Several Projects at Our Embassy and Ambassador's Residence
Finding the Spot
I recently returned from a week in Manila and the successful completion of several projects at our embassy and ambassador's residence.
First up was relocating the exact spot where a small concrete sculpture memorializes a significant and dangerous time in our involvement in the Philippines. During World War II the Japanese briefly took over the Philippines. Just before they arrived to occupy our embassy, the small group of remaining staff gathered all our flags and burned them to prevent them from being mistreated by the invaders. The memorial marks the exact spot where the flags were burned and the ashes buried. The memorial was recently moved temporarily to protect it during construction that will last the next two years. Luckily, Dan Larson located an old photo of its location confirmed by the legend that it is '...six paces from the tree away from the ocean, and seven paces to the right...' reflecting the 13 stripes. And sure enough the legend is correct placing the memorial smack in the middle of the flower bed shown below between the two trees.
Saving Hands and Feet
Next up was an odd job involving tile artwork adorning the pool at our ambassador's residence.
This tile design was created by the Picasso of the Philippines, Vicente Manansala (1910-1981), in the early 60's when the pool was constructed. The tile needed its sharp edges softened to prevent injury. The embassy mason and I softened over 1000 tiles thereby preventing injury to the hands and feet of swimmers.
Repairing 'Big Washers'
Next on the agenda, restoring a sculpture. There were cracks in several locations on the sculpture "Yellow Rings" by Carol Brown Goldberg, affectionately known as 'Big Washers' by the maintenance staff.
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This restoration involved removing chipped paint, filling the cracks with two-part metal epoxy, sanding smooth the epoxy and paint edges, and applying several coats of three distinct matching enamel colors, lightly sanding between each coat. The artwork was moved to a location to eliminate employee exposure to harmful dust and fumes. Once fully dry and off-gassed, the sculpture was placed back in its original location for a final wipe-down with a soft cloth and mild alcohol.
One color did not exactly match so I feathered the paint to hide the mismatch. What's the saying, it's not how fine the craftwork but how well you hide the mistakes!?