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Untitled by Richard Schaffer, Raymond College, 1967.

Created on commission for the class Monumental Sculpture for $1000.

“My idea was hexagonal columns in a hexagonal pattern. You really needed to walk past it to get the full effect. I drew a plan up and then figured out how to build it. I was inspired by drives through the Central Valley where the vineyards which are set at right angles to the road form radiating patterns as you go past. And of course the Pershing Street bridge where the regular cylindrical piers do the same thing when seen from the Calaveras River. Pete [Pumphrey] pointed this out to me.

“The formwork was 1” boards with the edges cut 60 degrees then set up vertically and separated with 2x4s. A rebar runs up the center of each column. Then we cast the whole thing in one piece. No structural calculations at all, just guess work. I am amazed it turned out so nice, no big gaps in the cement etc. To this day I respect good craftsmanship in art, even more than “creativity”. Art is hard work!

“When I think about it now with some knowledge of structural engineering, it’s a little scary. The tall column make for a lot of leverage at the base. There is probably a better way to do it but my plan worked. I originally planned to leave the bracing of the formwork intact so that the columns would be mutually supporting, but I scrapped that for aesthetic reasons. I was all in for simplicity! If I did it over I would leave more space between the columns and make them stronger. Rebar is actually cheap compared to all that wood formwork, plus it would be a real pain to destroy.

“My project was torn down and replaced with a kiosk a few years later. Of course it bothered me that it was torn down:( I hope whoever demolished it was surprised how hard it was to demolish). Everything teaches us something, the evanescence of life, the reason there are more painters than sculptors, the importance of point of view. . . I could go on a long time on that topic. As a learning experience it was unbeatable. Getting the idea, financing it, designing it, working out how to build it and actually building it. You don’t often get that experience as an undergraduate.”

Richard Schaffer

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library



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