Thanks so much to Katherine York for helping out with the process and documentation! Check out her beautiful photos linked above.
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.
For the past 2 months I have been living on Koh Chang, one of Thailand’s largest islands. Near Koh Chang there are many coral reefs, and there are local initiatives to tackle the issue of dying coral reefs. Not only on Koh Chang, but all over the world people are responding to this same problem by creating new artificial reefs for coral to colonize, using different approaches. The idea of creating an artificial reef has been gaining momentum for the last 15 years.
An artist, Jason Decaires Taylor’s under water sculptures in Cancun, Mexico combine sculpture and reef restoration. Hist work resembles reminds me of the process Antony Gormley used while making Domain Field, a project he did in 2003 at the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, England. During the creation of Domain Field, Gormley made plaster life casts of 250 people from the town of Gateshead and Newcastle, and used those plaster molds as templates for constructing steel sculptures that loosely delineate the shape of each person. Gormley has also had molds of himself made to make iron casts that are installed facing the sea in Another Place, in Wattenmeer Cuxhaven, Germany. Where Gormley creates softly formed iron casts of his own body, and abstracted forms of the community members of Gateshead, Taylor creates detailed cement casts of people from the communities close to where his sculptures are installed that are softened by the coral over time. What is so interesting to me, is that Taylor has had remarkable success with growing coral, the true aim of his sculpture.
Reef Balls, the name of an NGO that could only be American, also creates underwater structures using pH neutral cement, which is what Taylor uses in creating his cement life casts. PH neutral cement being the key phrase, here. According to Reef Ball research, normal cement has a pH of 13, and alkaline levels are too high for coral to colonize when the structures are initially installed, therefore more aggressive life forms, such as barnacles and algae get there first and inhibit coral growth. The pH in the cement is neutralized through mixing additives, such as micro silica, and curing of the cement for at least 30 days. Here is a photo some finished Reef Balls before and after installation:
Ideally, aided by transplanting coral from existing reefs, it takes only a couple of years for coral to grow over the entire structure.
Though the above photo is the ideal result, I have seen many photos of Reef Balls that look unsuccessful as well. Reef Balls are installed all over the world, and I’m sure it must be hard to guarantee success for every installation. They mention on the website that they have a patent to ensure quality, but I would guess they play a role in project management as well. Site location is the most important factor when trying to create a new reef, where currents and temperature are most suitable for coral to grow.
All in all, Reef Balls are an impressive organization who have found diverse applications for their design. There are also a few related companies, one of which is called Eternal Reefs, who specialize in creating artificial reefs, or ‘memorial reefs’, which are mixed with the ashes of loved ones, complete with an engraved memorial plaque on the side. Fun!
More practical applications of the Reef Ball design are taken on by another offshoot of Reef Balls called Reef Beach, where Reef Balls are used to prevent beach erosion and act as a ‘submerged breakwaters’, surrounding long stretches of shoreline. In some cases, the Reef Balls are simultaneously used to grow oysters. Reef Beach is also undertaking Mangrove restoration using the Reef Balls.
The Reef Ball Foundation is not alone in their quest for reef restoration and coral cultivation. I came across another, more science fiction approach called Biorock, which makes similar claims to successful coral growth. Biorock has an interesting history. Originally thought of to be used in conjunction with ocean thermal energy conservation, Biorock uses the process of electrolysis to create calcium carbonate, the same substance that coral produces naturally. A steel frame is constructed and hooked up to an electric current, and over time the steel is encased in calcium carbonate produced by electrolysis. The calcium carbonate coating will then naturally attract coral, and provide an appropriate substrate where coral can be transplanted. Biorock claims to provide a substrate that makes the coral more hardy, and able to survive coral bleaching where natural coral cannot, so they claim.
Here is a great informative/promotional video from one of the founders of Biorock, Thomas Goreau Ph.D:
The founders of Biorock are a well decorated team in terms of education and work experience and the videos out there for Biorock are pretty convincing. Here is a video of a Biorock reef filmed after 2 years of growth in North Sulawesi, Indonesia:
Each method boasts positive results, but as it is noted on the Reef Ball website, no project can be successful without sufficient scientific data to back it up. The water must first be tested, and the site must be thoroughly analyzed to assess whether or not it will be a good location for coral. I doubt that building a Biorock structure in already polluted water will have good results.
That being said, both approaches leave something to be desired aesthetically. There must be a good team of biologists behind Jason Decaires Taylor work.
In addition to intentionally created artificial reefs, I also came across an unexpected and unintentional source of artificial coral reefs — the offshore oil industry. I had never thought of it before, but oil rigs also act as artificial reefs. Though I’m sure the health of marine life around active rigs is up to debate, this video shows oil rigs teeming with life:
The unintentional results of an ultimately environmentally damaging industry, are amazing. Yet decommissioned oil reefs are taken apart or even blown up, destroying the newly created reefs along with them, adding insult to injury, but there is hope. Here is a link to the Rigs-to-reefs program taken on by the U.S. Department of Interior in Texas.
My favorite method that I have found was good ol’ fashioned gardening. There is no electricity, sparing use of concrete, and a wonderful educational element behind what biologists in Fiji and the Florida keys are doing. Here are two videos about coral proliferation, or ‘coral gardening’.
To create new coral reefs, there must be a combination of good science, simple gardening (coral proliferation), and good site location with a suitable substrate. That is a lot to ask, but it is frustrating to see other examples of projects that are driven by people with no patience or true appreciation for science. Like these concrete cube frames thrown into the ocean by the Thai government, or Osbourne reef attempt off the coast of Florida.
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…
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