Monday, April 6, 2009, 1:15-1:30 pm
Weather: Cloudy, 34 degrees, wind in the SE 8-10 mph, misty mixed rain & snow.
Hello! We finally did it!
After a blissfully warm and sunny weekend we set to work on Monday
to place the final pieces on the “Midsummer Play” fountain. It was
cold, windy and spitting rain but we were lucky, because the next day
we had a nice little snow.
Many, many hours of planning went into making sure that the 9.5′
bronze figure of Titania would be ready to come to her safe resting
place atop a sculpted tree in a fountain at the entrance to Stonewall
Square across from Abingdon’s historic Barter Theatre. Our Queen of
Faerie weighed in at over 800 lbs. of bronze and stainless steel
structural supports, so we asked the City of Abingdon (thank you again
John Dew!) to supply us with a crane to lift her into place.
But before that, way back in September of last year, we started
welding what would eventually be 108 pieces of bronze together to form
her Royal Highness. There was one slight problem: the molds for these
pieces were inadequate and almost each and every piece, instead of
fitting perfectly into place with the next, like a well-made jig saw
puzzle, had to be “re-cut and pasted” instead.
I can only describe the process like you were trying to put together
a 3-D puzzle, in which all the pieces had been soaked in water and were
now completely warped. To get them to fit together you’d just have to
bend them back into their original shape, right? Only bronze is SO much
harder to manipulate than a piece of cardboard will ever be.
So, the work of 2-3 months became six and we only managed to put her
back together again with the help of the extraordinary Anthony Dean,
welder par excellance. More hours than I really want to think
about went into the enormous amount of cutting, welding, filling,
bending and grinding of each and every piece of the bronze that forms
the exterior of Titania.
Eventually though, all the parts were in place, the gaping holes filled and the rough welds ground down.
Karen Lewis puts the finishing touches on one of Queen Titania’s three Fairy Attendants.
And below, Anthony welds the dancing fairy onto the tree base.
And David works his magic…
Then she was ready to take a ride down the hill from the Foundry for
her final placement in Town. None of us got much sleep the night before
thinking about everything that could possibly go wrong.
The wind it did blow and the rain it did come down, but in the end
everything went as smooth as it possibly could; a tribute to all those
hours of engineering that David and Anthony spent on the piece.
Here we are, co-sculptor David Spence and I, as well as Betsy Boyd,
one of our major sponsors and Rick Rose, the Artistic Director of the
Barter Theater who asked us to do this whole crazy project in the first
And then a final offering to The Queen for making the day go so easily.
I did say it snowed the next day, didn’t I?
I’ll post a few close ups of all the various pieces in the next several days…
In the meantime, enjoy!