"Glimpses of the Promised Land"

A Sculpture for Chavis Park in Raleigh, NC

Mike Roig, Sculptor



Getting a Leg Up




   Moving the first leg to vertical has a great effect on my mood. I must say the prolonged process of getting a public sculpture moving into the fabricating stage can be tiresome. This project has been in the abstract phase of idea far longer than any piece I've worked on, and it's very satisfying to my soul to see a real piece of steel standing. The virtual world holds no similar thrill for me to the physical presence of weight and mass angling into space.

    A welcome addition to the studio this week has been the participation of a fine young sculptor in the making by the name of Robert Parker. On winter break from Bennington College, he'll be helping to horse these beams around for the next month or more. I've been telling him to stock up on the Wheaties.

    The first beam itself has been reshaped, taking on a more organic, even elegant form. A second beam has been shaped, drilled and welded into place to give this section a solid, stable footprint. Cut, weld, grind, and grind some more - sand, wirebrush and finally its time to flip it over and finish the other side. This is where we get our first look at this up-to-now beached whale standing. Since that moment I've been stepping lighter, breathing easier, and back firmly in the camp where I can say this job is fun - making "art" for sure, but also the simple thrill of just making  a big crazy thing in the backyard.


    Finally it moves to the deck, the level staging platform where the components will come together for their initial assembly. Give it a good cleaning, seal it with some Penetrol and it will be time to turn this next week to laying out the other two legs. I've got some problem-solving to do in creating the bolting system, thinking through the pivot assembly. That's all part of the creative process. This first component will stand inspirational watch for the thinking and planning that will follow, the first solid manifestation from which all else will now flow. Til next time.


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Photos by

Clay Carmichael