Dedication Of A Tiger

The Grambling State University Tiger has been installed by Bridgette Mongeon. It has been a long process. The process is documented in this blog with the category Grambling Tiger or the artist has kept a project blog for the client. You can find it at

Grambling Tiger bronze mascott
After installation
The team surrounds the sculpture.
You learned about this intern while watching our process.
Cleaning the tiger.
Time to say goodbye. Loved informing other artists about my process.
Polishing a tiger.

The Tiger Arrives Home!

On December 2nd the Tiger left NM to be driven on an open bed semi to Grambling, Louisiana,  and Bridgette Mongeon, the artist, left Houston on that Tuesday to meet the tiger.

A long drive later, early on the morning of Wed the 4th the artist and tiger are united once again. Now for the installation.

The tiger has traveled well. 

I love that he/she high fived everyone as he/she went across county. 
Installation begins by lifting the tiger off of the truck. 
More tiger intimacy! 


The patina is the coloring of the tiger.  The color is created by using chemicals and heat.  It is a very dark cold and long day/evening when we figure out the patina. Once we decide on the color it will take several days to complete the patina.

The sculpture now complete must now received a patina
After sandblasting the sculpture it begins to receive the appropriate chemicals to give it the color that it needs. 
The patina brings the tiger to life. I am not sure if it is exhaustion or creativity, but I begin to shed a tear when I see it come together.

Going High For Detail

Once the Grambling Tiger sculpture is sandblasted, I must check it out to be sure that there are not corrections. I walk around the sculpture or in this case, climb around the sculpture looking for places for them to fix. I mark them with a marker and then the foundry men work their magic.  I have a very intimate relationship with this height and this tiger head. 

It is cold, it is high, it is fierce! 

A Cat Finds His/Her Rock

The foundry works diligently to meet the deadline.  Each of the many pieces of metal must be welded together seamlessly.  Once the cat is almost finished, it is moved from one side of the foundry to the other.

Welder is sitting in the belly of the Tiger.
The sculpture has stainless steal reinforcement throughout the inside of the cat. 
The cat is moved by crane from one end of the foundry to the other.  
Now to get this cat on top of the rock. 
Could wait to see this.  
It sure is big. Everyone says the same thing. 
The last paw is left off so that the armature of steal can be brought up into the
arm. It is a tight fit. 

Wrestling The Tiger

The foundry men wrestle with the beast.  It fights back. 

I’m headed to the foundry in New Mexico very soon to monitor the rest of the progress and to do the final coloring of the Grambling State tiger.  Then we will load it up on the flat bed and watch for it to arrive on campus.  Not sure how much posting I’ll be able to do while there. You will get glimmers of the sculpture in the snap shots that I take. Not until the great reveal will you be able to see the entire sculpture complete. Unless… you are in NM on November 16th. I’ll be giving a lecture on “Taming the beast” at Shidoni Foundry.  The lecture will culminate with watching a bronze pour. (Not the tiger as it will be complete.) We will also be able to take a look at the finished tiger.  I can hardly wait.

Pieces must be welded and blended together. 
Looks like the tiger is putting up a fight. 

I’d be happy to repeat this lecture at Grambling for those who are interested.  Looks like we are leaning toward delivery of the sculpture in the first week of December.

Rocking Out Again

The rocks in this Grambling State tiger sculpture are just as massive as the tiger itself.  The many, many pieces of the sculpture are being welded together. The foundry will match my sculpted textures. It is a huge puzzle to figure out where everything goes. There will also be an internal structure inside the sculpture to give it support. 

The rock goes together on the other side of the foundry. Soon cat and rock will be united.
The stainless inside the rock for support.
The foundry welds many pieces together. Now to make them look like they are seamless.
Getting there with making it look seamless.
You almost have it.

Removing The Ceramic Shell From The Tiger Head

In the post we saw some the process of pouring the head of the tiger.  Now that the head is poured, the ceramic shell must be broken off of the metal. This is called divesting. I asked the foundry to take a movie of this part. It looks brutal, but it is important.  If you watch the entire thing be sure to look at the how they also much take the shell of the inside the sculpture.

The head has been cast and now the shell must be broken off of the metal.

The second part of this video shows them taking the metal spurs off of the sculpture. I especially like the look of this video. Seeing the light from the torch shine through the holes in the sculpture.

Now, this piece will need to be sandblasted to get all of the ceramic shell off of the metal.

That Is One Hot Tiger! Pouring The Tiger Head

I could not wait to show you all this video.  Here is a spectacular video of the pouring of the tiger head that was provided to me by Shidoni Art Foundry in New Mexico.   They report that the tiger is coming along. This is the last piece to be cast in metal and has you have seen by previous posts it is coming along nicely.  We will not have it there for homecoming, but will be delivering it later in November.  I can’t wait to see it all together.    More news later. Until then check out the pouring of the Tiger head. 

VIDEO NOT AVAILABLE ON THIS PAGE- IT does show up on the Grambling blog page. 

Rocking Out! Putting Together The Tiger Sculpture In Metal

A giant puzzle of rock begins to take shape

There is still much to do with the tiger. If you have been reading this blog you have found that the process of creating a mascot is quite laborious.  Here is the process with links, once again.  Note: there are a lot of other posts of the process in between all of these links below.

  • The First blog post –The beginning  June 1, 2012 The blog begins. 
  • Design process June 17th – The designing and working on project begins long before the actually sculpting. 
  • Approval process  January 23rd- Approvals and final paper work is received by client. 
  • Enlargement of Design January 23rd – The enlargement of the sculpture is being made into foam for us to sculpt on. Meanwhile we search for a warehouse to hold this big creature. 
  • Foam Armature arrives in Houston.  The CNC milled foam gives us an armature to sculpt on and arrives in Houston in March
  • Approval of Sculpture May 27th post. Which means we have sculpted this huge cat in 2 months! this would never be able to be done without the digital technology of CNC milling to enlarge the foam pieces.  It is a huge accomplishment. There were many interns who worked endless long hours. 
  • Mold making The sculpture comes a part and we begin the first part of the foundry process the mold making. 
  • Molds shipped to Shidoni art Foundry  July 27th They will finish the foundry process. 
  • Wax and Sprues or gates Beginning in August the Foundry makes waxes from the molds. 

This is what we have accomplished thus far. In the next few weeks the last steps will take place

  • Welding
  • Patination
  • Delivery 
  • Installation

Here you can see that the many, many bronze pieces that are poured are now welded together.