30 June, 2019No Comments

Fire & Ice – beginning to end

This glass was too good to be 'just a sample' waiting to be dumped. So I asked if I could have it. Essentially, Fire & Ice is a sculpture made from a found object.

I didn't specify this glass, I didn't pick the colours, I just saw the beauty in it waiting to be shown.

Sketches and ideas

A few early sketches below, trying to work out what I could do with these two pieces of dichroic glass.

sketches of fire and ice

Building the base

Form ply used to make the base and cavity.
Mesh cage that sits in the void of the form ply. This strengthens the cement.
My failed first attempt. This shows how thick the walls are.
Freshly poured cement.
End result, I drilled and chiselled the timber out where the glass will go in.
Just after the shape was cut with a Water Jet

Clamping System

We developed a clamping system to hold the glass in place. The system works by applying pressure evenly from the sides using steel plates. A solid 10mm plate on the back and 2 x 5mm on the face side. Two screws with a ‘wedge nut’ design pulls inwards when tightening.

Bringing it all together

The end result gives a rich glow in low light at night.

Brushed Stainless steel finishing

Brushed Stainless Steel band to finish off the sculpture
The steel finishes the sculpture off

The Brookfield Sculpture Show

The First Sculpture competition I entered was the Brookfield Show Sculpture section. Only a few kilometers away from my home.

This was where I met Ros Haydon and Judy Hamilton from Sculptors Queensland. They were asked to re-introduce sculpture back into the Brookfield show.

Fire and Ice breaks away from traditional sculptural materials, making excellent use of the strength and solidity of cement in the base while the glass pillars are used to reflect the ever changing colours of the atmosphere.Considerable thought has been given to the shape of the void between the glass pillars. It is this void that completes the sculpture, anchoring the piece to its environment.The stainless steel band acts as an effective ligament between the glass and the cement base.

Derek Johnston - Judge at the Brookfield Sculpture Show

Fire and ice is a sculpture made with dichroic glass. The glass glows red when facing a dominant light source, the reverse will always be blue.
The Sculpture Experience Fire and Ice is best positioned facing east in a large foyer or courtyard. The effect will then show blue glass in the morning when the sun is rising behind it. When the sun sets in the west and the light of the house/building shines towards the sculpture, a red glow will appear. Changing your viewing angle will also result in colour changes, for example moving up or down stairs and looking at the glass from another height.

The Shape

The negative space (cut out area) in the 2 panels of glass, forms a superellipse. This ellipse is also called a "Lamé Curve", the shape between a square and a circle (sometimes nicknamed a "squircle"). I was fascinated with this shape, and was looking for an opportunity to use it in my sculptures, it was just so different. Now, I see it quite often around me, for example the yellow plastic container inside a Kinder Surprise chocolate egg or designer table tops. The curve I chose for Fire and Ice was set to n=2.6

The Glass

The glass is 20mm structural laminated GJ ColourShift dichroic glass, made by G.James. This glass is strong enough stand frameless, grouted into the concrete plinth. It can withstand being outdoors, but an indoor setting will prolong the life of the sculpture.

The Visual Effect

Visual effects involving movement and light has an appeal with me. Which is why this glass caught my eye, it reminds me of the fluid movement of water and the opposite side of fire. The effect will continue to change and surprise you.

Mount Coot-Tha Gardens Exhibition

After the Brookfield Sculpture Show I entered it into the Sculptors QLD Yearly exhibition at Mt. Coot-Tha Botanical Gardens. Unfortunately my work was out of contention for any prizes because I won first prize at Brookfield. However I asked the judge Simone Oriti to give me feedback.

With Jaco’s work I appreciated the simplicity of forms/shapes and the subtle change of the glass colour. The silhouette of negative space also worked well in the setting in terms of framing some of the sculptural plants behind the work. It would also be great to see an even larger scale version of the work, bigger than human scale could create an interesting dynamic between the viewer and the work, hopefully Jaco gets an opportunity to explore this down the track.

Simone Oriti
Program Manager UAP - Judge at Sculptors QLD Yearly exhibition Mt. Coot-Tha Botanical Gardens.

A new permanent home

The new home of Fire & Ice in Brisbane
The sculpture is issued with a signed Certificate of Authenticity

10 July, 2013No Comments

Gutted – process and inspiration

I started to work on this project with no expectations. I didn’t think about what I would make and where I would put it in my home. I just wanted to learn and explore.
On recommendation from a friend, I joined the Brisbane Institute of Art and enrolled in the “Sculpture 1” semester course.
With a small group of people we started exploring sculpture.
Our instructor and sculptor, Karl de Waal, outlined our course and highlighted the mediums we will be using during the semester. The instructions for the first medium was clay, we had to take a 2D image and make a 3D version of it. The second medium was Hebel (aerated cement blocks). The third medium was “found objects”.

Fossilised death assemblage

Over the course of a few weeks, deliberating what to make, I settled on the idea of recreating a death assemblage that I saw when looking at pictures of dinosaurs and fossils with my son. Karl taught me how to make molds of little fish for creating repetitious patterns of fish to create a scene of multiple fish.
While getting inspiration for the fish I naturally also stumbled across fossilised predatory fish. During this stage, I read an article about birds dying on a remote island off the coast of China, where the contents of their stomachs were full of plastic and other foreign objects by Chris Jordan.

This gave me the idea of creating a fossilised “death assemblage” inside a predatory fish’ stomach with a subtle twist by adding the fish hooks to the little fish, something that didn’t belong in the fish and its era.

I made a set of moulds for the head and fins and then made a full size negative of the sculpture. I then cast plaster to create the positive.

Once I completed the plaster cast predator, I coated it and left it until closer to the end of the course to apply a specific coloured tint to it. The tint used was bitumen, it was applied and wiped off to create a realistic “fossilised” look.

Geometric predator

Before starting the next medium, Hebel, I thought about what I was going to do and whether I should create a themed set across the 3 mediums. Karl and I discussed various options with Hebel, by cutting a standard Hebel block in half I realised I could achieve the exact length as the plaster fish if I joined the 2 half blocks lengthwise. At this point the decision was made that I will be making 3 fish that fit into a 1200 x 400 framed background.

Karl and I talked about the Hebel fish and I mentioned that I could used the serrated edge of the used saws to place a row of teeth for the Hebel fish, but that meant the stomach contents theme would not be followed. This then sparked the whole idea of making a complete fish out of blades. Instead of going for the traditional soft curved Hebel sculptures, I decided to try and make a geometric shape fish with straight lines and hard edges.
I wasn’t sure if I would be able to achieve this look successfully, but I just persisted and got it done. The porous surface was filled and sanded before being spray-painted white. This was my first attempt at using Hebel and spray-painting, all I can say is I have a lot still to learn.

The idea I had for the stomach contents of this fish was to be real aquarium fish sealed in formaldehyde. Access to the chemical proved to be too difficult and instead I used two fishing lures.

The background used was 4mm thick “mill finish” aluminium sheet.

Fish of blades

The last fish in the set was going to be made completely out of blades. I started thinking of the shapes required and found that the shapes in knives are perfect for recreating various parts of a fish. I started buying used knives from second hand shops and online classified websites.

With the shape of the plaster fish in mind, I found that a samurai sword was the perfect shape to give the fish its natural curve as a finishing touch. The head and other parts were made from a kitchen knife block set where I used 9 steak knives on the bottom half and 2 bread knives for the front fins.

The top part of the fish comprised of 29 utility knife blades. Other smaller items finished the fish off like the pizza cutter for a gill and the saw blades for the rear fin. I used a total of 80 blades, mainly second hand knives and samurai swords. There were only 2 new blades and the utility knife blades were new.
On recommendation from Karl I did not use any glue, welding or soldering. Every knife was drilled with a carbide drill bit and pop riveted into place. I needed a background and I just thought to myself a cement background at the exact 1200mm x 400mm size will be easily accomplished. This was the ideal medium to serve as a background for the stainless steel knives.

The stomach contents of this predator are small plastic soy sauce sushi fish bottles. This served as a link to the blades theme of the predator and follows the theme across the three fish.

It was a race against time for Karl and I to mount the sculptures. I had three mountings made to ensure they are supported to provide visitors with the opportunity to view them safely.

When I completed all three sculptures in time for the exhibition, I felt that everything about this project somehow just fell into place. The sizes, the shapes, the colours.