Monday, May 22, 2017

Mr. Squirrel's Odyessy

In early December, I received an email from Enid, a pretty, sweet and smart young woman that I knew in college. We had not been in contact for over 50 years. She now lives in the Boston area. She was interested in adding a sculptural element to her garden, and had read about my late in life art carreer in the college alumni newsletter.

We communicated by email and phone to discuss what kind of sculpture she would like. Finally, she decided that a squirrel would best reflect the "wildlife" that inhabited her urban garden.

I began by searching the internet for some photos of squirrels, and then I fashioned an armature from recycled plastic bags and chicken wire.

I then mixed up my special mixture of cement, peat moss, acrylic fortifier and water to make a clay-like material. I modeled the resulting concrete onto the armature. I made bright eyes from commercially available glass "blobs". Enid
wanted her squirrel to be able to "nibble' on things in her garden, so I fashioned his hands to hold small flowers, nuts, seeds and other natural elements.

After a few days of curing, I applied several layers of a bronze pigment containing acrylic over the sculpture. 

I tarnished the surface with an acid containing stain. The finished sculpture needed about three weeks to completely
cure before it could be out in the cold winter weather. Here is Mr. Squirrel enjoying a lovely North Carolina February day with Stanley and me.

We now had the challenge of getting him to Massachusetts. Luckily, Enid has a good friend who spends some of the winter near Chapel Hill. Audrey agreed to come to my studio in Fearrington Village to start Mr. Squirrel on his trip home. Here she is with with her special passenger. I wrapped him up like a mummy to protect him in Audrey's trunk.

Mr Squirrel spent the rest of the New England winter in Audrey's care. When the weather finally turned warmer, Enid took him home. Here she is after transferring Mr. Squirrel's mummy to her car.

Finally, Enid and a gardening friend installed Mr. Squirrel in her back yard garden, where he will be very busy entertaining her friends and family.

He looks very happy doesn't he.

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