Tuesday, March 17, 2015

baby spiders - electrons

Double click to read all the comments 
the youth wrote on the posters.

Shhh. God is whispering to all. He tells me I am his.
Three minutes.

Reeleef comes. Jesus' death for our guilt. Something he does because he chose to do it. Something he did all by himself. Something only he could do. Infinite became weak and died. He lives again. He brings relief to what haunts me, what guilts me, what tears me apart inside, what torments me. He stops it. He gives me the joy he knows, the compassion he feels, the thoughts he thinks, the help I need.
Two minutes.

Monday, March 16, 2015

leadwork creation - sculptor

Arthur Geisert said he pounded designs in sheet lead with a hammer and chisels. And ice? Well. I asked him about that too. Portions of my interview with the sculptor from September 2nd, 29th, and Oct. 24th, 2014 follow, next. Double click on images to see enlarged. 

Karl Marxhausen (KM): Hello Art. Is this a good time to ask questions?
Art Geisert (AG): Yes.

KM: So, I saw a photo of you carving something out of ice. At first I thought it was Milt Heinrich, but then discovered it was you. What was that you were making?
AG: I was trying to make Abraham Lincoln. I used picks and chisels. The usual tools one chisels with.

KM: How did you get into sculpture?
AG: I was doing lots of bronze casting at Davis when I was in school there. I graduated from there. I worked in the foundry for a year. A group of us were casting other peoples’ stuff, sculptures. I learned a lot. It was hard work and hot. I did some for myself. Bronze angels.

AG: Later on, I sold my bronzes for scrap. They were heavy to move around. I kept the best ones.
AG: The ceramic kilns were in the same building as the foundry at Davis. They were casting pretty big items. One guy was doing all these casts of elbows. He turned out to be Bruce Nauman. 
KM: Was he famous?
AG: Yes he was.
AG: I got my MFA at Davis in Sacramento. 

AG: So, I wanted to continue making big sculpture without a foundry. I ended up working in lead. The rolls were four feet by 24 feet. I ordered them from Saint Louis Lead. You have to put a metal pipe through the core of the roll and have some help to lift it up. You cut off sections with a hammer and a chisel. I washed my hands after working with it.
KM: Isn’t lead work poisonous?
AG: Lead has an accumulative poisoning. The fumes can build up in you. Working with the furnaces and heat and fumes, we drank bottles of milk and extra large milkshakes after the sessions. The ingredients in milk and milkshakes can counter the poisonous effect of lead fumes. Remedy. The heat of the furnaces was ungodly. Our boss Jim Bruni told us to be at work 5 in the morning. We’d work from 5 in the morning and get done early afternoon. It was hard work. Hot.

KM:  I was taking photos of your Creation Sculpture that stands in front of the Music Building at Concordia University. I remember what you said about hammering sheet lead. There is so much detail captured in your work. But it was the large bolts that caught my eye. What are they bolted to? The cement?

AR: There is a steel frame underneath. A welded circular frame. There was a six inch space on the inside of the lead and then a plywood form for the cement. The steel frame rested on the pedestal. 

AR: The concrete was in a box. Two of us did all the work. You can guess who the two were.
KM: You and my dad (Marxie)?
AR: No, your dad was busy that day. He couldn’t be there.
KM: You and Wiegman?
AR: No. Your mother. It was me and your mother (Dorris). We shoveled the concrete into the form. The Creation sculpture. Your mother apologized that Marx couldn’t be there. But we did all the work. There was considerable concrete. It was no trouble.

Dorris Marxhausen

KM: So, you used concrete for the pedestal?
AR: The pedestal was already done. We lifted the lead onto the sculpture.
KM: And you shoveled concrete in the six inch space between the lead and the plywood form….
AR: Yes. Plywood was put on top and lead was put on top of that.

KM: So, when you hammered the lead, was it strong enough to retain its shape, or did you have to lay it down on sand to hold its shape?
AR: Think of a swing set with two poles at each end and a beam across the top. Now think of the poles being wood, two-by-fours and two-by-sixs. Attached to the beam across the top C-clamps were used to hold the lead section, which hung down. Suspending it. So you could hammer some on one side and then walk around to the other side and hammer on that. There was lots of walking around. The lead was either one-eighth or three-eighths inches thick. A very slow process.

(Above) C-clamps hold lion face in lead done for someone's front door. The teeth were cast out of aluminum. Double click to see enlarged.

Four minute view of Creation sculpture 
by sculptor Arthur Geisert on location.

KM: I was looking at the owl head and all the tiny dents around it. What did you use to hammer the tiny indentations? A chisel, a tooth pick?
AR: Chasing tools are used to make marks in bronze. They knock off or clear off bronze castings. I have four or five inch steel rods, one-quarter by one-quarter inch. Old “cold chisels” with rounded off points. I use rubber and wood mallets.

KM: You have lettering for words. How did you do that?
AR: There are punches, Steel stamps made of hardened steel. The letters they make are commonly used for signing metal sculpture. Sometimes used in wet clay for ceramics. Or pushed into wax forms that will be cast in metal.
KM: Did you practice doing your letter stamping? To know whether to strike it once or twice into the lead.
AR: I did a lot of letters before that. I practiced on scrap lead pieces using short verses of scripture. 

KM: You said, you walked around the hanging lead section. Did you use gloves when you did the hammering?
AR: No, I did not use gloves.
KM: I am thinking about holding a chisel and hitting it with a big mallet. Wouldn’t the mallet hit your fingers?
AR: I had been doing it a while. I was not an amateur. I was really good at it!! No gloves, but I did wash my hands thoroughly each time I finished working with the lead. The heavy metals are poisonous, and they will build up in your system over a long period of time.
KM: Did you hammer the lead section outdoors?
AR: I did it in my office. I taught five years at Concordia River Forest (Concordia University Chicago). Walt Martin was the head of the art department then. Darlene Fahrenkrog taught art, along with Leonard Schoepp. Leonard waited in line for the book signing of “Thunderstorm.” One of my books.

KM: Did you teach art at Concordia in Seward?
AR: Yes, I taught for one year. 

KM: Where was your office?
AR: It was on the 3rd floor of Founders on the west side.

KM: The critters on your Creation sculpture look like they have come right out of your illustrated books. Was the sculpture done before you did your pig books?
AR: Oh yes. The books came many many years later.
KM: Thanks for your time.

Here is what Prof. Reinhold Marxhausen said about the Geisert sculpture in the film "The Koenig Connection."

  “This piece called The Creation is made out of hammered lead and over here you see the words of the narration of the creation from the book of Genesis. It's interesting that a piece of sculpture which represents God the Father is tucked away here by the music building on the edge of campus. God is not hidden, it is we who hide Him. And when we do that to creation, we rarely notice it and we take it for granted. And we need to be more and more aware of the wonders of these wonderful insects, plus all the magnificent things like galaxies and stars and mountains too.”   

      Geisert's work exhibits the awareness found in lemteyoso. A term I have coined with my youth group when we make and consider the mechanisms God has made. In lemteyoso I can set my mind on the one who fashions tracheal tubes in ants and beetles to breath air, the one who by-passes multi-cellular organs, and delights in making small and delicate structures.                         Karl Marxhausen
       “The Creation Sculpture Concordia. Alumnus Dr. Arthur Geisert created this sculpture, which depicts the Genesis account of creation through images cast on a metal cylinder. Geisert, a 1963 graduate, has enjoyed a successful career as an illustrator and author of children’s books.” (Courtesy of http://www.cune.edu/resources/docs/Facilities/Facility-room-rental.pdf , page 25, accessed Oct.3, 2014)

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Phone interviews took place on September 2nd, 29th, and Oct. 24th, 2014. Copyrighted by Karl Marxhausen 2015.

Reference links 
Cold chisels, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chisel  and http://www.mettleworks.com/sales/thestore.html  accessed Oct 23, 2014. Metal tools, metal chasing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repouss%C3%A9_and_chasing  accessed Oct. 23, 2014. Metal Letter Stamp Punches http://www.pjtooljewelry.com/impressart-letter-stamps.aspx  accessed Oct. 23, 2014. Instructors at Concordia University-River Forest 
--Leonard Schoepp 1955, Professor Emeritus of Art (deceased)
--Walter Martin 1952, Professor Emeritus of Art – Elmhurst, IL
“The Making of Noah’s Ark,” an etching by Arthur Geisert, award-winning children’s book artist and author who served as Professor of Art at Concordia-Chicago in the 1960s. Geisert, book illustrator link, http://www.mackinvia-connext.com/tag/arthur-geisert/#http://www.mackinvia-connext.com/tag/arthur-geisert/#. Professors Emeriti Darlene Fahrenkrog and Walt Martin (class of 1952) https://www.cuchicago.edu/news-events/news/20141/09/concordia-university-chicago---150th-anniversary-faculty-alumni-art-show/  and
Bruce Nauman link, https://courses.marlboro.edu/pluginfile.php/59176/mod_page/content/7/Wagner,%20Naumans%20Body%20of%20Sculpture,.pdf  accessed 9. 29.14. Thunderstorm link, http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16057519-thunderstorm, accessed March 7, 2015. Marxhausen quote on sculpture, courtesy of Josh Duncan, Thursday, April 29, 2010,
http://marxhausen.blogspot.com/search/label/sculpture , accessed 21/02/2015)