Someone pointed out to me today that this blog has not been updated in over a month.
I’m so sorry.

What I have been up to.

While Shidoni Foundry has been busy working on the tiger, I have been very busy with my own creative endeavors. For the last few months I have been putting together 3DCAMP Houston.  3DCAMP Houston. is a day long symposium on everything 3D. It crosses disciplines such as oil and gas, engineering, computer graphics and others. It is also used with my own passion- art.  I am  co chair of 3DCAMP Houston  which was a marvelous success held at the University of Houston Architectural Department. It was a huge undertaking,  I was also a speaker.  My lecture was on Copyrights, Ethics and Responsibilities of 3D.  I have been writing a book about 3D technology and fine art and craft and this lectures is from of my chapters.

I’m also happy to report that the Grambling Tiger head was displayed in the art gallery at 3DCAMP Houston.  The art could be displayed because the show consisted of art that was created using some form of 3D technology. As you know by reading this blog, the tiger was first sculpted in the computer and then later it was CNC milled as it was enlarged, and then clay was added.

The Tiger update
I have spoken to both Grambling and Shidoni Foundry  it is confirmed, that the tiger will not be at homecoming. Instead, I hear there will be a separate celebration at Grambling for the installation of the tiger.

I have been waiting on some more photographs and a video from Shidoni Foundry.  I can’t wait to post those. I think they will be coming any day now.  The entire tiger has gone through the casting process. The last piece that I was waiting for was the head.  Now they have to put this puzzle piece together, create an internal armature and give it a patination. I am scheduled to come to Shidoni Foundry  around the 11th of November.  I will be monitoring the tiger the entire week at Shidoni.  I’m not allowed to post pictures of the entire tiger together, until after the unveiling, but I’ll be sure to post some glimpses. The tiger, at this date, is scheduled to leave Shidoni Foundry  on the 18th.  It will be traveling in an open bed trailer from New Mexico to Louisiana. I wonder if anyone will spot it going down the highway?

Stay tuned for more information concerning the installation and celebration of the tiger.

The foundry is saving the best for last on the Grambling State College mascot.  I am so glad to see the head finally going into wax.  Of course, this is just the wax, but that means from wax it goes to bronze.  I have heard that all of the many wax pieces will be through the wax department at the foundry very soon.  That is a huge milestone. If you have been following the process you can see that there is a lot of work that goes into the making of a mascot for a university.  The workers at Shidoni Foundry rock!

We still do not know when the tiger will be delivered.

Each half is painted with wax.  Remember that the metal
on a bronze is only as thick as the wax that is painted. 
Once the two halves are painted with wax
they are put together. 
Remember the wax head still needs a pour cup and sprues.  A fangless grin from the tiger. And no ears.  They are made
separately and added later. 
Remember the wax head still needs a pour cup and sprues.  
Inside the brain of a wax tiger. 
It takes lots and lots of metal to make this huge tiger. All of these bars will be melted down and become …
The Grambling Mascot. 

If you have been following the foundry process up to now, you have learned about

* The mold making that we did in May,  June and July
* The waxes
* The gating up process and dip
* The burn out

and now we get to the exciting thing…. The pour.

When I dropped off the molds for the tiger at Shidoni in NM you may remember that I stayed at Bishops Lodge.  I heard people at Bishops Lodge talking about the pour at Shidoni. Apparently Shidoni make this a regular Saturday event and people can come from the local hotels and watch.

A few weeks ago, I was on Facebook and heard that Susan Herndon was performing in the gardens at Shidoni.  Then I saw a photo on Facebook of an empty bench with guitar and amps near by.  I think the caption on the photo said, “stopping the music to see a pour.”  I commented, and sure enough, it was our tiger.

The pour on the tiger will happen many times in the next few weeks. For every wax, that is gated up and burned out there will be a pour of the metal into those pieces.  So here are some recent pictures from Shidoni concerning the tiger. I have asked if they can video tape the head being poured. I can’t wait to see that. So stay tuned.

Oh, that is hot!  It is kind of hypnotic,
the look of this molten bronze.  
You can see the shells in the pit. These shells have had the
wax burned out of them. Now that cavity where the wax
once was will now be filled with molten bronze.
The men wear protective clothing. 
It takes several people to pour the metal-safety in numbers!
How many more of these will be done?  I estimate 50 or so pieces
that have been or will be- made into wax from the molds, gated up,
burned out, and poured.  And we still have a few more steps after this. 

A burn out is when they take the ceramic shell and then “burn out” the wax that is within the shell. That is why this process is often referred to as “the lost wax method of bronze casting.” We will lose the wax in this part and it will be replaced by bronze in the next part.  These burn out ovens are some of the largest I have seen.

A large burn out oven is ready to receive the shells
Heated up- the shell will bake and the wax will
melt, leaving room for the bronze. 
The wax covered in ceramic is ready for burn out. 
Heated up- the shell will bake and the wax will
melt, leaving room for the bronze. 

Hey, I recognize these piece!  Here we have two legs/paws.  It is so exciting to see the foundry move from working on the rock to the tiger itself.  Wow!  They are moving along. I can’t help but wonder if they will make homecoming. Still there are no promises.  They said it was a 20% chance, and even if they get finished, I need to go there approve the sculpture, and we need to ship it. So if we are praying for anything pray that “everything ” goes smoothly, even down to the weather when the sculpture is supposed to be in transit.

More exciting pictures to come!

We labored so hard on these molds. 
The wax
This is the front left leg and paw.  
Dipped and waiting for more coats. 

Here are some more pictures from Shidoni Art Foundry. If you remember, in a previous blog post the Foundry poured wax into all of the molds that we sent them.  There are many.  Once the waxes are poured they are gated up.  Each of the pieces needs a pour cup and sprues. The pour cup will be where metal is poured. The wax spures or gates are channels where the gases can escape.  Later the cups and spures will be cut away.  We saw this in the last post as well.   Now, all of these wax pieces need to be dipped in slurry mixture.

Each piece is on a pulley system, that is because they are so large.   Each is carried through the wax area on this system and then lowered into the dip. Then it is covered with a sand mixture to create a ceramic shell.  There are many coats of this mixture that must go on each wax piece and each piece must dry at a certain temperature.  If they don’t create these shells correctly then when they try to pour the molten bronze in them later, they could break. These are all part of the rock that the Tiger climbs on.  They are pretty big.

Shidoni specializes in large pieces. They are on a track in the dip room.
Each piece is dipped many times. In a slurry and sand mixture.
A dip
Apparently they can flip these around to make dipping the other side easier.
Either way it is a lot of work.

When I spoke to the University this week I was told that everyone wanted to know where to find the blog about the making of their tiger. I guess some still don’t know that there is blog at that has been dedicated to just the making of the tiger. My university contact said they will try to put the link of the tiger project blog on the front page of the website. I went there today and didn’t find that, but I did find a link to the “Campus Beautification Project.” Further digging gave me a slide show of the dedication of the space for the tiger. Seems like there are others getting ready, other than us at Bridgette Mongeon Sculpture Design Studios in Houston, Texas and Shidoni Foundry in New Mexico.

The top right corner of the Grambling University website has a link to the beautification project and the tiger waves a welcome. 
I suppose this was from the dedication. There is my presentation of the tiger . 
I suppose this was from the dedication. There is my presentation of the tiger . 

This is a question that everyone is asking. I have just sent Shidoni Foundry an e mail and asked them the same question.  It means that they would need to finish the sculpture by the middle of October so that I can go to see the metal and approve the sculpture for patination, the coloring.

I have told Grambling, “Lets not sacrifice the art for the deadline, but we will do everything we can.” If Shidoni can make this deadline I will say it is a miracle, but they have a lot of people and are making headway, so stay tuned!

Wax pieces of rock rest in their rubber/fiberglass molds 

If you have been following along with the sculpting process of the Grambling State University Tiger then you know that the molds have been taken to Shidoni Foundry in New Mexico at the end of  July and they are now being worked on there.

The molds with the brushed in wax. Now for gates.

The first step to the mold making process is the wax.  If you refer back to the mold making process you will find that there were rubber molds made of every piece of the sculpture.  These rubber pieces were covered in a fiberglass mother mold.  Now, the inside of each of these molds must be painted with wax.

I figured the foundry would start with the massive rocks, and I was right.  The wax is painted into the mold and then each mold section must be gated up.  Gates and pour cups give the metal a channel to flow through and allow the gasses to escape to give a clean pour.

Shidoni is known for their monumental sculptures and creates larger bronze pieces.  I was curious about the metal bars on the waxes. In my 30 years of working in bronze I have never seen that. I contacted the manager to ask him to define the process.

Gates are slowly added to the sculpture.
Please Do Not Touch. Thank you.
The foundry adds the gates and a pouring cup.

The foundry that is casting this sculpture is not in Houston, instead it is in New Mexico. That means three things:

The molds are loaded up into a truck for
a road trip to NM. 

1. The tiger molds need to take a trip from Houston, Texas to Shidoni Foundry in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

2. The molds will eventually need to come back to Houston. I’ll be flying back to NM to look at the metal and approve the sculpture before it ships out.

3. The sculpted tiger will be taking a long trip from Santa Few, New Mexico to Grambling State University in Louisiana. It would be fun to see if anyone can spot it on the long journey.

Not the best of weather.
We were trying to outrun an unusual storm that was coming from the southeast. 

If you have been following this blog you will see that the sculpting is complete, and 1/2 of the foundry process is complete.  The molds have been made and now the foundry will be painting waxes in all of these molds.  I’ll keep the documentation going with the help of Shidoni.

DATE OF INSTALLATION? We are all trying to have the sculpture on campus by Nov 2nd for homecoming, but there are no promises. A lot of coordinating needs to be done for this to happen. Stay tuned.

The truck arrives at Shidoni and we unload the molds. 

I’m looking forward to seeing the entire thing together. Remember I could not see all of the rocks with the tiger as it was not feasible to put it entirely together in the hot warehouse in Houston. I can’t wait to see it all together at Shidoni.

This is my first piece cast at Shidoni.
I have always wanted to cast my sculptures at this foundry. 
This is the burn out oven at Shidoni. It is pretty big.