This Burr Oak wall sculpture is a very bespoke piece. My client loves my work and asked me to create an organic sculpture for a wall in his house that has the wow factor. So here is the story of making this sculpture.
I spent a bit of time sourcing the right piece of wood for this Burr Oak wall sculpture. I thought Burr Oak would be the best wood to use as it would work really well with the colours of fused glass that had been chosen. Once I tracked down this massive Burr, I had to wait a couple of weeks for it to be delivered. I was very excited when it got delivered as it has amazing colours and natural features all over the Burr. The Burr was too big to fit the wall space given by my client but I knew I could cut into the Burr and get 2 sculptures from it.
Cutting to size
I took a couple of days to decide the best way to cut the Burr to size. It was a beautiful piece of Burr Oak so I wanted to make sure I cut it right. After cutting the Burr to a rough size it was ready to turn on the lathe.
Starting to turn the Burr Oak wall sculpture into shape
As with all my sculptures I produce on the lathe, I always start with the back of each sculpture. In this case I turned the back down to size and cut the grooves to take the fused glass disc. Once the back was sanded to the desired finished it got a coat of sealer to protect the fine finish. The Burr was then turned over and mounted back onto the lathe to start work on the front of the sculpture. I started to turn the front into the desired shape, and then I drew on the cut lines of where the fused glass panel would sit. The sculpture was sanded to a finish, at this stage I drew on all my carving lines. Once I was happy with the design to be carved I started to carve the outside lines of the carving. I then added the other textured carved detail followed by 5 copper studs to represent each member of the family who this commission was for. Once all the carving was completed I sanded the sculpture to the desired finish. Again I added a coat of sealer to protect the sanded sculpture. The sculpture was then given several coats of oil and then finished with bee’s wax.
Now that the main section of this Burr Oak wall sculpture was made, I started work on the section that would take the LED lights and allow the sculpture to stand off the wall. This back section is called the drum and is a ring of wood that will hold the LEDs behind the fused glass. The outside edge of the drum has stainless steel tubes inlaid around the edge and these tubes allowed the light to escape and to backlight the natural edge of the Burr Oak wall sculpture. Once lit the fused glass comes to life and the rays of light from the drum at the back create a stunning effect on the wall.
The fused glass
The colours for this sculpture were chosen by the customer. I made up a small sample panel for them to have in the room the sculpture was going in so they cold see the combination of colours they chose in different light conditions at different times of the day. Once they were happy with the sample I started cutting out all the different colours and building up the different layers of glass. This was then put into the kiln to fuse. When the glass disc was fused to a single layer, it was cleaned and then fitted into the Burr Oak wall sculpture.
Packaged then posted
I carefully packed the Burr Oak wall sculpture and posted it direct to the customer on a 24 hour service (as I don’t like my working taking too long to be delivered; less chance of it getting damaged in the postal system). The final reveal for me is always the most nervewracking part of making such a bespoke sculpture. Finding out what the customer thinks when they finally see the sculpture in real life is really important, I just wished I was there to see their reaction in person. It is always great to get the feedback and sometimes my customers are reduced to tears, that is happy tears of course, because they just love their sculpture. It is easy to say that I love my job and I know I am very lucky to do something I just love, but it is even more rewarding to receive so many nice comments about special bespoke sculptures as these are the really personal ones.
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