The Evolution of Sekimori Ishi

Written by: Daniel Postellon

Primary Source: Postellon

This sculpture was inspired by a trip to the Morton Arboretum, where I saw a sekimori ishi. T was intrigued by a symbol that meant “don’t go here”, which also included a convenient handle, that that could be used to move it out of the way.

Sekimori ishi at Morton Arboretum

Sekimori ishi at Morton Arboretum

The next step was to recreate the form. I had a nice, small piece of walnut, which I grooved and drilled.

carved walnut

carved walnut

I covered the grooves with masking tape and cardboard, and taped on a sprue, then buried this in loose sand, and poured in molten aluminum.

ready for sand and molten aluminum

ready for sand and molten aluminum

The result was this. Note that it did not quite fill completely.

DSCN0494

DSCN0496

The next step was to try it in granite. It was fairly difficult to cut the grooves with a carbide wheel.

grooved granite cobble

grooved granite cobble

This was also taped, and a sprue added.

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This also worked fairly well. It did fill, but had a hot tear.

hot tear

hot tear

The next step was to scale up the process. This a was done with a larger piece of honey locust wood, done the same way that the walnut piece. It was accepted in a local show, where it sold.

Package

Package

I didn’t want to spend hours cutting grooves in granite, so I decided to make a foam cage around a stone. The lifting ring is based on industrial lifting rings.

foam cage and sprue

foam cage and sprue

This was invested in masking tape, and the peice was placed upside down in loose sand, and cast in aluminum.

ready to cast the maquette

ready to cast the maquette

It filled, with no hot tears.

granite and aluminum maquette

granite and aluminum maquette

I really wanted to do one in cast iron. I had been planning to go to the 7th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art, and I got a call for artists. I entered the piece above as a maquette. My proposal was accepted, but they wanted iut bigger than I had planned, and it looked like it would be impossible to cast the iron in one piece around the stone. Before I went to the conference, I did one more in aluminum, with a lifting ring only. This was carved in foam, fitted to the boulder, cast, then glued in place.

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I finally did get to make the cast iron version for Pedvale.

Sekimori Ishi

Sekimori Ishi

I would like to continue with this theme. There are a few possibilities. I have heard of obsidian boulders in Iceland, and I may try to get one. In the meantime, I am looking for a bread loaf size lump of glass to experiment with. I may just cut a slot in the stone or glass, and expoxy a lifting ring in place. The ring does not have to be cast, but could be cut from steel or titanium using a plasma cutter or a water jet.

 

I have found other artistic depictions of sekimori ishi. This one was done in ceramic in France.

Sekimori Ishi Modern was an exhibit in the Netherlands.

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Daniel Postellon
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a child, I played on old coal mine dumps in my neighborhood, which were the remains of mines that fed the J&L iron and steel works. Although I had uncles who worked there, I did not pour iron myself until I managed to get to Herman. Minnesota, for their last pour. Wayne Potratz helped me accomplish my first large scale iron casting,which weighed 50 lbs. It was somewhat difficult to find a place to cast iron, until I took a summer program at Ox-bow, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, under Norwood Viviano and Dan Matheson. I later went to the Indianapolis Art Center for a multiple-furnace iron pour, and did a few “rolly molds” under Kelly Ludeking’s instruction. I have built a small aluminum foundry in my backyard, where I can produce maquettes and other small-scale castings.
Daniel Postellon

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