This was my first “official” piece – public or otherwise. In 2010, my mom decided to teach me how to weld because she was inspired to tackle this dinosaur project and needed an extra pair of hands. My older sister had just had knee surgery, so I got the assignment! We took on the task over a 4th of July weekend in 97 degree weather,.. on my birthday! What a gift! My mother did the body of the dinosaur, but she gave me complete freedom to design and build the neck and head – by myself! The day started off a little dicey, when I cut into a metal piece containing oil under pressure, and I was engulfed in a flash fire ball. Amazingly, there was no harm done, so a little shaken, I pushed on. The stegosaurus is currently in the front yard at my parent’s dental office in St. Albans Vermont. People in town seem to love this addition to our community’s unique charming character.
The Triceratops Family was my second work. There are four babies and a mother. I made them in the fall of 2010 when I was starting the 8th grade with some help from my mother to fine tune my use of torches and other equipment. The funny thing about this sculpture is that the bodies of the animals are all made of the metal head and foot boards from tiny beds. When we found these in a junkyard, the owner told us that these beds came from an old mental institution in central Vermont. You can see that the baby dinosaurs have very small head and foot boards and the mother’s body was from a slightly larger bed… Maybe the matron’s bed who might have supervised the ward. I think it’s interesting to speculate about what these beds would say if they could speak their secrets.
Cow Bike Rack
The Cow Bike Rack was my eleventh piece, completed on June 8th 2012, – one week before I graduated from the 8th grade. This was my most complex work to-date, at the time, because of the need for the cows to be painted. (My normal “junkyard metal” medium would have been dangerous and dirty for cyclists to brush up against.) It was also complex because I had to build it in my studio, de-construct it, and then re-construct it at the site.
First, I photographed some local cows. Then I used a projector to trace the forms on some 6′ by 6′ sheets of eighth inch steel. I had to use my plasma cutter to carefully cut out the silhouettes: I had one chance to get it right! Preparing the metal for painting – grind off the sharp edges, polishing and priming – took a long time. Finally, I painted. The fabrication to that point took about 35 hours.
You might notice that the ground the cows are on is very uneven, yet the sculpture follows the contours so no one will trip and it can be mowed around easily. The final installation on the sight took about 6 hours in total.