Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cupola Cart

This special gift is for our mid-wife, Sara Wallbaum. She truly wrestled with bringing Max into this world. Our thanks cannot be expressed enough. - Michael, Beth, and Oscar

email sent immediately after Max's birth:

I cannot begin to put into words the tearful joy that Beth and I have just experience.  Max Oliver Wickerson was born healthy at 6:05 pm November 28th, 2011.

The detail are worth telling in person, filled with anguish, fear, joy, happiness, panic,  and struggle.  He needs to be weighed and Beth needs care at home, he is pushing the 10 pound mark and need some tender love.


Michael, Beth, Oscar and Max


A beacon of light shines across the cold November field while Beth gives life to her second son, Max Oliver Wickerson, 200 yards away in front of the family hearth. He is a giant.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Authenticity has become a key word for me in my life and it reflects my ability to positively affect the existing world around me. It is a force that can be defined by work and distance, however I recognize that the work must be powered by my heart and the distance covered must be done through personal vision.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Naked Architecture

Interested in the architecture of happiness, Michael Wickerson has nurtured a relationship with Architect/directeur Erik Muelenbelt from Naked Architecture in the Netherlands. Both Erik and Michael share several interests in dealing with the possibilities of reconstructing old machines that give a city a unique medieval atmosphere; consider the possibilities of incorporating linear metal castings into existing buildings and structures; and desire to complete the construction and installation of a U-tope at Wickerson Studios in the United States. Sustaining a working and living environment off of any grid system remains the most difficult and exciting question faced by both artist and architect in this international exchange of ideas.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bronze Casting

Just incase you are interested, I am casting 40# pots of Silicon Bronze in 1 hour in my backyard, I only use KINGSTON charcoal and a gas generator. I am completely off the grid and the power is fantastic to witness. I believe that I am the only human alive doing this. No propane, no natural gas lines, and no electric power lines. Like I said, to witness the furnace in full action is overwhelming. I must act in the early morning hours to avoid heat exhaustion. I melted a steel lid this morning and had plenty of time to clean the metal before pouring. I really must congradulate myself on my sabbatical research that began last fall in Berlin. I call the foundry, the Greive Foundry, and I feel completely authentic in my actions. My anxiety has transformed into pure adrenaline, once and for all. - Michael

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Grieve Foundry

Stationary Equipment:
Bronze Foundry, horizontal bandsaw, vertical bandsaw, drill press, AC welder, table saw, hot saw, compressor, cement mixer, generator, 250 amp stove for burnout, bridge crane, vertical boom

Hand Machines:
Grinder, saws-all, drills, skill saw, router, chainsaw

Hand Tools:
wheel barrow, dolly, shovels, spades, diggers, axes, etc...

Propane, Coke, charcoal, electricity, pneumatic, gasoline

Gravel road, winch system, bloc and tackle, small lawn tractor and 10 cu. ft. trailer,

Garden Food:
Oats, wheat, rye, barley, corn, watermelon, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, corn, hops, broccoli, etc...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fallen trees and surrounding mud

Wickerson Studios is a 'state' created from the clay of the earth and the timber of the fallen trees. Two structures have emerged from their foundations: a bathhouse and a foundry.

The bathhouse digs deep into the earth and boils rainwater into the air. It is a place for the mind and soul and constantly resists the term, dwelling. Gardens grow both inside and out and animals nest in its branches and twigs. No work will be done in this place. It is a place for well-deserved rest, relaxation and healing.

The foundry is the laboratory. Raised and rammed from the dead trees and surrounding mud. This building houses the equipment required to cast liquid iron and bronze and the machines capable of manipulating and transforming cold steel. Traditional lost wax castings find their forms within this earthwork and the artist's endurance and strength are tested within its walls.

Sunlight is the only light that is ever provided. The winds and rains penetrate the privacy of these two special places. Everything is seasonal. The summer sun exhausts and the winter chill bites. It is easy to feel alive in this place.

-Michael Wickerson, Winter 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Treadmill: Naked Architecture

Stadskraan, Utrecht
This is a study to explore the possibilities of a reconstruction of an old machine that gave the city of Utrecht a unique medieval atmosphere. The way Utrecht’s wharfs have been used is most visible at this point. It’s the wharf in front of de ‘Winkel van Sinkel’ where the crane discharged boats towards the low wharf, where a ‘wed’, a long ramp, was used to distribute the goods (mostly beerbarrels) into town, or towards the higher street level, where the ‘waag’ was located, to weigh the merchandise.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Quotes and Notes

I recommend constant activity in the study of nature; and with this sort of activity more than any other I bring calm to my life. - Laertius Diogenes Epicurius letter to Herodotus

A concept is a phantasm of the intellect, and is neither a something nor a qualified thing, but [rather] a quasi-something and a quasi-qualified thing; for example, there arises an impression of a horse even when no horse is present. - Laertius Diogenes Logic and the Theory of Knowledge

Ambiguity is a speech which signifies two or even more things, linguistically and strictly and in virtue of the same usage, so that by means of this speech several things are understood at the same time. For example "a house fell three times" and " a flute girl fell". - Laertius Diogenes Logic and the Theory of Knowledge

And regret is [a feeling of] pain [one has] about actions which have been performed, because [of the belief that] they were [moral] mistakes made by oneself; and this is a passion of the soul which produces unhappiness and internal strife. - John Stobaeus Anthology 2, 5-12 (pp. 57-116 W-H)

Hesiod said this of stalling; "do not stall until tomorrow and the next day;" and " a man who puts off his work always wrestles with disaster" since stalling produces an abandonment of one's proper jobs. - John Stobaeus Anthology 2, 5-12 (pp. 57-116 W-H)

Recommended Texts:
The Sculpture Reference - Authur Williams
The Self-Sufficient Life and how to live it - John Seymour
The Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook, an A to Z compendium of over 1000 Designs - Adele Nozedar
Natural History, the ultimate visual guide to everything on earth - Smithsonian Institute

Monday, February 7, 2011

Iron and Bronze Casting Collaboration

How does your project address an important problem or strength?

We wish to continue supporting the education of iron and bronze casting processes introduced to high school students over the past two years in collaboration with the sculpture department at KCAI and continued at Wickerson Studios during the fall of 2010.

To what extent does your project employ research-based effective practices?

High school student research involves both hands on demonstration through workshop exercises and conceptual development involving writing and presentations.

How does your project promote innovative and challenging teaching and learning?

Traditional methods of casting are not commonly introduced and accomplished during general curriculum at the high school level. Digital media can be used as a foundation for modeling and working traditional materials and processes in the production of cast bronze and iron.

Does your project advance discovery and understanding within its field or across different fields?

Metal casting can assist a student in a wide range of subject matter and interests. Historically it remains a basis of every civilization. Artifacts and implements speak of a cultures political and social significance. Religious and secular relics demand interpretations and economies are held together by the commodities and lifestyles which are dependent on metal casting production which defines everything from a civilizations military weapons to a civilizations household domestic utensils.

Student's interest in physics, chemistry and engineering will be able to take a keen interest in this ancient project and many student will discover their own personal voice through exploring their ability to craft forms and manage a complex studio/laboratory environment.

Does your project develop concepts, approaches, tools, methodologies or technologies to solve problems in a new way?

Computer programs are becoming more and more the foundation for how academics and businesses approach everything from architecture to designing cups and saucers. This virtual reality of computer-based technologies must still find it way into our world through actual object and form production. It is the bridge from the conception of an idea to the manifestation of the object-in-the-world that posses the greatest problem for anyone desiring to create on all levels of society. Sculpture still has a traditional relevance and importance in regard to this challenge for culture and society. New technologies are always welcome but they need not eliminate the traditional and old. Efficiency in a new medium does not negate the beauty of the past. The synthesis of the memories of the past and desires for the future need to reveal themselves in the present through a thorough understanding of all possibilities.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wickerson Studios: A State of Dwelling

With all this snow I have decided to clean up the woodland on my property and set the timber into a new building on the foundation that once supported a barn on my land. I have cut down most of the trees I require and I am currently hauling the felled trunks on top the ice and snow with rope, block and tackle.

Volunteers should be interested in and capable of:
1. Hitching and hauling logs (rope, block and tackle)
2. Cutting and joining timber (adze, chisel and mallet)
3. Raising a natural framework (pulley and lever)
4. Designing and fabricating the doors and framework for the windows and roof. (each self propelled wheel)

Who: Volunteers
What: Second Dwelling: Earth and Timber
Where: Wickerson Studios
Why: To Build a State: And a 'state' is used in three senses: as a dwelling place, as a complex system of [people], and the third is a combination of these two senses. - Cleanthes
When: January/February 2011

Volunteers will have to provide insurance information prior to working on the property.

Interested persons should express their interest via email through the contact page located at:

Ongoing information will be provided under the "PROJECT" section located in the "ART" section of the website.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Coke Fired Bronze Pour

I have been wrestling with this for a week and finally I managed to turn this gas furnace into a coke fired furnace. I have been able to melt silicon bronze with 40# of coke in the furnace and 2 gallons of gasoline in the generator that runs the blower. It takes about 2 1/2 hours to melt. The trick is to burn the coke evening around the pot and keeping the pot from dropping. Propane and natural gas would cost more and require less of my attention. This has been frustrating, to say the least, but I enjoy the struggle.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Zokaites: Man of War, cast iron, 2010-2011

In addition to assisting in the arrangement of the foundry and metal shop equipment in and around Wickerson Studios, Bobby Zokaites managed to install his recent work, Man of War, 24 hours prior to seasons first substantial snow fall. Furthermore, Bobby plans to burn out a small investment mold and cast the first bronze work in the open air studio during his two week winter stay at Wickerson Studios in the winter of 2011. Good luck!