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Alice . . . All flowers can talk! It's just that your flowers are all asleep; their beds are way too soft.
a raised copper vessel - 12"dia. 3.5" deep

Once upon a time there was a craftsman bowl in a display case at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
  -   -   -   and actually, it's still there (but I digress . . .)

Years ago, I used to work for the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, in the Childrens Theater division with our theater and offices inside the Institute of Arts.   It was wonderful, when we did period pieces I could go up in off hours and get close to things in the period rooms. No touching, but getting close, and seeing from all angles can help a lot when you art trying to understand a style, and how it was produced. One of the things that fascinated me was this copper bowl.

And How, you may ask, does that relate to a sleeping flower?

The flower came from the bowl, and Alice. . . remember Alice, not the one with the restaurant. The one with the looking glass and the rabbit hole. I visited her twice, once in a play, and once in the production of an animated display. I considered Carroll, Tenniel's illustrations, Rackums illustrations, all sorts of other illustrations, I even got to go into the archives at the U and handle Dali's illustrations... It was great fun, but it was long ago.

bowl at the institute of arts

It started when I noticed that the entire piece could be generated by just folding a flat sheet, like a piece of orgami.

I laid out the rise and angle of all the folds and found we were back to a flat sheet, so I took my best guess and traced a pattern on copper and started putting in the bends, without annealling so that I was less likely to accidentally shrink or stretch the material.

I got it close enough to see that my thesis was correct. The stiff material didn't want to bend all the way, but it got close enough, and in forming the part I learned enough about how my "best guess" pattern folded to perfect it if I wished to try again with softer material. Then the "Foot in the Door" invite came and I thought hey, maybe I could just fold this up so it fits in a 1 ft cube.   I annealled the piece and bent all the folds in a lot further till they started to get stiff again. It was still just over a foot across but I hauled in in to take progress photos.

The Transformation

I looked at my bowl, and noted that I needed to anneal it to go further,and that also, to my eye it would not look as good if I moved it further in. I faced a dilemna, what to do continue to do variations upon a theme started by a guy a hundred years ago or strike out on my own on a voyage of discovery.

I got out my hammer and collapsed all the pleats back into themselves leaving a complex pattern of thick and thin veins in the material. Then then I stretched out the bottom some and stepped back.

The lovely rich texture was soo realistic, complex, flower like, I decided that it needed to be kept.

copper floral bowl

I flipped it over and stretched out the bottom back up into the bowl and looked again. Now a sane man might have quit at this point, but then I have never made that claim.

Then I popped the dome across and pushed it back so it left a raised rim around the edge of the center of the flower.

Followed by reversing it again and dressing up that raised edge around the flower face.

Then I filled the back with plasticine clay, tapping it in with a hammer to make sure all the voids were filled.

I started sketching in the face and making some of the first forming passes. sinking the eyes and sockets back into the clay and outlining the face

Then I filled the front with plasticine clay, tapping it in with a hammer to make sure all the voids were filled.

I set a spinning die/flat round stake with a button to grab in the vice onto the top of the clay moved the entire piece to the vice and worked detail from the back, stretching out the chin, cheeks, nose and moved the forehead down a bit, bringing out the eyebrows, starting the leaf "hair", and popping the eyeballs back across to thier proper position.

I then alternated, front back, front back as needed to tune the details and then planished his cheeks and chin over steel stakes.

He's dreaming about something. I don't know what; he never told me; but the knit brow and the soft smile suggest something interesting.

This hand wrought one of a kind work of art is now available for sale.

$1599.99 US
(the paypal site will notify you if is already sold)

(most images on this page are displayed 2/3rd scale. If you wish more detail, right click on the image and chose view image for the full scale version)