Acts applied mostly for good practical reasons

Place no. 1 – Savill Group Architecture


Updated: Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Savill Group Architecture
104 – 5th Street South, behind the building, in the alley
Go to map
Duration: August 27 – September 26, 2009

Place no.1 before cleaning & installing a cover for the old coal chute

My plan for this site is simple: sweep up the gravel and sand and remove the six weathered 2″ x 4″ x 8′ pieces of wood. I am also going to clean the dirt from the cracked cement shoulder around the chute and patch it with some quick-set cement as well as install a plywood cover for the mouth of the chute that allows for air ventilation. The cover will be painted a bright red and be bolted to the cast iron cute using threaded rods.

Drawing used to illustrate my ideas for the cover to the owner, John Savill

Beeswax casting
As there was no “regular” garbage (coffee cups, etc) at the place when I was there, I decided to take two 11″ sections of one of the 2″ x 4″ pieces of wood to use as the objects to cast in beeswax.

August 27, 2009 – Cleaning / sweeping
Mike Hall and I went to the place around 9:30 am. We were able to clean the place and patch the shoulder with quick-set cement.

And, no, we did not call each other before meeting that morning to coordinate our clothes.

(Photos: Nicolas de Cosson)
(Photos: Nicolas de Cosson)
Cement Shoulder cleaned-comp frt&top
(Photos: Nicolas de Cosson)
Mike Hall mixing cement
Mike Hall mixing the quick-set cement

August 28 & 29, 2008 – Making the cover and more

During the next two days, I cut and prepared the plywood for the cover and made the four fasteners by making hooks from threaded rod.  The paint is a bright red high gloss oil enamel that took 24hrs to set. I also prepared the chute by cutting four holes for the hooked rods.  As well, I built a  holder for a 11″ x 8.5″ plastic laminated sign and installed it at the place.  The sign has basic info about the project (who, what, where, when, and a bit of why) and an image of the place before it was cleaned (this type of sign will be installed at each of the other places, too.)

August 29, 2009 –  Cover installation



August 30 to September 3, 2009

This period was spent building one mold for two pieces of the 11″ long 2″ x 4″ wood.  There were then 101 beeswax casts made form the mold, which was done with the help of Nicolas de Cosson, the gallery’s assistant curator while I prepared and organized other places to maintain.

On September 3rd I installed the first Monument of beeswax multiples, in this case the beeswax replica of the piece of wood, a rather fitting choice of object as it sits behind the building owned by the architect John Savill.



This first Monument lasted for two days before the sun took its tole.  By the end of the day on September 5th the Monument had toppled over.  By the time I got back to the site there was evidence that the wind had thrown the pieces around the neighbouring parking lot of the car mechanic and tire shop.  As I approached the place, a man came out of the garage and asked me if I thought the damage was due to vandalism.  If so, he said there is a video surveillance camera mounted on the roof of his building that is directed at his lot and beyond to where the Monument is located.  I would like to take a look at the tapes, not to catch any would be perpetrators but, rather, to watch the deterioration in action – something I missed and miss.


I repaired the Monument, creating a slightly different configuration form the original.


Friday, September 12th, 2009

The sun had wreaked its havoc once again.  I laid out the full, unsquished bricks so when the temperature cooled I could rebuild the monument.



September 14th, 2009

I went to the site to find that there was nothing left of the monument, not even remnant shards of wax, nothing but the red plywood coal shoot cover.  I looked in the blue garbage bin beside where the monument was and to my surprise found the wax pieces inside.  It turns out, as I was told by one of the mechanics from tire shop, that there is a guy who travels up and down the alleys looking for bottles to recycle cleaning the alley as he does so.  It was he who cleaned up the Savill site, removing the unsightly monument remnants.  This brings this part of the project to an end.  I will not be going back to re-install the monument.





  1. That is red hot results!!!! I know that your Grandfather will be pleased with the project name…. It is definitely a Clarkism….
    Anxiously await the beeswax sculpture. I trust they will be done in the traditional dovetail joinery of the Scholes!!!!

    Comment by Graham — August 30, 2009 @ 1:32 am | Reply

  2. Looks like fun! I’ll have to head down to Lethbridge and take a “Douglas Scholes art tour” the next time I’m passing through Alberta.

    Hope you’re well.

    Comment by david — September 8, 2009 @ 4:39 pm | Reply

  3. Have you viewed the surveillance tapes? If so, what was the result – were the pieces scattered by vandalism or wind?

    I find it really interesting how people react to change.
    People can be indifferent to change – but rarely, most people will have an opinion.
    Sometimes we can be appreciative or even inspired by change but I find people can also be resistant to the point of destruction.

    Comment by Michelle Koopmans — September 13, 2009 @ 7:17 am | Reply

  4. Fascinating work with the maintenance and the beeswax.I wonder if there are some sites in need here in Orillia.

    Comment by Judy Archer — March 19, 2010 @ 6:12 pm | Reply

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