Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Making of a {Moment}

Have I left you guessing, long enough? Sometimes those wordless moments are a bit tortuous for me, because I love the story. This picture fits into the middle of the story. The beginning of the story is three years ago, Valentine's Day, when Suki and Grant went on their first date...

Suki, creative and clever, decided that the sweetest gift she could give Grant for this special occasion would be a giant chocolate lolly pop of his own face. Okay, sweet and twisted.

She came home with a bronze mask that Grant himself made in a sculpting class... she felt pretty sure he would not notice it missing for a few days.

At this point we were all helping, in one way or another. Maria lent her play-dough stash. Alex suggested filling all the deeper holes and crevices. And we all stood around assessing and laughing, and contemplating the next steps.

The play-dough was in place to help the vacuum former from getting the hot plastic stuck into deep, tight crevices, and also to build up the missing eye and brow. And yes, we have a vacuum former. Side note: our country's economic course, and refusal to value domestic production and manufacturing has created a vast surplus of things... robots, machines, mills, parts, pieces, supplies, tools, materials, lathes, grinders, stuff! And it can be had for pennies on the dollar. Pennies! Geoff restores machines, takes stuff apart, the children help, and develop their own projects, and we are making. It is awesome.

The bronze mask was set on the table of the vacuum former, and Alex cut plastic and set it in the frame over the mask. Once the plastic is heated and becomes soft, it is lowered over the object you are making a mold of, and it takes the shape of the object.

The mold cools in seconds, the excess is cut away, and added to the recycling bin, and we are ready for the next step...

Alright, so the next step wasn't too glamorous. Alex was disturbed by the weirdness of scrubbing Grant's face. But we figured the mold ought to be especially clean for what it was about to receive... chocolate!

Suki inserted a note in a vial, and she added a nice sturdy lolly stick. I supervised chocolate melting on an improvised double boiler.

Suki and Alex got the hang of chocolate melting in no time, and soon two or more pounds of semi-sweet goodness was filling the empty cavity behind Grant's face. Not to imply there are any empty cavities behind Grant's actual face, which is actually full of laughter, cool ideas, and remarkable skills.

So. All that happened on the eleventh day of February. The next twenty-four hours were spent letting the mold and chocolate slowly and gently do their thing, cooling and firming, taking shape. When they released it, Suki and Alex opened a packet of clay modeling tools, and went to work carving away excess bits, and refining details... skillful and effective steps in giving the mask the best Grantness possible. Then Suki wrapped it, chocolate Grant face lolly, in red cellophane, and stashed it in the fridge, and we waited.

A note of apology: These were taken before I was reunited with my Big Black Beautiful Camera, and after I misplaced my little blue camera. The only thing I had was my iPhone, and low, night light... the moment was worthy of better than this, and I am sorry about the crummy pics.

ChocoGrant, GrantGrant, BronzeGrant and SukiGrant.
Happy Valentine-a-versary, SukiGrant!

Grant's reaction was priceless. He laughed forever. The echo is still reverberating around our kitchen. He was appalled-charmed, confounded-delighted, and also totally amused. I think there were emotions there as yet undefined by our language, which is good and fitting... love cannot always be defined, but you know it when you see it.


Miriam said...

I'm gobsmacked. I read this awhile ago and I'm still gobsmacked. It's making me think the Valentine's card I gave my sweetie was a little...well...lame. I'm going to have to set my sights a little higher next year, me thinks!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Yes, Suki raised the bar on Valentine's *sweets to the sweet.*

ArtyZen said...

Oh my! I need to look for a house nearby - forget Spain! What fun we could have creating moulds and chocolates together. This is wonderful. I absolutely love it and agree - there are still emotions without name - I'm having one now. TOTALLY WOW!!!