Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Making of the Monument

Beginning to work on the monument was it's own process.  I saw this beautiful photo of a little boy coming out of the wheelchair and that became the idea in my head that I wanted for William's monument.

Unfortunately, we ran into several problems with this.  First, this one was designed and created by the boy's own father and he was not about to release the copyright.  Second, I emailed over a dozen artists across the US to try to help us come up with a similar concept that was also an original idea (is that even possible?).  :)  Of the ones who expressed any interest at all, I interviewed several over the phone.  I began to get desperate when it did not look like we would have any success.  We were quoted prices in excess of $100k!  I couldn't believe it!  And, even when we reduced the size the price was astronomical and the production time over a year.  Discouraging.

Then a friend suggested I contact The Crucible, which I did.  The owner, Mark Palmerton, was very sensitive to our situation and actually went to William's blog to learn a little about him.  He worked with us to get a piece that was more in our budget that would also fit William's personality and uniqueness.

As much as William loved to ride, we actually considered something like this, depicting the freedom he had on the back of a horse, especially since participants coming in at The Right Path will pass it.  But we were never fully at ease with the idea.  When the idea of "Finishing the Race" came up, we were immediately pleased with the idea.

Mark helped us come up with what we would need to get started and determine size and budget, even giving us options and instructions for the things we could do ourselves to reduce the price.  We took in several photos and waited for the call, hoping to be able to install the memorial in October, around the anniversary of his death.

First, they got started shaping the clay.  After Tomaki (the artist) got the first rendition of that done, we went to look at it.  And made changes.  And made more changes.  For hours.  Bless his heart, Tomaki was very patient with us and never took offense at anything.  I won't post all the pictures here, but it was quite a process.  Later we went back with the children and he made more changes based off of their faces.  Originally we wanted the hair spiked.  Many of you know how much William liked to wear his hair that way.  But in the end, it just didn't look like him, so we changed it.  A few times.  :)

After we got the clay set, it was time to start the molding process.  They made a wax form of the sculpture.

Then they made a ceramic form around that so they could pour the bronze into the mold.  They move the pieces into the large fire kiln and it has to be extremely hot for the process to work.

After they bronze is poured, it sets for awhile.  When it is all cooled and ready, they put the pieces together and weld them.  Then it's time to put the patina (color) on the bronze.

Final bronze after welding and filing...

First layer of patina...

Scrubbing the patina off to the desired color...

After all patina is sprayed on and scrubbed down, they apply a hot wax for the finishing.

While we were waiting for the process of the bronze to be finished, we had the base set.  The men came out to build the form.

Then poured the concrete with dye in it.

Then I decided I wanted a different color... :)

So we acid stained it.

The boys helped move dirt around.

We went out and cut down several cedar trees and the children and Michael stripped them all.

Several friends came out to help set the bronze, hang William's bells, and build my swing...all in a day!  And it was a HOT day!  I'm so thankful for everyone's help.  I cannot express enough how much it means to all of us!

Getting an early morning start...

The Corinthian Bells go up...

Working on the swing...

After the monument went up, we started working on the flowers...

The finished product, just before friends began arriving...

We didn't get the putty removed before the gathering...just ran out of time.

Then we gathered with a few friends to celebrate William's life with a potluck and singing.

This is one of my favorite photos...children out by William's spot, enjoying life.

Singing I'll Fly Away... The first part is cut off and I'm not sure which child shot this video but I'm glad.  One of William's favorites.  He used to ask me if it was time for him to fly away when he got sick.  He would even tell me he was ready to fly away.  Just a few more weary days...

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I don't publish comments. I'm not good at checking them. :) You may email me directly at Joshalyn@rightpathridingacademy.org.