In the Hands of Alchemy
 ART > The Process

Steam Engine Steam Engine Steam Engine Rope-making Rope-making Rope-making
Steam Engine Steam Engine Steam Engine Steam Engine Steam Engine
Flaming Stupa Flaming Stupa
The Process

Alchemist (images in rows 1-2 at left)
Row 1
Image 1: Jerry built this small steam engine from scratch, including the piston mechanism. The flywheel is recycled from a French coffee plunger! Real fire, real steam will be part of the mechanism. The little goddess image moves frantically with the action of the piston and bits of steam escape.

Images 2-3: Here's the case, with the steam engine and copper plating in position. The red container holds water, the funnel in the front (with valve) will be used to fill the container and to catch drops from condensation from when the engine runs. A propane tank will sit in the bottom, and the valve accessed by a small door. The diamond shape metal plate under Jerry's hand in Image 2 is the fire, located at the pubic area of the sculpture.

Images 4-6: You know all the hair on most of Jerry's sculptures? It comes from salvaged nylon rope. How does it get untangled? Pure tedious "donkey-work," with a little help from an adjustable speed hand drill. In Image 5, Jerry fuzzes it up a bit to separate the strands. Image 6 shows the "hair" in finished form.

Row 2
Images 1-2: A few weeks later from the first photos, Jerry has finished the steam engine design and added a door with a glass lens, mounted into a custom copper frame. A small mirror (center of the engine compartment, with spiral) reflects back image of the viewer. When the engine gets going, that goddess really cooks. Flashing colored lights and roaring of electronic vibrating engines add to the commotion.

Images 3-5: Some later details...
In these photos, you'll see the sketch of this face. The mouth is a spout for the escape of steam and moisture to the funnel, thus to the water reservoir inside the cabinet. The wood is still raw at this point. There are two carved heads for the top of the cabinet, before and after painting, copper decoration, and the addition of hair.

One year later, it's FINISHED! Look at more photos of the Alchemist sculpture.


Flaming Stupa (images in row 3 at left)
Row 3
Images 1-2: These are two photos taken during the building and roof raising (by crane) process for the Flaming Stupa. You can read more about the Flaming Stupa on this Web site and in Jerry's book. It's also a centerpiece in the movie and in Laura Chester's book, "Holy Personal."