In 1991, Morgan
Faulds Pike created a series of drawings that
quickly demonstrated the concept of the statue envisioned
by the sculptor. From these drawings, a small clay
study, or maquette, 20 inches high, was made
by her to design the three dimensional composition
that was submitted in an international design competition
to the Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association
(GFWA). The basic gestures and proportions of the
figures were determined in this small scale where
change was relatively easy. When the concept had
been approved by the GFWA, the clay maquette was
cast in plaster using the waste mold process.
After a careful search, a suitable boulder, weighing
about 20 tons, was found for the base for the bronze
figures. A structural engineer designed the massive
20-ton foundation and the anchoring system to withstand
frost, wind, and water damage. The boulder was installed
at the site in June 1998 in order for the scale
model to be built accurately from it.
Landscape designer Ann
Gilardi Johnson, working closely with the sculptor,
created a site plan that would be crucial not only
to the sculpture’s appearance in the context
of the landscape but to the experience of the visitor
to the site.
half size, (4 foot high) scale model was
completed in January 2000. In this model, all of
the important aesthetic, anatomical, gesture and
clothing details were worked out. To begin, a surveyor’s
transit was used to make careful measurements of
the top of
the boulder base in order to duplicate it in half
scale so that feet of the figures would stand correctly
on the uneven surface.
Using the maquette for reference measuring, an
armature (skeleton) was carefully constructed
from steel and wood to support the clay. The clay
was laid on the armature as nude studies were made
from models prior to adding the clothing. The scale
model was waste-mold cast into plaster. The sculptor
then worked directly on the plaster.
full size clay, 8 feet high, completed by
the sculptor in November 2000, was an enlargement
of the scale model. A plaster cast was made of the
top of the boulder base. On this plaster base a
strong armature was built from steel and wood. Selected
locations called points were transferred from the
scale model to the full size armature using a pantograph
(pointing machine). Flexible rubber molds were made
on the clay and these in turn were backed up with
steel reinforced plaster “mother” molds.
In the winter of 2001, at the bronze foundry, wax
positives were made in the rubber molds. The
wax was in pieces that were the exact thickness
that the hollow bronze would be. The sculptor worked
on the waxes to improve and correct details. Gating
channels, made of wax, were added to the wax pieces
to provide routes for the melting wax to escape
and for the bronze to flow into the mold. The waxes
were dipped into a liquid material and a ceramic
shell was built up by dipping and drying many layers.
The shell was
baked hard and the wax melted out.
In late spring 2001, molten bronze, at about 2000°F,
was poured into the molds. After cooling, the ceramic
shell molds were chiseled and broken away and the
rough bronze pieces were exposed. The gating channels,
now solid bronze, were cut away. The pieces were
welded together using the same alloy as the poured
casting. The feet were fitted to their particular
locations on a second plaster cast of the top of
the boulder base.
With a propane blowtorch, the metal was heated
and various chemicals were applied to achieve the
desired color or patina in the metal. A thin coat
of wax was applied to bring the patina to life and
to protect it. An anchoring system for attaching
the bronze to the boulder was specified by a structural
On June 21, 2001, the bronze was trucked to the
site where the boulder base had been drilled to
accept the stainless steel rods and the strong epoxy
grout bonding the feet of the figures to the granite.
The bronze patina will be maintained by washing
and waxing it at least once a year.
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the maintance of the memorial are welcome. Please
send your tax deductible contribution to:
P.O. Box 116
Gloucester, MA 01930
(make checks out to GFWM, Inc.)
For more information about the memorial, or to learn
how to inscribe a granite pathway stone, call or
email Jeanne Gallo
at (978) 283-6049.
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