After many phone calls, ample head scratching, and understanding a 4" slump, the plan to pour concrete was in place. Under the guidance of Mike Moore (Creative Remodeling), and help from Ziyad Tooles, Matt Kotlarczyk, plus a crew of neighborhood kids, we knocked out. The whole process took about a week, squeezing steps in between teaching. The first task was to do a bit more digging of the foundation, just enough to create an even site for the pour. We followed that with the construction of a 12' x 12' frame, with rounded corners using luan. The gravel was delivered, shoveled into the frame, and tamped down. Just before the concrete arrived, we wet the ground to give us more time before the concrete cured. Lots of floating and troweling later, the slab was complete. For those interested in seeing the process, you can check out this time-lapse video.
Price Hill Will
I spent two weeks in August working on the first few pieces of the park. It was a crash course/brush up on different types of wood, tools, and building techniques. I was fortunate to be under the guidance of my father Stephen Sloan, as we worked in his shop. He is truly a master woodworker, and has seemingly lived 9 lives. As a boy he lived in Japan for a short time, absorbing the beauty of traditional Japanese wood working. He returned home to Tucson Arizona, and as he grew and developed his personal style, a natural fusion of Southwestern, and Japanese aesthetics began to emerge. In the 1970's while living and making furniture in Berkeley, he began to save the old growth trees being felled and burnt to make way for the new vineyard craze throughout the Napa Valley. He milled huge slabs of wood using an Alaskan chainsaw mill and small crew, making weekly deliveries to furniture and cabinet makers, including some of the greats such as George Nakashima and Sam Maloof.
Fast forward to August..After much research and head scratching we began to craft a variety tongue drums, and the beginnings of both a concert marimba and bass marimba. The process of making a marimba bar takes careful calculation for initial size, width, and thickness. Once each bar is cut and planed to size, it is then slowly sanded at different points to properly tune both the fundamental pitch, and a series of overtones. As wood is shaved, the pitch lowers, allowing the bar to vibrate more freely. If too much is taken off, the bar dips below the desired pitch, and the wood is rendered useless, fortunately this only happened..twice, or maybe three times. Though still under construction the bass marimba bars are nearing completion!
Check the gallery below for some of my fathers furniture, and a portrait of an artist (dad) as a young man..
The installation of the Percussion Park is embedded within a larger program, VLO or Vacant Lots Occupied of Keep Cincinnati Beautiful. This summer a special DAAP class led by Joe Girandola (Director, MFA Program: Fine Arts) and Leah Holstein (Professor, Public Art Course) investigated activation of space in conjunction with VLO.
The class researched the site, and developed a variety of proposals to best utilize the space within certain parameters. I was invited to come give a small presentation about my ideas for the park, and take a few questions. What really happened was a long discussion about the space, and then the opportunity to brainstorm with a large group of dedicated and talented architectural, fine arts, urban planning, and industrial design students. So really I had a free consultation with some awesome people.