Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My first bronze sculpture !

Once my fingers were well rested, I thought of adding the final touches to some of my earlier works. I added a new pair having a chat. Modified one of the earlier works into a seated woman and created a new piece for Amie and her parent’s birthdays coming up in August and September. Spoke to Mr. Ravi and decided to go ahead with coring and casting. The following wax models went for coring 2nd week of August.

Materials required:

Bricks for making the enclosure, clay for runners,
 sand, fireclay, plaster of paris and water for the mould. Wires to bind the mould.

1. Lay the bricks on the ground into rectangular shapes according to the sizes of the wax models.
2. Fix the runners made of wax or clay to the wax models
3. Place the wax models within the brick rectangles resting on the runners.
4. Prepare the aqueous mixture of sand-3 parts + fire clay- 1 part+ plaster of paris- 4 parts
5. Seal the joints between bricks with the mixture.

6. Pour the mixture so that it covers the model completely
7. Allow it to set.
8. Scoop out the clay to leave holes acting as runners.
9. Wrap the mould with wire and put another layer of thicker mixture to cover the wire.
10. Allow it to dry completely. This could take a couple of days.

Once the mould has dried completely, it is ready for de-waxing. A kiln is built with four openings for firing and the moulds with the runners facing down wards are placed inside the kiln on a rack. A small opening is kept at the top for the flow of air. The fire is kept burning for 3 to 4 hr and then the opening at the top is sealed. It is kept overnight this way to ensure complete de-waxing.

Scrap metal is heated with burning coke. When the metal melts, the plaster moulds are removed carefully from the kiln and placed on the ground with the runners facing up. The molten metal is then poured carefully with a ladle through one runner and allowed to come up through the other. 

Once the plaster moulds are absolutely cold, they are broken with a hard object to take out the metal sculpture.

After removing the runners and other supports the piece is polished by a process called buffing

After buffing the piece looks like this


The last step is to mount the sculpture on a pedestal. My first few pieces......

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New Chapter........

Arrived in Chennai on 1st Jan, 2014 with mixed feelings. Although it was a relief to leave behind the gloomy cold UK winter, it wasn’t easy to get adjusted to my new surrounding. It took me sometime to overcome the restlessness felt within. After getting a bit familiar with this place, I started searching for some activity related to art or social service. Before coming to Chennai, I felt the urge to learn sculpting. Lalit Kala Academy Chennai was offering enrolment to artists for working in their studios. Towards end Jan, I got enrolled for 3 months and under the guidance of Mr. T. Vijayavelu, the supervisor, sculpture workshop and young sculptor Mr.Ravindran Velsamy, I made my first attempt at bronze sculpture. The method is known as ‘lost wax process’. Below are the steps involved in preparing the wax required for making the model. 

1.Starting the fire to melt
coarsely gound resin 
2. Resin is added
while stirring in order to romove lumps
3.Cutting wax using fine wire

4.Wax pieces being added
slowly to molten resin

5.Molten mixture of resin and
wax is stirred
frequently to remove air

7.Material ready for moulding
and sculpting

6.Molten mixture is
seived to remove
solid impurity

My first attempt at bronze sculpture-
It took me a while to get the hang of it. The medium [hot,molten mixture of wax and resin] was tough to handle but the whole experience of trying to gain control over it was thrilling.
These were made before April 15th.
The first satisfactory outcome 
In the words of sculptor Henry Moore-
"Now I really make the little idea from clay, and I hold it in my hand. I can turn it, look at it from underneath, see it from one view, hold it against the sky, imagine it any size I like, and really be in control, almost like God creating something.

On 8th march,international women’s day, I conducted a craft demonstration session at Somerset for the residents. I used materials from my kitchen and other recycled stuff to create jewellery, decorative items. Some are shown here-

We left for Boston on 19th April to spend our 40th wedding anniversary with our children and grand child. A surprise visit from my only brother who came from London and my granddaughter’s cello performance coinciding with our anniversary made the occasion a memorable event for us. We returned to Chennai on 11th May from near freezing temperature to 40C. 
While I was recovering from jet lag and getting adjusted to the temperature difference, I received an invitation from Apparao gallery to give a talk on Nandal Bose and his innovations with alpana. Next few weeks were spent in preparation for my talk. My demonstration cum talk was at Sandy’s, R A Puram on 21st June. On 20th June, I spent 2 hours at Sandy’s doing alpana at the entrance. The free hand, 4’ x 3’ alpona was done on the spot with finger in traditional method. The materials used were rice flour for white, turmeric, and coffee, all natural and locally available. The demonstration on 21st was a smaller alpona, only in white, where the guests also participated.

The event was covered by The Hindu.
[jpg version]:-

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Coffee works gaining attention!

With the DST[daylight saving time] coming to an end and the summer gone, the dark and gloomy days will return soon! Its time for me to return to my blog before I go into hibernation.
After two weeks of fun in Boston, I was back in Reading looking forward to up-coming events. The art works done with coffee, exhibited from 5th May at the Takeaway gallery in Reading, looked very attractive in the frames. This event was covered by the local press and two of my works were sold.


On 7th May, I participated in the Tagore festival organised by the Tagore centre,UK in London, at Gordon Square. At the festival, I sold a few live art in acrylic on canvas and a few limited edition prints of my earlier works. The open air performance with Tagore’s songs and dances recreated Santiniketan in the heart of London. I couldn’t resist it when I was pulled by one of the organisers to join in a dance.

This was followed by an invitation received from the Nehru centre, London to deliver a talk on-
‘ Paintings inspired by Tagore’. My talk involved my association with Tagore's Santiniketan, its art, craft and aesthetics and its influence on my art. I enjoyed going down the memory lane to the days of my childhood and youth in search of materials required for the talk. It was interesting to trace the development of the unique art style in Santiniketan during the time of Nandalal Bose.

My exhibition, "Timeless Tagore" was a landmark in my journey as an artist but, now I have moved away from that chapter. I have been on the move since then and circumstances motivated me to try out various techniques in different media, exploring the possibility of creating something new.
On 17th July my portrait of Pandit Ravi Sankar, done after he passed away in December 2012, was displayed at Nehru Centre, UK during a performance by the Sujata Banerjee dance company in memory of Pandit Ravi Sankar.
I had touched it up a bit. Here is the revised version.

This was my first attempt at combining two different media. The first step was to do the foundation and background with water colour and the second step was to develop it using charcoal.
I found this quite satisfying as it brought out the effects I wanted to produce. I was happy with the expression and mood displayed in this work.

While I spent considerable amount of time in the preparation for my talk, the dramatic change in weather made June, July and August the most enjoyable months during my year long stay in Reading.  Suddenly the curtain was raised and the magic began. Now I know why such great poets were born in this country. One has to experience this drama in order to get a feel of its charm.
Our daughter came to visit us in July and we visited Ireland with her. After she left, we visited York. In August, our son came to visit us and we spent a day at Henley on Thames, another place I love to visit. Almost all weekends were spent visiting beautiful places in Britain.This was when we came to know that our stay in UK has been extended. I was only too happy to be here as long as the summer lasted. I was reluctant to leave UK during this wonderful time of the year, but 31st August arrived too soon and we had to leave for our two week’s tour of Turkey. The only piece of art done by me during this whole stretch was another coffee painting promised by me for my brother.

This goes to show, how I was enjoying the UK summer. I didn’t even feel like spending time on en plein air water colour. We returned from Turkey on 13th September but I was completely exhausted. It was a conducted tour and I found it very hectic. Walking for miles in the ruins for more than a week in the scorching sun at 42C became more of a torture. It took me two weeks to recover. Strangely, this painting was done before I visited the ruins!

Our annual festival, Durga Puja was round the corner and I felt like doing something related to this age old tradition that has now become a part of the culture of Bengal. I have always enjoyed visiting the old Jamindar[landlord] houses during this festival and in this work, I have tried to capture that memory.