PRESS RELEASE – Sept 1, 2018
Jumping Down a Rabbit Hole in Wonderland to Create Art,
STEAM Education, And More
Some incredible advances in art and technology combined with education will be taking place in a local park near Houston, Texas and accessed through computers and phones around the world. Evelyn’s Park in Bellaire, Texas is home for the permanent installation of a bronze sculpture of Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter tea party title “Move One Place On.’ The monumental sculpture, weighing over 6,000 pounds is complete with 150 elements hidden in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Lewis Carroll stories. Many hearing about the further adventures with the art, technology, and education are like Alice. They listen in amazement and say, “Curiouser and Curiouser.”
Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon has used a combination of traditional sculpting mixed with digital technology in the creating of the artwork. She first sculpted the scene as a small rough clay version in her studio. It was 3D scanned using the Next Engine Digital scanner, and then the design of the artwork was revised in the computer using a digital sculpting program called Zbrush. She brought each character in the Mad Hatter scene back to life as nine-foot figures using a process called CNC milling. CNC stands for Computer Numerically Controlled Milling. Synappsys Digital Services and Across the Board Creations carved Alice, her chair, and the Cheshire cat along with the Hatter, and the March Hare using CNC Milling. To understand CNC, think of a drill bit that cuts away everything that is not Alice. These enlarged pieces are milled out of urethane foam and act as an armature on which the artist can work. She and her team then add further detail on the sculpture by hand carving the foam and adding a layer of clay, before the sculpture goes through the lost wax method of bronze casting. A local company, Carvewright, joined forces with Mongeon to CNC mill the Hatter’s chair out of wood using a home CNC machine.
The Hidden 150
The sculpture boasts 150 hidden things in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Lewis Carroll stories. Some of these things were hand sculpted while others were also created using technology. For example, Mongeon scanned a sculpture of her granddaughter as a baby using an Artec scanner and then reduced it down and 3D printed it. She then embedded it into the clay as one of the 150 hidden things, because in Lewis Carroll’s story, a baby turns into a pig. Mongeon also scanned her mother’s antique teacups. She digitally enhanced and then 3D printed the cups. She cast them into bronze where they will forever sit on the tea party table. Many of the hidden 150 were created in the computer using Zbrush and 3D Printed using 3D Systems ProJet 660 and ProJet 3510. Mongeon expresses great appreciation to Interactive Copier Unlimited in Houston, Texas for also joining the sculptor on this curious adventure and providing some of the 3D printing. Mongeon and her team are now working diligently to create collectible ornaments of the 150 that are available for sale on the alicesculpture.com website.
Deep in the Heart Art Foundry, a foundry that also embraces a combination of digital and traditional processes completed the bronze casting of Mongeon’s monumental sculpture installed the inviting table, benches and characters in Bellaire, Texas, in spring of 2018.
Mongeon is adept at mixing traditional art processes with digital technology, and she has written a book on how she and other artists around the world do so. Her book
“3D technology in Fine Art and Craft Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting, and Milling” is used by vendors to help their clients understand their processes and possibilities, by academia to teach, in maker spaces, and is also in the fine art libraries of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Albright Knox art gallery in Buffalo. Mongeon appreciates that her work is more than just a beautiful sculpture to look at; it is interactive and has a strong educational component, not only in literature but also in STEAM Science, Technology Engineering, Art, and Math. She speaks on this regularly and searches for others to help her create a repository of curriculum around Alice in Wonderland and STEAM that she will offer on Alicesculpture.com website.
She is also writing a new book tentatively titled, “A Curious Adventure: The Sculpting of a Bronze Wonderland Using Fine Art and Digital Technology.” It is similar to her last book but documents the making of “Move One Place On.”
THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES.
Though the monumental bronze is complete, the artist’s work is not. There is one final chapter and challenge for her new book. It is the 3D scanning of the monumental sculpture and the incredible things they have planned for those scans. You could say that in Bridgette’s Studio things get big and small not with mushrooms and elixirs but with digital technology. Alice and her friends are once again changing size.
Intertek Surveying Services under the direction of Chad Rabitoy is jumping down the rabbit hole to Wonderland to help with this next curious adventure. Rabitoy and Mongeon will be working together to scan the entire monumental sculpture in Evelyn’s Park. They will do so in two ways. Rabitoy will use GOM Tritop photogrammetry and ATOS / GOM Triple Scan III scanners using structured blue light scanning technology to capture the fine detail of each character. Mongeon will take this digital data and modify it for reproduction. The exact monumental scene will be reduced down and 3D printed as a small scene available to purchase as a limited edition bronze. Mongeon and Rabitoy may also use this data in conjunction with the second set of 3D scans.
For the second set of 3D scans Rabitoy will also be using Faro Focus hardware / Faro Scene Software for laser scan and NCTech iSTAR 360 Camera and Kolor Panotour Pro software to scan the entire scene. Mongeon hopes to use this data at a later date with the help of other volunteers to create both a virtual reality of the whole scene and an educational learning experience for adults and children. She is actively looking for volunteer coders and gamers to help with this undertaking. “What I hope will happen is that we can use the virtual reality combined with the detail scans for two purposes. First, people can visit the sculpture anywhere in the world through the Internet. Though everyone says, you have to see it in person, and sit at the table to get the full feel of the art.” She hopes to make the entire scene into an educational tool. Because of the subject of the art and how Mongeon created it, it is an excellent resource for the study of history, literature, digital technology, engineering even math. For example, she can reveal some of the 150 hidden things or some of the educational elements. Imagine in the virtual reality you click on the Mad Hatter’s teapot or read the engraving on the bottom that says “Utah 1975” and that will take you to the history of the Newell teapot. The Newell or Utah teapot is the first computer graphics created. The teapot used by professor Newell in the University of Utah even resides in the computer history museum. Mongeon, like many others before her, has hidden the Newell teapot in her art as homage to the man who started it all. Or, you click on the Hatter’s hat and learn that many hatters did go mad caused by poisoning from the mercury they used to make their hats.
“It is a joy to find others who are excited about the work and the possibilities and who want to jump down the rabbit hole with me. But be warned, ” States Mongeon. “We are all a little mad here. I relish the assistance and knowledge of others who see this magical journey and all that it holds. I have often said, you don’t know what you can do until you know what you can do, bringing on board volunteers in 3D, coding, and gaming will be quite an adventure. I have no idea where they will come from, but I’m like the white queen, ‘I believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’”
If you are interested in jumping down the rabbit hole to create these free educational resources or for more information on purchasing the collectible 150 or the small bronze Mad Hatter scene contact the artist at www.creativesculpture.com
Follow the artist on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bridgettemongeon/
For more information on this press release contact Jessica Brown Bridgette@creativesculpture.com