We are back in Concordia, Kansas to finish the last 20'x20' of the Wall Mural. This week it's the train engine we have to carve.Get back to the house...we have heat, light, and Aline has left a beautiful bouquet of yellow daffodils on the dining table to greet our return.
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Monday at the CCCC Art Dept. Studio: Slow start with a tidy up of the studio. Barbara Stevens ran in to welcome us back. Surveyed the new batch of brick on the easel. Where's the hose? Where's the nozzle? Panel needs an extra course across the top....do we remember how to do this?
Jet lag/travel exhaustion...need a lunch...El Puerto's comes to mind. We happen to spot Dana Brewer coming in...he fills us in on the color changes and suggests we might want to see what is making everybody happy on the deal since the firing. Decide to vere off to Cloud Ceramics right after lunch to review the new flashed color on the panel. Mark Colette comes zooming up on his forklift to say hi.
The Review: The new brick color enhanced by flashing, solves the firing irregularities that have come about in the long process of the carving schedule. Mark points out a few brick we need to carve to fill in between expansion joints on the sunflower section. That'll be a Friday after lunch deal. We'll bring our carving tools...Mark will have fresh brick for us to work on right outside.The doorway and sunflowers we carved on the last trip are all laid out. Wow!
Now,back to the studio...finally we resolve ourselves to a startup and begin scraping the excess shims from the panel surface. Dave Walker comes in after his work in time to help lay up the final course across the top. We stretch out the paper sketch across the top of the panel....fit it on the wall so the tracks line up with the previous section. An hour of tracing...an hour or two of redrawing on the clay with a carpenter's pencil. Away with the paper, a good hosing, finally ,to resoften the surface for carving. Lucky us, this is the best clay for tolerating drying and rewetting so many times. Where to begin?... it's 8 PM...yes, tomorrow!
Tuesday: Make adjustments on the tracks and cow catcher. Start defining the curve, decide to add the roadbed for the tracks...add brush along the bottom with a variety of creatures.
Wednesday: Endless roadbed grading..cattleguard rehashing and brush cutting. Dick and Phylis Cyphers came by to do some deep digging with us in the afternoon. Stopped at 8 and decided the $1.99 Wednesday QFC country fried steak special was too good to pass up. Hauled in to order and deja vu, Dick and Phylis were sitting there enjoying the same ambiance at a $1.99 delicious!
Thursday: Out the gate slow this morning...working the cattle guard in a confused state. Decided a break carving Brick Mouse was in order while Catharine helped put on the tail. Brick Mouse is the mascot responsible for things that go awry in the studio. More on her escapades later. Catharine working the coal car wheels along the top left side of the panel.
Aline Luecke whizzed in for her usual pictoral photo journal update for the Historical Museum archives. Lunch again at El Puertos...I am so hungry I could eat my way through town.
Barely back to the Art Bldg when Catharine got an SOS call from Mark. Come by the brick yard to help figure out a section that was not quite lining up on one edge. Somebody, like brick mouse, misnumbered the brickman's coveralls. Got the puzzle realigned...whew! We revieiwed tomorrow's options on the small number of brick needing to be recarved.
Did I say Mark and crew had another fifty feet of mural laid out on the ground? Even I was amazed(that's the word) to see fifty of brick mural stretching east and then west of me in the field alongside the brick plant! He showed us the flashing that will eventually be the new color for the full length of the mural. For the first time I spotted the sycamore tree with all the kids under and in it. It did actually all fit together !!!
Friday: Yep,back to carving train parts this morning...me on the cow catcher...Catharine on the coal car wheels. What can I say, it's a lot like raking the yard for a week. After the Numero Uno lunch at El Puerto's, off to Cloud Ceramics to recarve the little miscreants that didn't stay where we needed them. Mark Collette and his assistant, Daren, had the side brick set up adjutting the new we had to cut. Daren helped slice away the preliminaries....then to it. We had four different areas to redo, all totalled 32 new pieces. Mark stayed to help number and palettize the fresh cuts to be drilled next week. Two thirty to after 4:30...we are pooped and our carving day has yet to really begin. Another coffee round at Mickie D's and a sandwich. We're back at the studio now on swing shift...hoping it won't be the graveyard shift!
Saturday: Got it going at ten...Dick and Phylis Cyphers on team to help. Can't remember how the day went, except ,finally got those engine wheels carved by nighttime. Carol Urban worked on the engine barrel with Catharine....on and on we scraped. Time out for a pizza delivery on a late lunch, then back to it. I finished the lower brush with additions of various wildlife...bunny,bird with eggs in a nest, and a couple ground squirrels tucked up in the branches. I put Phylis on carving another brick mouse up at the sink counter. Ten oclock, we were done but for a few touch ups....phew!!
Sunday: Tidied up the engine with the crew. Phylis and Dick brushed off the extra crumbs fallen everywhere. One o'clock, the take down gang moseyed in. We helped Dave Walker get ready on the set up, then away to finish packing, and off to the Salina Airport to get me on Easter Break in Texas.