For the better part of 2014, I was working on a larger than life sized grizzly bear head, mounted on an architectural keystone. The keystone had scroll elements, known as a corbell, and acanthus leaves on the sides and under the bear’s jaw. Above the bear head is a rosette, with some basic wreath work that blends into the hair, and ogee moulding overhanging the front of the face and going back into the wall. I’ve included some progress photos showing the carving in its unfinished form, and the preliminary model in clay. Done for Barre Sculpture Studios as one of three keystones. The measurements are approximately 4 x 4 x 3ft.
Here are some working photos of a 1ft miniature of Princess Zahara, a character out of the Spider Stories comic book series created by John and Charles Agbaje. Their recent kickstarter campaign to create a 11 minute pilot animation of the comic was a complete success! Great job guys! More progress photos to come.
Thanks so much to Katherine York for helping out with the process and documentation! Check out her beautiful photos linked above.
been a while since I posted anything. So here goes!
In addition to all the comedy I’ve been doing at night, I have have also been working on a commission for Barre Sculpture Studios back in Vermont. The project is a wild boar, to be carved in granite this winter. Here are some progress shots so you can see the evolution of the piece.
To get a better idea of hair direction, here is a drawing that was done over the photo for some final editing before the sculpture is cast.
After looking around Wat Salak Phet I started asking the people still working there painting the sculptures, when the sculptor was coming back, and if I could help when he does. Everyone said he left in a hurry for another job, and no one really knows when/if he is coming back. Too bad, I really wanted to know more about the process. Although I can deduce a little bit about how the sculpture is made, that still tells me nothing about what kind of cement mixture he is using, or about any kind of prep work you need to do to the surface before applying the ornaments. I don’t even know how long you leave the cement in the plaster mold before the cement completely adheres to it! I’m sure there is plenty of steps I am missing, and the only way to know is to see it done.
When I was asking around about the sculptor I had photos of my work with me, and the head monk of the temple came over to take a look. He was impressed and said I could make a sculpture for the temple if I wanted to, and they would provide the supplies! Since Koh Chang means ‘elephant island’ I suggested making an elephant. The monk showed me a patch of grass where I could make a large sculpture, which was nice, but I didn’t want to get in over my head.
First I needed some clay so I could make a few quick studies, or maquettes. I asked one of the painters, Phoom, who spoke english, if he knew where I could get clay. He said yes, and that I could come back the next day to go with him to pick up some clay. The next day, he took me to a ditch further down the road and sure enough, there was clay there with rocks and roots and all! I could tell it was nice white clay, and it was going to take some work, but it was free–and I can go back for more any time I like.
So it took a full week just to dry out the clay, crush it up, take out the big rocks and roots, and let it sit in water for a night. There were still too many little rocks in the clay, so I had to filter it a second time with a finer screen. Now I have a pretty good amount of clay, but it is still slip (clay in liquid form).
I managed to dry enough in the sun to make a maquette. Here it is:
Here I am working on the maquette, with the head monk, Pa Ahjahn.
and it took another two weeks before I could get a ride to the mainland to buy some plaster for a plaster table for drying out wet clay. Now I have the plaster table, and some old plaster molds I found in the inner temple courtyard but they still need to dry out before proper use.
The lack of readily usable clay doesn’t prevent me from getting started on the larger elephant model. The temple has plenty of extra steel rod lying around, and there is a workshop down the road with a welding machine. The workshop I went to is used mainly for boat repair.
Plenty of space to weld an elephant armature! First time I’ve welded without gloves, and in flip flops!
Next, I applied drywall plaster to the armature. Now all I have to do is wedge out a lot of clay…
‘Wat’ is Thai for temple, and Salak Phet is the fishing village down the road from Salak Kok, where I am staying on Koh Chang.
After my first week on Koh Chang I went down to Salak Phet to see the temple that was built over the last couple of years. I was very impressed with how elaborate the temple was for such a small town. The temple is surrounded by a giant snake, and each corner has a god representing north, south, east, and west. Here is the impressive entrance.
After walking once around the temple I noticed that some parts were still unfinished.
As a sculptor, this is actually a great opportunity to learn more about how the Thai sculptors work. It is a combination of modeling and sculpting cement, and mold making. Everything is added directly to a steel armature and built out. In the photo above, you can see the armature of the elephant still exposed, as well as the partially finished underlying form. When I walked into the inner courtyard I found more clues on how the sculptures are made.
It looks like for ornaments/elements of finer detail, small molds are made for fast application. For example, above you can see leftovers from the scales on the snake. I imagine it’s the same process for all of the little ornaments. They are applied to a built out form.
So I imagine that for the snake, first they made a long, rolling tube-cage out of steel rod, and then wrapped that in chicken wire, then applied the first coat of cement. After achieving a uniform shape, they then started adding the scales with little plaster molds for days and days… a little silly, but more direct, and probably faster for unique sculptures like these. There is also a second kind of white cement, which is kind of a mix between plaster and cement, which is used for the detailed top layer in places where the molds don’t fit, like when the snake bends around a corner. It’s very interesting to see, and I hope the sculptor comes back soon, although it looks like he left in a hurry…
Dialog der Kulturen
Ein Amerikanischer Steinbildhauer interviewt einen Deutschen Steinbildhauer.
SW: Sean Williams
Wie bist Du zu deinem Beruf Steinbildhauer gekommen?
A: Andreas Hoferick
Mein Vater geriet im Kalten Krieg zwischen die Fronten und wurde 1972 beruflich passiviert. Daraus erwuchs in mir der Wunsch beruflich etwas ganz Anderes zu werden und die musischen Ambitionen meiner Mutter führten mich zur Bildenden Kunst. Die lange unfreiwillige Kindheit in der DDR und sozialistische Erziehung gegen die ich mich früh genug positioniert habe und deshalb nicht an den DDR-Kunsthochschulen studieren durfte, führte zu einem ausgeprägten alternativem Denken. Deshalb auch der Umweg über eine Bergbaulehre im Kupferschieferbergbau (Lehrling im Bergbau) . Danach begegnete ich auf meiner Suche nach einer Bildhauerwerkstatt dem Steinbildhauermeister J. Klimes in Berlin. Er war Leiter einer Klassischen Bildhauerwerkstatt mit 27 Kollegen und vermittelte historisches Handwerk in der Steinbildhauerei. Kulturell und alternativ orientierte Menschen hatten in der DDR lediglich in einer Nische eine Überlebenschance. Und für mich bot sich diese Gelegenheit in der Werkstatt Klimes. Isoliert von der Welt, konnte ich mich in 11 Jahren Anstellung den Klassischen Stein-Skulpturen widmen, die es zu rekonstruieren galt, denn durch den II.WK waren in Berlin hohe Verluste entstanden.
SW: Wie und wann ist Deine Werkstatt gegründet worden?
A: Als die Werkstett Klimes 5 Jahre nach der „Maueröffnung“ in dem Neuen Wirtschaftssystem nicht mehr überlebensfähig war entschloss ich mich 1995 mit 3 weiteren Kollegen eine kleinere Werkstatt auszugründen und ich fand Anschluss an des Kollegium der Restauratoren Berlin welches eine freie Assoziation von Restauratoren im selben Stadtbezirk Weißensee war und ist. Von 1989-1993 studierte ich an der TFH – Wedding Steinrestaurierung, so kann ich meine Steinbildhauerischen Arbeiten unterstützen.
15 Jahre lang (1995-2010) ist es mir gelungen die Werkstatt Hoferick in demselben Stil wie die Werkstatt Klimes weiterzuführen, allerdings nur noch mit 7 Mitarbeitern.
SW: Welches war das Projekt mit der interessantesten Herausforderung für Dich und warum?
A: Pferdeportraits sind noch vor den Kolossalskulpturen wie z.B. der der „Caritas“ welche eine Größe von 5,70 m besitzt, eine besondere Herausforderung. Abgesehen von meiner unbefangenen Entdeckung, dass Pferde Fabelwesen gleichen, ist die Skulptur eines Pferdes wohl das Komplizierteste was einem naturalistisch arbeitenden Bildhauer begegnen kann.
SW: Wie ist Deine Werkstattphilosophie?
A: Skulpturen oder Ensembles zu schaffen, die der vermeintlichen Kurzlebigkeit unserer Zeit widerstehen. Wir kreieren die historische Zukunft in unserem Metier: Steinbildhauerei
SW: Wie sieht die Zukunft für Dich aus?
A: Was ich als nächstes machen will ist meine KUNST in anderen Ländern und Kulturen bekanntzumachen und an den in der Kunst bisher üblichen Selbstdarstellungen vorbei zu agieren. Z.B Themen anderer Kulturen aufzunehmen und in einem kulturellen Dialog bildnerisch darzustellen.
SW: How did you become a Stone carver?
A: Andreas Hoferick
In the cold war my father operated between the two fronts and was occupationally passified in 1972. From then on there grew a desire to become something completely different and my mother’s musical ambitions drove me to fine art. The long restricted childhood in the DDR and socialistic upbringing, which I had been against early on and thus didn’t allow me to study in the DDR fine art colleges, lead me to an distinct alternative route. I began with the indirect route of becoming and apprentice in a copper mine. Afterwards during my search for a scupture workshop I came across the Stonecarver J. Klimes in Berlin. He was the head of a classical sculpture workshop with 27 co-workers and subcontracted historical works of sculpture. Cultured and alternatively oriented people in the DDR’s only chance to survive was finding a Niche. The workshop of J. Klimes offered me this opportunity. Isolated from the world, I was able to dedicate 11 years of employment to classical stone sculpture intended for reconstruction, and the many losses of WW2 in Berlin provided ample work.
SW: How and when did you establish your workshop?
A: When Klimes’ workshop was no longer viable in the new economic system 5 years after the ‚opening of the wall’, 3 other colleagues and I resolved to start up a small workshop and found connections in the College of Restuaration Berlin which is a free association of conservators in Weißensee. From 1989 to 1993 I studied stone conservation at the TFH-Wedding (University of Applied Sciences), which supports my work as a stone carver. For 15 years I successfully ran the workshop Hoferick in the same fashion as the workshop Klimes, if only with 7 co-workers.
SW: Which was the project with the most interesting challenge for you, and why?
A: Horse portraits, even in comparison to collossal sculptures like „Caritas“ which is 5.7m tall, are especially challenging. Irrespective of my naive observations, the horse is that of a myth, and the form of a horse if definitely the most complicated form that a figurative sculptor can come up against.
SW: What is your workshop Philosophie?
A: To create sculptures or compositions, that withstand the professed humanity of our time. We create the historical future in our profession: Stonecarving.
SW: What do you have in mind fort he future?
A: What I want to do next is to make my art well known in other countries and cultures, and to work past what has been traditionally called self-expression in art. For example: taking up themes of other cultures and expressing them in a visual cultural dialogue. Stone carving is an age-old tradition in which every person doesn’t have to think of within a specific epoch or culture and in times of such global thinking it is important to foster a continuation of these skills.
Fotos mit freunchliche Genehmigung von Andreas Hoferick
Photo provided courtesy of Andreas Hoferick