This new line of work for me started with an email from a Catholic priest.
In December 2020 Father Justin Kizewski of Holy Ghost Church Catholic Church in Chippewa Falls emailed me. He had gotten my name from Jerry Kuehl of Northwestern Bank. The bank owns a piece that Mel and I made.
Father told me he wants a memorial to victims of clergy abuse. He explained that a boy at the church had been abused by a priest years ago. The boy suffered for years and committed suicide in his 20's. The boy had two surviving sisters who want to see something done. Father told me a Bible verse sticks in his head: Matthew 40:25 "Whatever you do to the least of us you do to me."
I thought about it for a month and came up with a concept.
And this is where it stands today:
The hoops were cut and rolled by Wisconsin Metal Fab. I cut and welded on the annular rings. The white hands are plaster. From left to right they are the priest's left hand, the small boy's hand, and the large hand of Jesus. In the foreground are bronzed hands: the big hand and a pair of small woman's hands. I tested the bronzing on them.
I learned how to cast the hands by watching videos on Brickintheyard.com. The process is to coat the model's hand in Vaseline and then immerse it in a container of alginate. The alginate sets in 3-5 minutes and they pull their hand out, leaving a mold. Within 30 minutes I pour a Hydrostone slurry into the mold. A couple of hours later I strip away the alginate and the result is the hands seen in the photo. I embed a bolt into the setting slurry for mounting on the ring.
There are other training videos on the site. I watched them and said, "I can do that." So I ordered materials and started.
The first step is silicone, followed by backing up the silicone with a plaster cast. The cast keeps the silicone's shape when it is filled with plaster or resin.
Here is silicone (tinted red) and the first plaster bandages being applied.
The bandages drying.
Applying the plastic resin into a silicone mold.
After applying expanding foam to the back, here's a preliminary piece still needing cleanup and more finishing.