While I was attending Pond Farm, my mother spent a summer at South Bear where she met some students who were attending the Naguib School of Sculpture in Beverly Shores, Indiana. It sounded very intriguing and I went on to apply. I started my 24 month stint at Naguib’s in the fall of 1977, the last session before the school moved to the old Maryknoll Seminary in Glenn Ellen, Illinois.
Naguib School was a very small private school. Mustafa Naguib had fled the revolution in Egypt and opened his school in the US. It was a 7 day a week, 24 hour a day affair, modeling life-size figures, making molds, casting plaster and bronze and a bit of stone carving.
I spent 6 weeks one summer traveling in Italy and Sicily with my grandmother instead of attending Pond Farm. It was the perfect trip for a budding young sculptor with 2 weeks in Florence, 2 more in Rome and 2 driving around Sicily.
The seated figure on the left was my first life-size figure. The standing one on the right was done after the school moved to Illinois.
This portrait was my very first commission.
The last year I was at Naguib’s, we built a foundry. The plaster molds were placed into a circular pit in preparation for burning the out the wax patterns. A temporary, spiral brick dome was built and grouted with wet clay. The wood fire was built and fed carefully for three days, until the whole bottom of the pit was covered with hot coals and the wax and gasses were fully evacuated from the molds.
The dome was dismantled, molds inverted, sand filled around the molds and the molten bronze poured.
We had fairly regular anatomy lessons. Naguib drew the bones and muscles on a large newsprint pad. During one of my last sessions, I modeled a life-size anatomy study in clay.
I was fascinated by this Syrian handle maker’s plane, found in the book ‘Craftsman of Necessity.’
Ron Senungetuk taught in what was known as the Native Arts Center at the University of Alaska. I took a silversmithing and woodworking class with him in the winter of 1975/76. For me it was pretty much of a daylight to dark affair though my long hours didn’t seem change much with the waning sunshine around Winter Solstice.
Here is a video with Ron produced by Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer.
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