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Karl Lawrence Millard

Lizard grinder

Karl Lawrence Millard Lizard grinder 2000

Lizard grinder 2000 brass, bronze, copper, sterling silver, money metal, Peugeot mechanism, stainless steel screws National Gallery of Australia enlarge

Artist’s statement
‘The work was made after a six-month stay in India. It was from the vantage point of being in South India that I could see the most valuable parts of Australia. With the Lizard grinder I tried to bring together the sense of a harsh landscape through the depiction of the creatures that exist with it: the colours, the angles, and the robustness of the inland lizards. I value these aspects of Australia, plus I like a bit of good historical Australiana. There is something that entertains me about seeing everyday objects that are unusual among everyday objects.’

How was Lizard grinder made?
The shape of the work was first made in steel, and then shaped by welding and angle grinding. The whole piece was dipped into a plastic type of wax that can be cut up with a scalpel while still on the steel shape. The individual pieces are then placed in metal groups, copper, bronze, brass and sterling silver in preparation for casting in metal using the lost wax casting technique. The cast metal pieces are then brought together and the construction of the whole piece begins.

Each scalpel cut in the wax will become a line of silver solder that unites the two adjacent metals. The piece slowly starts to take shape. It’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle but in three dimensions. Once all the pieces have been put back together again the work is filed and polished with emery paper to achieve a smooth homogenous finish. The piece is then fitted with the grinding mechanism and the pepper inlet. It is given a final clean and emery finish, and then it is ready for heat-treating. The heat-treating rates thus achieving a painterly colour range. The work is assembled and a wax coating is applied to protect the surface.

  • Do you think Lizard grinder resembles a lizard? Describe in what ways is it similar or different?
  • What is Australiana? Draw some images that you think relate to the concept of Australiana.
  • If this is the pepper grinder, draw a picture of what you think the salt shaker looks like?