Look Past The Whimsy To The Love

Today I went to Evelyn’s Park. I have not been there since the grand opening April 22, 2017. The grand opening for me was exciting, but also a little bit sad, I had hoped my sculpture would be there for all to enjoy.

The dedication plaque is a separate piece. Here is the message from the Rubensteins. Remember the love, when you look at the whimsy.

Today I went to the park, and especially the memorial garden. Many may not know that there is a special place in the park. It is on the south-east corner of the park and is called Evelyn’s Memorial Garden. You will know it because the pathway changes. It goes from pea gravel to gray brick.  In the middle of this memorial garden, there is a spot that is filled with brown mulch and empty. That is where the sculpture of the Mad Hatter tea party will go.

I was delighted that the hard work of the Rubnestein family and foundation had finally come to fruition. It was a long road for them, and they worked hard to get the park to this point.  No one, but them and those who dedicated themselves to getting the park done, knows how hard that was.  I wanted to go there today and think about that. I wanted to think about Evelyn and how thankful I am that I have been a part of creating a memory in honor of a woman that will be cherished by many. A memory that two boys began, because they loved their mom.  I’m thinking back to the dedication plaque

I think we are all so caught up in the idea of the whimsy of the sculpture, and the hidden objects, that somehow the love, the true meaning of this sculpture has been overlooked. Today I went to Evelyn’s Park and talked to Evelyn. On my way. I was overwhelmed with the need and sorrow that I did not bring a rock. I am not Jewish, but my best friend is, and I grew up surrounded by the Jewish culture. Because I also create many sculptures of deceased loved ones I have studied death and the traditions surrounding death.  The Jewish traditions surrounding death are some of the most endearing.  But my urgency for a rock came from a simple custom combined with my absolute love of rocks. I collect them from wherever I go. Rocks line my window sills. In the Jewish tradition, it is customary to bring a rock to the grave of a loved one.

On the book sits a mouse reading the copy. At the top of a book the white rabbit jumps down a hole.

In article I found on my Jewish learning  they quoteRabbi Simkha Weintraub, rabbinic director of the New York Jewish Healing Center . “They say that by placing the stone, we show that we have been there, and that the individual’s memory continues to live on in and through us.”

I don’t know where Evelyn is buried, but I want to celebrate her life. I have studied her as I was also commissioned to do a sculpture of her for the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center.   I have been celebrating her life all through the last few years by creating this sculpture. Her children have celebrated her by creating this park, and by commissioning me to do this sculpture for the park in her memory.  I do know she was an amazingly strong woman, and I hope I can have her strength, courage and business sense as I proceed in my life.   I have decided that I may go and walk this pathway once a week until the sculpture is placed. Don’t be surprised if you see random rocks in the midst of the empty spot.  I will be culling through my personal collection and placing them there to honor Evelyn and her memory.

If you go to the park, after the sculpture is installed, look behind this book and dedication plaque. If you see a rock, now you will know what it means, and perhaps you will know that I have been there, or maybe others, and that her memory is indeed continuing to live on, in and through us. We are celebrating the memory of her and finding her love through the whimsy.

Dedication plaque reads…

Once upon a time,
In a land called Bellaire, there were two brothers,
Bo and Jerry Rubenstein.

The boys wanted to do something special,
To honor their mother, Evelyn.
Evelyn would often say,

“The way to make a difference is by giving and sharing.”
And so, in her memory,
The brothers created Evelyn’s Park
And placed within it


A Visit With Evelyn And A New Project In Her Memory

Evelyn an Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon

It has taken me nearly three years to get over to the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center and take pictures of the sculpture of Evelyn.  But just because Evelyn’s sculpture is complete it does not mean my connection to this woman is over. On the contrary. I have been working for 3 years to create a fitting tribute for her for a park in Bellaire, Texas. I am happy to say that the signing of that agreement took place in July of 2015 and the sculpture is well under way.

Evelyn’s Park is located just inside the loop at the former location of Teas Nursery. The expected date of the opening of the park and the completion of phase one is Summer 2016.

At two my grand daughter is just becoming familiar with
Gamma’s artwork.  I was so excited to introduce her to Evelyn.
She now knows who is responsible for the marvelous park
where Gamma’s newest creation will be placed.

Groundbreaking with my grand daughter and Jerry Rubenstein
Groundbreaking with my grand daughter and Jerry Rubenstein
The sculpture of the Mad Hatter Tea party is created in the memory of
Evelyn Rubenstein.  Follow along on the Finding Alice Fcebook page. 
Date of installation is scheduled for November 2016

A Completion Of A Bronze

After about three metal checks the sculpture finally meets my approval for patination.  It is once again sand blasted and the  patination is applied.  To get the color or patina the foundry man heats up the bronze with a torch and applies different chemicals. Often at this point I cannot tell what the sculpture will look like complete with the wax covering. So the foundry man wets the sculpture down with a hose.  This gives the same appearance of the waxing process.  The final process is a coat of hot wax.

The sculpture is heated and
chemicals are applied to
produce the appropriate
color of a traditional patina

Now on to figuring out installation.  According to the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center they are having an event called the maccabie conference. It begins august 5th and goes to the 10th. I’m not sure why we can’t install it now, as the sculpture will be there for the up and coming conferences, but they have asked us to wait. So, I expect installation at the end of August.  More on the installation and unveiling of Evelyn.

You can follow along with this entire process of creating a life size bronze for the ERJCC on the Evelyn Rubenstein project blog located at http://erjcc.blogspot.com/

Only The Artist Gets To Draw On A Bronze!

I was thrilled to be called into the foundry today to see the progress of Evelyn. She is well on her way to being complete for the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center.  Unfortunately they are having a major event at the ERJCC so we will not be able to install her until the middle/end of August.

These are the things I look for when I go to the foundry for a metal check

  • Does each piece look the way I sculpted it?
  • Are there any metal burrs that need to be removed?
  • Does the texture match my texture where it has been welded?
  • Do her hands look natural in their placement on her body. 
  • How do all appendages look?
  • Are there any holes or things that need to be fixed?

    I walk around the sculpture and mark it with a marker. The foundry man will come back in and fix the things I request.  She is so close. Next post will be about the patination or the final color of Evelyn. 


Poor Evelyn

I sure hate to see Evelyn this way. Not only is she in pieces, but she has welds all over her. I trust in Miguel at Betz Art Foundry. His work is impeccable. She will soon see Evelyn back together. I hate posting the picture with her with the strap around her neck, but we don’t want her to fall over and she is not welded to her base yet. I want to be sure she is going to stand properly so we tack on the arms and check her attitude! She does stand with an attitude and I want to be sure it is there. 
You can follow along with this entire process of creating a life size bronze for the ERJCC on the Evelyn Rubenstein project blog located at http://erjcc.blogspot.com/

The foundry men prepare to put Evelyn on 
her base. 

The Pouring Of Bronze For The Evelyn Sculpture

This entire process is pretty cool, but watching bronze being poured into the shells, well that is something. Photographs don’t really do this part justice, so I have uploaded a video of that part of the process.

You can follow along with this entire process of creating a life size bronze for the ERJCC on the Evelyn Rubenstein project blog located at http://erjcc.blogspot.com/

Dipping The Pieces of Evelyn

The many pieces of Evelyn awaiting dipping

I ran by the Betz Art Foundry today after receiving a message on my phone. “We are dipping.” Dipping is the next part in the bronze process.  Before the foundry could dip they had to gate up each of the pieces.  The waxes need pour cups to pour metal into and gates that will help the gasses escape. Each piece is coated and dipped many times covering both inside and out.  This creates a ceramic shell.  The ceramic shell is where the bronze will be poured, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Next post the burn out and pour of Evelyn Rubenstein.

First dip on Evelyn’s hand

What Now?

I’m working on the few waxes that are here and I expect to receive a call from the foundry that the others are ready. If I am lucky then by the end of the week the foundry will have all of the waxes and they will begin the pouring process of Evelyn.  It is so exciting. For the time being, in between working on waxes, I’m resting my hands and preparing for a meeting when I bring back the photograph of Evelyn.

Oh yes, it took us two days to get the studio cleaned up and it is ready for the next project.

You can follow along with this entire process of creating a life size bronze for the ERJCC on the Evelyn Rubenstein project blog located at http://erjcc.blogspot.com/

The Next Step- Waxes

Once all of the molds are at the foundry, they pour waxes.  For every mold there will be a hollow think wax created.  Because I finished the arms, head and base these are sent back to me first.   What do I do with these?  The wax stage is one more opportunity to add detail, and clean things up.  Remember the rubber molds were in to parts and so there is also the cleaning of seams.   Once I feel I have all of the pieces clean and that they go together correctly, we will start our process of bronze casting.

You can follow along with this entire process of creating a life size bronze for the ERJCC on the Evelyn Rubenstein project blog located at http://erjcc.blogspot.com/

The wax arm showing the ring still sitting in the mold.
This is the base that Evelyn Sits on.
I have signed the bottom.
Evelyn will be welded to this base.
The base will then be secured to the
floor of the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish
Community Center.