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Improba Putti, Burning Man Sculpture

Last year, Vulfie, among numerous other artists were given a proposal to create a sculpture to fit the Burning Man theme for this year which was Di Vinci’s workshop, in addition to creating four bas-relief sculptures to be placed on each side of the plinth box. With a little nudging from me, Paloma, he decided to give it a shot, with me telling him this was right up his alley and that he would be a shoe in.The sculptures were to be placed on top of a 4′ x 8′ plinth block and could be made out of whatever material the artist deemed appropriate. The selected artists would be given a partial grant to help offset the costs involved. In January of this year, Vulfie received notification that he had been selected as one of the artists, which meant he had approximately eight months to complete his projects, which also meant that my workload would become heavier, no I really didn’t think it through when I was doing the nudging:(
Side View of Plinth Block

Side View of Plinth Block

Improba Putti with Bas-reliefs

Improba Putti with Bas-reliefs

So Vulfie turned his back yard into his workshop because there was no way we were going to fit such a large piece into our studio. He decided it would be best to build the sculpture out of paper mâché using a metal framework as the main reinforcement and then paint it to look like a bronze patina sculpture. We happened to know someone who could do faux finishes for that part:)
He started on the bas-relief sculptures first to get a feel for how the paper mâché was going to work in addition to painting them and then he moved onto the big one. One of the biggest problems he encountered was the fact that the paper mâché was just not drying very well, most likely because the application of the areas were quite thick. He had built a plastic structure around the sculpture so that he could work on it and be protected from the sun and rain but it sort of turned into a greenhouse and kept the moisture in.
He was able to work on it some everyday which enabled him to meet his deadline. Transporting such a large piece also became an issue but it ended up working out. Upon delivering the sculpture it was quite emotional to see as the forklift operator lifting her onto the plinth box. I must admit I was very proud of what he had accomplished.
Improba Putti with "the Man" in the background

Improba Putti with “the Man” in the background

What turned out to be rather comical in retrospect was the fact that his sculpture was placed in an area in close proximity to “the Man” and just as his sculpture was being put into position they were testing the contraption that they had made to have “the Man” spin, as in the Vitruvian man of Di Vinci. We heard a large pop and we saw a lot of dust come off of him just as the head job supervisor was yelling “evacuate”.  We all took off running thinking that the whole think might come crashing down and in the distance you could hear a loud horn blowing that at the time I had no idea what it was. We were just being told that we needed to move the truck, quickly, that the sculpture had been transported in. I looked off in the distance and saw what was causing the loud horn blowing. A huge semi was headed in our direction at full speed and was throwing up a huge dust storm and you’re only allowed to drive five miles an hour, but I guess this was an emergency. Well the whole thing turned out fine in the end and “the Man” was saved. I guess the moral of the story is that even in some peoples fantasy world not everything goes according to plan:)
Close-up of Burning Man sculpture

Close-up of Burning Man sculpture

Vulfie and Paloma sitting on the Plinth Block at Burning Man

Vulfie and Paloma sitting on the Plinth Block at Burning Man

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Hexagon Styrofoam Yurt

Upon preparing for Burning Man this year it was decided that it would be the most cost effective to build a Styrofoam yurt. Burning man is held every year in the Black Rock desert near Las Vegas where temperature can reach into three digits. The other main issue is sand storms or white outs and it’s great to have a place for shelter.

 

Yurt Material

Yurt Material

Cutting the Styrofoam

Cutting the Styrofoam

The cost to build one is roughly $450.00. The majority of that cost is the one inch plus Styrofoam sheets. To build a 12’ yurt you need twelve 4 x 8 sheets. The other main cost is the filament tape to seal the edges after the sheets have been cut to size. One of the main restrictions of Burning Man is to leave no trace so you can’t have any “Moop” which is remove all Matter Out Of Place like stuff that can get loose like Styrofoam bits and fly away easily with the wind.

Yurt roof flat

Yurt roof flat

Interior of Yurt

Interior of Yurt

We ordered the materials since not all of it was available from Home Depot and once we had everything it took three of us half a day to cut out the shapes and tape up the edges. Out on the “Playa” (the desert floor in Black Rock) it will be held down with rope and tent stakes and placed on top of a tarp. The Styrofoam does a pretty good job in keeping it somewhat cooler inside and it can be reused for next year.

Finished Yurt

Finished Yurt

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Antique Tapestry Mural

We were recently asked to do a mural from an old tapestry that our client had of his mother’s that had been around for a long time. It had seen better days with an assortment of coffee stains and misc. damage on it. His girlfriend though it would be nice to reproduce the tapestry on their entry wall.

We were able to take the image and thru the use of Photoshop technology skew the image to fit the space which was elongated compared to the tapestry which was square. We then used a projector to get the basic outline of shapes on the wall and adjusted for the scale. After that the background colors started to go in, and then the detailing and the border. Our client asked us if it was possible to add in a little camel in the background somewhere and so we did. If you look real close, he is by the building on the right. We really enjoyed working on a project that had emotions attached to it seeing that our client was born in Egypt.

Tapestry Mural

Mural Close-up

At the same time we did a finish on all the new built-ins in the library. A deep green and brown finish with antiquing was chosen. We also distressed all the new wood, which when the cabinetmaker saw what we were doing I’m not sure he was that happy seeing that he had spent so long making everything perfect.

Antiqued bookcases

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French Country Chateau

We were recently involved in doing a makeover of a powder room in a beautiful home in Rancho Santa Fe. Upon entering the home you see the words “Le Petite Chateau” above the entry gate.

Seeing that the nature of this house was very French, my client and I decided it would be best to continue on with that theme in the powder room. The cabinets to start with were white washed oak and the walls were just white and there was a wooden framed mirror behind the sink. The first task on the agenda was to get rid of the white washed oak. My client chose to go with a distressed cape cod blue finish for over the existing cabinets. For the walls we chose a vintage grey French linen look with large stencils. This was accomplished by using a Venetian plaster and combing thru it to give it a grass cloth texture. Verses were chosen in English such as “Welcome Friends” that had meaning for my client and translated to French “Bienvenue Amis” and then enlarged, traced and painted freehand in various areas on the walls. For the mirror frame we painted it out white to match the trim in the bathroom and then aged it with grey to pull in the wall color.

French Grasscloth

Custom cabinet finish

Custom cabinet finish

 

 

 

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Burning Man

This is a character we fondly called “Frobot”. Vulfie built him on top of a golf cart to take to “Burning Man”. He was mainly made out of polypropylene plastic with a metallic Mylar attached to that and this was all attached to a metal frame.Frobot The top had to come apart in sections in order to fit in the truck to haul it to the middle of the black rock desert which is where Burning man is held. It also had LED lights hooked up to it to make it glow at night. To see more of our other projects click here. Frobot 2Frobot at night

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Building the base for St. Michael

This was a base for the Saint Michael statue that we were commissioned to St. Micheal Basebuild because the statue needed to be raised about four feet in order to be seen properly. We selected a flagstone that worked with the colors of the surrounding area, and cut them to fit the space creating a sculptural pedestal for the statue to stand on. Click here to see more photos of the space.

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Custom Aurastone Counter top

Aurastone CountertopLately we have been making customs counter tops. This is a product that can go over an existing counter top with no demo required. It’s extremely durable and heat resistant and you can achieve a wide variety of looks and designs. This client wanted a faux marble look over her existing 4 x 4 white tile. To see more of our other projects click here.

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Musicians Piano shell

piano surroundWe were commissioned to paint a piano shell for an electric keyboard for a band called “Mathew West”. They travel the country and they would carry a heavy wooden frame to go around the electric keyboard so that it would look like an old piano. The cost and the weight of this got to be a little much so instead they hired www.casextreme.com to make a light weight shell for them and then we were to paint a piano facade on that so that from the audiences perspective it would look like a real piano.  To see more or our other projects click Here.

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Saltillo Bas-relief

home_thumb_sculptureOn this project we were to create an interesting tropical design out of custom designed Saltillo tile that was to be attached to a retaining wall. We first started out with a drawing of the design that we wanted and drew it out to scale to fit the thirty-three foot length wall. We then drew full size individual patterns of each leaf design that would be going on the wall out of poster board and cut them out. After that was finished we took all of our patterns and went down to Tecate, Mexico, to a Saltillo factory and our helper started rolling out the Saltillo clay while we started laying out our patterns and cutting them out of the clay. At then end we had some 400 pieces cut since we did run into size limitations when dealing with the Saltillo clay. We then imprinted a few with some designs like dragon flies and then they were fired in the kiln. After they were finished we brought them back to San Diego and began laying them out piece by piece and slowly adhering them to the wall. It was like a giant jigsaw puzzle. We ended up making a few modifications along the way because of the sizing, and then we sealed it and grouted it all with a similar colored grout. To see more of our sculptures click here.Bas-relief peices

Saltillo Tile Relief Mural

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Metallic Blue conference table

Posted on by Paloma Glass

This was a fifteen foot conference table that we ended up doing on-site after hours at a television studio. It took approximately eight guys to move it. We ended up building ourselves a little plastic bubble to work in, and we could only work when they weren’t shooting for a broadcast which was mainly at night. After priming and base coating it, we sprayed on three coats of the metallic soft blue finish and then top coated it three times to protect it even though glass was placed on top of the finished piece. To see more of our furniture pieces click here.

Conference Table

Conference Table

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