Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Ark of the Covenant - Cherubim

So I'm working on this haunted house walk-through attraction with some friends called 'Nightmare at the Museum' in which the exhibits come to life. In one of the rooms, is the storage room in which a crate has fallen and broken open to reveal that it encased the Ark of the Covenant (from 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'). My friends wanted to build one but needed someone to make the cherubim on top. I remember those cherubs from the movie and the design facinated me. I always thought it would be fun to have a set of those to put up on my desk so I volunteered to do it.

We did some online research. There are many depictions of the cherubs as you can see here:




I noticed that they all are pretty similar in concept. That's because in the Bible it actually describes how the Ark was to be constructed (even to the exact measurements!). It was to be a box made of wood and plated in gold. On top of the box was the cover or "Mercy Seat". Two cherubs made of gold were to be on either end facing each other with their wings outstretched and touching. You can read all about it here.

The most popular version is the one from 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' so that's what we decided to make.

We found a few sites that had detailed pictures and schematics on how to build your own Ark of the Covenant replicated prop from the movie. Here's is some of that reference material:





(oooookay....I'll keep that in mind...)



so here's mine....(granted, I know it not EXACT. Even with all the reference, it was still hard to see the full detail so I had to take a few liberties and while I was at it, I might as well do it to how I wanted to see it. Its been awhile since I sculpted - maybe even YEARS! When I added up the time spent to make this, it took me about 3 - 4 eight-hour days.)

I set up in the dining room which made my wife a little concerned. (she does that groan that Marge Simpson makes about Homer.) This way, I can be near the kids and feel like part of the family. The kids took over a box of clay and had fun using the pasta maker (which I use to help knead and soften the clay to make it workable).

First, I blew up an image of the cherub to size. Then made a wire armature to match. Then I slapped some clay on, roughing out the forms. This process took about 8 hours.

(if you look closely, you can see a toy box that looks like the Ark. My kids asked, "Can we put candy in there?")



Then I started refining the shapes and adding detail:





The hardest part was sculpting that tiny face. As you can see it was about the size of a quarter. Originally, I tried sculpting it by trying to work my fingers between the wood and wings--this proved to be a useless waste f time. Then, I got this idea to sculpt the face , bake it then squeeze it into the main sculpture. "BRILLIANT!" , I tell you.

As I was sculpting it, I was thinking, "Why am I spending so much time on something no one will see?" Then I thought 1) because I know people will want to look on the underside and expect to see something there and 2.) because I'll know! I'm creating art--I have to feel good about it.

I swear, I could have gone on forever finessing this piece, smoothening it out, taking out pocks and finger prints, etc. until finally I just had to call it "done". At times, it's fair enough to say, "This was my best effort and what I was able to do in the time given."



Now its up to my friend to make mold an cast it up!

38 comments:

Eric Scales said...

This came out beautifully! Awesome work.

HenriekeG said...

So amazing, just the sheer effort you put into it! It really makes me wish we'd celebrate halloween here!

Youth Pastor Marc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Youth Pastor Marc said...

The piece is beautiful! Would you be willing to recreate and sell a set of two? I wish to rebuilt an ark for my brother who is getting married in July of next year, God willing. I can be reached at Spirit.Driven@yahoo.com. Thank you!

James Lopez said...

I am currently awaiting to have the mold and casts made by a friend of a friend. When I have them, I'll be in touch.
Thanks!
-James

James Lopez said...

...and Thank You all for the comments and compliments!

Jim Jackson said...

hello! i am looking for some of the cherabim for an illustration for our church. do you have any for sale yet? let me know! thanks!
stickspeaks@gmail.com

andywgeordie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ottis said...

We are making an ark for vacation bible school. Any chance your molds are done and you would be willing to sell a pair? Rusty

warriors for Christ said...

can you please give me a call concerning the cherubims. they were awsome, I am building the ark and the only piece that i do not have are the cherubims. I would love to purchase a pair if at all possible for the upcoming conference in June in 2011.

deephx said...

I read with great interest about your amazing scratch-built Raiders' Ark Angel figure. Were you able to have the mold and casts made of which you previously spoke? If yes, I too would like very much to purchase a pair if they are still available. I can be reached at deephx@cox.net. Thank You!

warriors for Christ said...

James,
I was trying to see if you had a mold for the angels yet? And how much are you charging if they are for sale. You can reach me at jfleeks@yahoo.com

Adriano said...

Hi, my name is Adriano and im from Atlanta, GA. Im searching for someone who can sculp me those cherubs. I hope you'll consider doing me that honor. If you could pleace contact me back on my ee-mail that way we can talk more about pricing, sizing and everything else. My e-mail is kingadriano@msn.com
I'll expecting you response, thank you, God Bless!

Rural Rabbi said...

Looks like you may have a little business here just making molds for people. If you are doing this then include me as one of your customers. rural_rabbi@yahoo.com

CGARTIST said...

Hello --I am also making a ark replica and would like to have an update on your Cherubim molds and the cost of a pair for my ark .I am also making the rest of the tabernacle items as described in the bible ..marknoel@msn.com thank you .

CGARTIST said...

James ..I have an Easter/passover deadline for my tabernacle display ....do you have any extra Cherubim lying around..or do I need to break out my carving tools ..someting I havent done in awhile.many thanks!!!

Lady Drayton said...

I am very interested in the these beautiful cherubims. My church has been established since 2006, but God has blessed us with our very own house of worship. We are trying to include the furnishings of the tabernacle. Would you please contact me, if you are able to make them.
drayton.latashia@gmail.com

Jared Brodeur said...

I'm interested in a cast of these pieces if they are still around or available. DaBrode@hotmail.com

Femi Ogunro said...

Hi I am in London,
Please could you tell me how much for a pair thanks.
Mic
Femi@city.ac.UK

Femi Ogunro said...

Hi I am in London,
Please could you tell me how much for a pair thanks.
Mic
Femi@city.ac.UK

Femi Ogunro said...

Hi I am in London,
Please could you tell me how much for a pair thanks.
Mic
Femi@city.ac.UK

Nelson Negron said...

hi how much its the pair
negron.nelson6551@gmail.com

Ed said...

hello, im interested in obtaining some mold a pair, can you please give me some more info, marcedinc@gmail.com thanks

Rodeny Houle said...

I am building a downscale model of the Ark. I will leave my email address so you can contact me and we can talk about how large the Mercy Seat Angels (Cherubim Angels) should be and the cost of them. I would like them to be proportionately as possible with this scale I am building. My email is houle@umich.edu
Thanks Rod

Dave Richardson said...

Would love to purchase a pair of these, please contact me @ superiortreeturf@msn.com. Dave Richardson

Dave Richardson said...

Would love to purchase a pair, please contact Dave Richardson, superiortreeturf@msn.com.

Thank you.

Dontae Dozier said...

Great work! I'm in the process of building an Ark of the Covenant replica. I was searching for a pair of Cherubims when I came across your page. How much would you sell me a pair for? You can email me at workinginthekingdom@gmail.com

Sandra Whitson said...

Hello, I too, am looking to buy a pair. I can be reached at swhitson@nlcjc.org. How much are they going for?
Sandra

Byram Mckinzie said...

Hello, I am Pastor Byram McKinzie. I would like to purchase 2 of the angels that you have designed. My email address is Byrammckinzie@yahoo.com please advise me.

rufino martinez said...

Great job I'm interested on get a pair too, let me know my email is ruf2173@yahoo.com

Nicholas Maniatis said...

Hi I am interested in buying a pair of cherubs. please e-mail me thedarkknight77@netzero.com

Carlos MontaƱez said...

Hi James, I am also interested in buying a pair of the cherubims you created. Any chance you may have completed your project and have a pair for sale? Please let me know: pastorcarlos@pibr.org

Thank you

Gilberto Solis said...

It is art indeed, could you make a pair for me? I am making an ark too
Please contact me at apco12@hotmail.com thank you

hannah woods said...

Hello, I am doing a school project and was wondering if you had any of these for sale.I am making a replica of the Ark.

FJU Azusa said...

how much for a single ark angel

James Kvilhaug said...

I just built an ark. I need two angels as soon as possible. I love your work. They look great.

Michael Van said...

How do I get a couple? Spicerecordz@yahoo. com

Mark Cutler said...


Beautiful work on recreating the cherubs. Goes to show how talented the original artists and prop makers were for ILM. Are the finished items available to view?

Mark
e: aardmarkus@yahoo.co.uk