Assembling soundsNovember 27, 2018
Despite the early snow, development of the River’s Voice continues apace. It’s vocal cords are the cymbal-like discs that you can see in this snapshot of a trial assembly. Like fine clothes, they must be tailored for fit, style, and tone. Once this phase is complete, they will be removed and coated with a durable (and stylish) protective coating.
(Click image to enlarge)
Completion and installation of this exciting project on the Town Mall will depend on mother nature’s schedule. More information about this project is contained in previous news updates.
River’s Voice progressingOctober 18, 2018
The granite base for the River’s Voice arrived at my shop yesterday, after several days waiting for a working crane truck to be available.
The base proper will sit on a shoe that allows it to be level — nature provides beautiful materials, but there can be a lot of engineering between what she provides and a finished sculpture. In this case, attaching the shoe to the base will require two threaded rods, each with a diameter of about 1½ in (3.8 cm), and some high-tech adhesive.
My work often requires purpose-built tooling, so I regularly swap hats to become a toolsmith. In the back of the photos below (click to enlarge), you can see the disks that will provide the sculpture’s voice. The one in shadow is mounted on a custom lathe, that allows me to shape and tune each disk for the planned harmonious result.
In the second photo, you can see remnants of the drill holes, which held the wedges used to split the block from the outcrop in the quarry. These won’t be visible in the finished piece — but next time you see granite curbs along a road, look for similar marks. Although granite can be shaped with saws, grinders and water jets, splitting it the old fashioned way with drills, feathers & wedges is still the most efficient way to form a rough shape.
Getting the approvals and funding for this piece has been a long journey, with the support and involvement of Brunswick Public Art, their donors, and the Brunswick Town Council. I greatly appreciate their commitment to and support of this multi-media project.
Realizing the vision in stone and metal is the part that is the most fun for me. I look forward to delivering it to the Town Mall and watching the public interact with it.
To the water went to a walkJuly 30, 2018
To the Water is now installed at the Congregational Church of Boothbay Harbor, as part of the new Boothbay Harbor Region Sculpture trail. The trail is an outgrowth of planning from last year’s Maine Coast Stone Symposium, which was held last August. In addition to my sculpture, the trail features the works of several other Maine artists.
There is no charge for visiting the trail, which can be walked in an hour or less — although you are welcome to take the time to experience each piece. One innovation is that all of the sculptures are for sale, with 100% of the proceeds going to the artist.
The trail opened to the public on July 28th, as reported in The Lincoln County News. For more information and a map of the trail, visit the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce website.
River’s voice approved!June 28, 2018
On June 18, the Brunswick Town Council unanimously approved placing The River’s Voice on the Town Mall, as requested by Brunswick Public Art. It will be placed between the gazebo and First Parish Church. The vote authorizes Town Manager John Eldridge to accept the sculpture and related signage from the organization as a gift, once it is completed and installed.
The Village Review Board still must approve the project.
Brunswick Public Art will be responsible for funding maintenance of the piece, which has been in development for about three years.
I greatly appreciate the support of Brunswick Public Art, their donors, and the Brunswick Town Council in making this work possible.
A more complete report on the meeting was printed in The Forecaster, and can be read here.
Reviving Andre the SealMay 8, 2018
Andre the seal was a very famous resident of Rockport harbor from 1961 through 1986, who wintered at the Boston Aquarium.
So famous, that he has a memorial sculpture at Rockport Marine Park, created by Jane Wasey in 1978.
I’m excited to have been selected to restore this tribute to a famous and much-loved resident.
See this article about the restoration in the Penobscot Bay Pilot. Formal approval by the Rockport Select Board is expected on Monday, May 14. The work is privately funded; fundraising is in progress.
For more on Andre, see:
- Article on newengland.com
- The PBS documentary “The Seal Who Came Home“, described in the Bangor Daily News.
- The book “A seal called Andre”
- A bit of controversy in The Washington Post
For more on how I do this kind of work, see the Special Services article on this website.
Profiled in Slippery RockMay 2, 2018
The April 2018 issue of the Slippery Rock Gazette contains an extensive interview that I gave to Peter Marcucci.
You can read it here.
River’s voice updateMarch 30, 2018
From the Times Record, an update on The River’s Voice:
THE RIVER’S VOICE
Andreas von Huene took a rubber mallet and struck the 42-inch-diameter metal disc he liberated from a scrap metal pile at Bath Iron Works that was balanced on his workshop table.
Like hitting a kind of Iron Age gong, the sound filled the ramshackle space, its reverberations coming like waves. Its presence felt somehow viscous, if such a term can describe sound.
“Now listen to this,” von Huene said, and tossed a few coins onto the disc. This time, the sound became piercing, as if Jimi Hendrix was choking as much high-pitched feedback as he could out of a Marshall amp and Stratocaster.
Working in collaboration with the Brunswick Parks and Rec Department and Brunswick Public Art, von Huene wants to bring a combination of sight and sound onto the Brunswick Mall in the form of a $40,000 playable, percussive sculpture.“The River’s Voice” is described by Brunswick Public Art as an “outdoor interactive musical sculpture” that may be installed as soon as this fall. The organization states the work will “celebrates the return of the Androscoggin River as a a defining and honored feature of our town.”
Von Huene said he was inspired by the notion that “all New England towns turn their backs on the rivers,” yet now Brunswick is connecting its downtown to the Androscoggin.
Thus, the title “The River’s Voice.”
The 8-foot long, 4-5 ton work will consist of a series of metal discs of varying sizes mounted on a granite base that, when struck, will produce music.
Brunswick Public Art has raised about half the cost for its creation and installation on the southern end on the Mall.“It’s the kind of project we’d been thinking about for years,” Brunswick Public Art President Susan Weems said. “It’s just a happy, positive piece of art that most communities don’t have.”
Weems said the sculpture fits in with other entities in the area, including Bowdoin International Music Festival and Maine State Music Theatre, both of which hold performances at Bowdoin College.
However, use of the Brunswick Mall has been contentious. Members of the public and some on the Brunswick Town Council have voiced concern over the increased presence of vendors, and with a planned memorial on the Mall’s north end.
“The River’s Voice” will be installed at an area of the Mall separated by a set of railroad tracks, and “is not used very much,” Weems said.
Noise generated by the sculpture shouldn’t disturb nearby businesses, she said, because it “won’t be that loud.”
“There won’t be crashing and banging,” Weems said. “This will be a beautiful sound. And it won’t be bothering sleepers.”
“The River’s Voice was initially planned to be located on the bike path along the Androscoggin River, but Weems said the location was “too disconnected” from downtown.
After installation, “The River’s Voice” will be owned by the town, free of charge.
For a guy whose work includes the most visible piece of public art in Bath — a gleaming white sculpture near the Androscoggin — von Huene is not easy to find.
His Arrowsic studio is perched atop a wooded hill accessible via a long, twisting dirt drive. His closest neighbors appear to be a flock of wild turkeys that regularly stop by to be fed.
His studio and workshops are a maze of tools, found objects and raw material. It’s there where he taps his creative juices.
“I’m a sculptor, I like shaping things,” von Huene said. “It’s a process of discovery — an adventure.”
He works in wood, metal and stone, and a trip to the quarry for material makes him feel “like a kid in a candy store.”
“As you’re carving (a sculpture), it’s character is developing. It’s kind of like building a friend, or a child,” von Huene said. “You think you can control it all, but then you’re missing part of the joy of its character developing. Some people say, ‘the stone rules.’ And that’s often the case.”
He added: “There’s no word in the English language that adequately describes the combination of blistering hard work and pleasure.”
Von Huenes said it was important that “The River’s Voice” be something interactive, and to engage with the senses.
“So much of our life has been removed from touching things,” he said, “from experiencing things directly. We’ll go to concerts, movies, we’ll watch television. … Some people are making great discoveries with their apps. But that’s all so secondary. How do we get back to the primary experiences?
“Touch is an important part of sculpture to me.”
Von Huenes work can be seen at Mid Coast Hospital, Mt. Ararat Middle School and even on the Penobscot Narrows Bridge.
Von Huenes co-lead the team that built the gleaming white sculpture mentioned earlier — a representation of the schooner Wyoming at Maine Maritime Museum.
There are easier ways to making a living than sculpting, but the challenge is part of the joy Von Huenes finds in his work. And he finds that Maine is the best place for making sculpture.
“The light in Maine is special,” Von Huenes said. “There’s a depth to the sky. And people are approachable. We have cultivated a collegiality amongst ourselves (fellow sculptors). That interconnectedness can be subsumed in a city.”
For von Huenes, art helps people go further in life and beyond their regular routines.
As to why is it important to expose the public to sculptures, like “The River’s Voice” — Weems has an answer, which lies, in part, in the collaborative nature through which the sculpture is coming together.
“Because beauty is important,” she said. “People working together is important.”
For more information on the fundraising for “The River’s Voice,” visit brunswickpublicart.org.
River’s Voice presentationOctober 28, 2017
On October 25, I presented The River’s Voice, a large scale sculpture proposed for the Brunswick Mall, which is sponsored by Brunswick Public Art. A summary description of the project is in this newspaper article and on the BPA website.
I’m pleased to report that Brunswick Public Art has obtained considerable community support for this project, and has already raised about 20% of the funds needed for completion.
A recording of the presentation is available here.
Parliament conveningOctober 17, 2017
My owls have been well-received and popular. I’ve completed a new owl sculpture, which joins my parliament as Owl Rising II.
This horned owl is emerging from a striated block of micaceous quartzite, about 4 ft (1.2 m) square by 3 ft (1 m) high.
Banking in flight, the right wing will double as a bench. The left wing, layered in blues and gray, captures the movement of air and cloud passing over its surface.
You can follow the progress of this work on the Works in Progress (owls) page.
The horned owl gets its name from two prominent feathered tufts on the top of its head. These are often mistaken for ears — the ears are actually slits hidden under feathers on the sides of the head. The wings are broad and rounded in flight. This owl can be found year round throughout North America. Their color varies regionally from sooty to pale. A nocturnal bird, you may see them at dusk sitting on fence posts or tree limbs at the edges of open areas, or flying across roads or fields with stiff, deep beats of their wings. A powerful predator, it can take down birds and mammals even larger than itself, but also dines on tiny scorpions, mice and frogs. It’s one of the most common owls in North America, equally at home in deserts, wetlands, forests, grasslands, backyards, cities, and almost any other semi-open habitat between the Arctic and the tropics. Their call is a deep, stuttering series of four to five hoots.
Additional information on the horned owl, including sound and video, is available here.
Meow! Who took the catnip?October 9, 2017
Creating a bronze is an intricate, multi-step process. See how I created this wildcat here.
For more views of work in progress, click here.