of wood. These are my first samples:

The next project included welding...We first added rings and connecting pieces of 1/4" steel pencil rod to the rough tree shape Dan had welded.

Next, the shape was covered in a wire mesh.  Eventually, my fingers will recover...actually it got much easier with more practice.  After a visit to one of Dan's projects, we returned to carve.  I had the pleasure to work with an Australian named Phil who helped me with the welding.  He's a patient and skilled and very kind man.  Phil, I promise to keep the weld gun close to the work, and in the gas!
The carving was a blast.

Between bits and pieces I kept working on my dragon:
When the workshop ended, I stayed on a couple days to practice and generally plant the new ideas and skills firmly in my head.  I had a chance to wire and help with part of a huge project Dan is working on for a Giggle Ridge expansion:
I had a chance to work with a future blockbuster film maker named TJ (in the red) and Dan's new employee Marty.  Dan's team is strong, hard working and skilled at making it look easy. I'll introduce more of them later.

I've often wondered how Dan did so much work and still managed photos of it all...I may have discovered the secret.  This is Hailey...when she's  not taking selfies, she's keeping everything on track and working hard:

Eventually, the dragon got some paint:

Next time I'll introduce more of Dan's team, many of my fellow classmates and new friends and show you some personal pictures of Dan's projects. Stay Tuned for more!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's been a busy month... I finished signs for local friends:

I also began moving into the new shop location and doing some painting:

And some new paint and other items...a place to meet clients:

There's a great deal more to move once I get home..but I'll be on a return trip to Yarrow, British Columbia very soon.  About 3 years ago, I took a leap.  It happened after seeing a website and some work from a man named Dan Sawatzky.  I impulsively signed up for his workshop because it felt like I needed to do it.  I followed my gut.  I attended a workshop there and it literally changed my life. Dan suggested it would the day I called and he was absolutely correct.  The trip out there was by car and included my family and our pop-up camper.  The trip itself was special and we still talk about it.  The destination, in this case, took it up a notch.  I started a new path and have enjoyed each step on the new road.  I remember during a late night of dreaming and talking, he said, "You'll eventually have a larger shop and bigger equipment...just remember that the most important item in it will still be what you DO with it."  It's been fast moving and I've had the very good fortune to meet many wonderful people and clients.  Dan has continued to play a role with advice, some friendly pushing and a growing friendship. 

I'm attending a sculpture workshop at Imagination Corporation. http://imaginationcorporation.squarespace.com/

During my visit I'll meet some new friends, cram as much new knowledge as I can into my head, do some hands-on learning, refresh some older ideas and hang out with the second place winner of the Mechanical Fish Competition.  I'll be able to get some close-up views of projects from the last couple of years and maybe a look or two at new things in the works.  While all of that is fantastic, it's really about making an ongoing investment in myself.  Some people think of a vacation as a thing you do where you plan to take it easy and take a little rest.  For me, it'll be getting my hands and  clothes dirty and finding new ways to bring new ideas to life.  I already have an expectation and it's several days of awesome.  Every new trip is an adventure waiting to happen, and new friends are always the icing on the cake.