Building our Final Sculpture!
After taking a break in the summer time, Laura Smith and I reunited in November 2015 to finish the final third piece for the Cal-Earth Superadobe Sculpture Garden! Our vision was based off of a design created by Dastan Khalili that would be a circle of arches. Again, we wanted the piece to be playful, explore the power of the arch, and be congruent with the existing sculptures.
Laura and I first drew up the design from a frontal and aerial perspective, mapped out the diameter of the circle, and then used a dome compass to draw it onto the proposed site. We repurposed all of our forms from ones that were used on an Earth One build in Claremont, CA. Our forms were made of varying heights so that the arches would undulate in and out of the ground.
The hardest part of building this piece, was again bending rebar to the right angle to embed into the sandbags. Brandon helped us make a rebar bender out of other pieces of metal and spare plywood. The bending process took several of us to complete successfully and was a true group effort! One bent, we placed the rebar onto the forms and cast them into the bags.
Once the bags cured for a few days, we removed them and started the process of removing/burning the bags so that our sand plaster would adhere more easily to the sculpture. During this time, we had to be careful as the evening temperatures often dipped below freezing. To help keep the piece warm overnight, we draped layers of insulation and wool to prevent cracking. The plaster in total was applied in several coats from rough to smooth and was made primarily of fine desert sand we harvested from a nearby wash. We mixed in white cement and a light tan stucco pigment from La Habra, similar to the pigments we used on the last two sculptures. After the final finish coat, we spread the remaining wash sand inside the circle and all around the piece to give it a sandbox quality!
After 4 weeks of building our final sculpture piece, Laura and I celebrated at the December 2015 Open House! Overall, Laura and I were very happy with what we were able to get done in 4 weeks! We hope that this piece will provide more space for children and visitors of all ages to enjoy for many years to come. Stepping back and observing the piece from afar, it reminds me of a sacred circle and has a temple-like feel. Upon stepping inside I feel as though it could used as a beautiful meditative space. A place where time and chaos can stand still…
Thank you to all those who helped build, plaster, bend rebar, and encouraged us along the way, especially Toby Verhines, Jack, Brandon Evans, Ian Lodge, Dave Walker, and Crystal Torres.