Sanding has been elevated to an art form


Stainless steel and art go together perfectly, as demonstrated every day by visual artist Karel Hadermann. Just think of the 10 metre-high, 1500 kg monument “De troeven van Tessenderlo”, which gives the Engsbergen roundabout an extra cachet. However, things did not stop there. For example, “De Geluksplukker” was officially inaugurated in Kortenaken last autumn. Thanks in part to the advice and products from Cibo, it has become a work of art that has everyone talking in Kortenaken and the surrounding area.

Hadermann only really discovered the potential of stainless steel in the last decade.

“I made small ceramic sculptures for a long time, but it's a less durable material, so I started looking for alternatives,” he says. “I started to work with stainless steel more and more because it hardly rusts. But the problem was that I was unable to weld at the time. But when I was instructed to work on the “De troeven van Tessenderlo”, I decided to invest in a welding station and to master welding. Spot welding techniques are crucial in the creation of my artworks. The sculptures themselves are first made from head to toe in clay, but then a kind of “stainless steel casing”, a succession of small, oval stainless steel plates, is welded over them. Afterwards, the unbaked clay is then knocked out so the casing remains; often only the head and hands remain made from stoneware or clay that has been heated to 1150 degrees. The central sculpture in Engsbergen, for example, has around 2500 small plates connected to each other by at least 7,000 spot welds. This is a considerable amount of welding work, and of course associated sanding work.”

"If I have a question, I can always count on getting help quickly and professionally. You really make the difference there."

In that case, you really need to have the right materials in terms of grinding machines and grinding products.

"Above all, it is all very time-consuming; I sometimes take up to six months to finish a sculpture completely,” Hadermann adds. “It will not surprise you that optimising my grinding work without losing sight of the finished product is one of the main priorities. That's why I love working with your flap discs. The ceramic version not only grinds faster, the discs last a lot longer. And the RCD, as a pure finishing disc, is very decisive for the final appearance because it allows me to finish all the remaining roughness off nicely. But the technical advice I receive is just as important. If I have a question, I can always count on getting help quickly and professionally, with tips and advice about products that may be useful to me. You really make the difference there."


Karel Hadermann’s latest achievement is "De Geluksplukker", a sculpture that in part refers to the most important economic activity in Kortenaken, fruit growing.

"There is of course a clear link to the culture of fruit growing, especially pear cultivation, in this municipality,” he says. “This is why the hand above the basket is holding a pear, and why there are 25 apples and 25 pears in the basket. A small but not unimportant detail. But I wanted all the residents to identify with the sculpture. This is why I added a double meaning by not placing anything in the picking hand that points to heaven. In that sense, you can interpret this as someone trying to pick something that everyone is looking for, but is very difficult to grasp, especially happiness, for example. The name of the sculpture (which is translated into English as “The happiness picker”) has not been chosen randomly (winks), and it's no coincidence that the basket is half full. There is still a lot of happiness in Kortenaken. Perhaps in these turbulent times of emerging extremism – from whatever angle – it's not unimportant to realise that everyone is simply looking for that bit of happiness."


Are you interested knowing a little more about Karel Hadermann’s art?

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