Obelisco Fabrication

Obelisco Fabrication

Year

2011

Location

Austin, Texas

A vital detail in Ben’s plan was the fact that he wanted to produce everything in studio and not send the hands out to a commercial foundry. Producing metal casted hands from plaster positives is a multi-step process and each step needed to be repeated for each of the 100 plus hands that were created in the workshops.

First the plaster positives from the workshops were cleaned and attached to a reusable flat board. Ben sifted oil bonded sand over the hand and tamped it down to form another mold. He removed the plaster cast, creating a highly detailed negative of each hand, complete with lines, wrinkles and fingerprints.

Ben heated the metal in the kiln until it was molten and poured it into the sand mold. After cooling, he prepared the hands for composing and coloring.

For the composition step, Ben carefully arranged and rearranged the hands on a metal backer panel. When he concluded that the balance and design were perfect he assigned each hand a color from the specified color scheme and drew a template.
He used this template to mark the areas on the panels for drilling and attaching the hands. After drilling and threading holes on each hand and the panels it was time to dye the metal.
The heat set dye required Ben to heat the panel and hands to 200 degrees Fahrenheit before applying the colorant. He submerged the hands into their assigned color and once cooled he sealed them and completed the sculpture by attaching them to the panels.