Weaving Interwoven: Progress report.

Still working on Interwoven and making good, albeit slow, progress. We had a nice cold snap where the temps dropped down near 0°. Makes the interior of my nice all-concrete shop feel like a meat locker, only colder.



Clean up.

Spent the last few days cleaning up some old broken blog posts. Used MarsEdit 4, which made it a breeze to yank out old flickr-linked images and replace them with local copies. Sweet.

Weaving Interwoven: Warp and Weft. Woof.

More progress on the assembly. Starting to feel like this just might work!

Weaving Interwoven: The Beginning.

Now that I’ve bent some tabs, the actual assembly can start. First steps are to figure out which part goes where; I’ve employed a letter-plus-number system cut right into the metal to try to simplify this process. Seems to be working OK, but ascertaining “front” and “back” on a form without them is somewhat problematic.  It’s just a matter of playing “who’s your neighbor” and keeping track of those relationships. I divided the form up into 13 “modules” consisting of the sheetmetal surrounding each hole. Beyond planning, the actual assembly is aided by the use of these little doodads called “Clecos,” which are spring-loaded temporary rivets that hold things in position until actual rivets can be added. Pneumatic riveter for the win. (I “love” “using” “quotes,” apparently.)

Interwoven: Fabrication.

Once the virtual model is finalized and I have all the surfaces flattened and laid out, the files are sent off to Wesco Laser to be cut from 14 (main body) and 7 (base) gauge 304 stainless steel. Now I get to try to turn this:

Pile of stainless wanting to be a sculpture.

Into a piece of public art.

Oh, and remember those tabs I talked about? Here they are, ready to be bent and employed to hold the whole works together.

1200 wee tabs, flat, wanting to be bent.

Trying something new(ish).

I have been utilizing the welding process in making my sculptures for 30 years.  It is a straightforward, effective method for joining metal together—but there are some downsides. Biggest of these is the warping that occurs from the adding of heat; second is the aesthetic requirement of dressing the welds. Grinding and finishing out the weld beads and the associated discoloration around them (chasing) is time-consuming and, frankly, painful. I’ve experimented in the past with alternative methods of joining parts, like here:

“Breakfast with Tiffany”

I thought I’d try using rivets to assemble a larger piece, and “Interwoven” seemed like a great candidate, as warping and chasing out the welds on this beast would be bad. Very bad.

This did end up translating into many, many more hours of tedious design time on the computer—but that’s the price for ART!!! I placed over 2000 paired holes into the model and designed a simple tab to span the seam where two parts meet.

A note for the geeks: this shape was generated parametrically with code in the Grasshopper plug-in for Rhinoceros, and is based on the famous strip of Mr. Moebius. The chief challenge here is determining just how to go about realizing this mathematical form; there is no “front” or “back” and the the inner edge becomes the outer, and vice versa. Add to that the way the “faces” weave through each other, and you have a real head-scratcher on your hands/brain.


So, now that I’ve caught up on the Lincoln Corridor project, it’s time to move on to what’s currently occupying my time. “Interwoven” is a new sculpture commissioned by the City of Little Rock, Arkansas for the new expansion of their Vogel-Schwartz sculpture garden. Concept rendering below.

“Interwoven” render from Rhino3D

Smoke, Bollard Artwork, and Being Done.

Had a chance to take some photos while the area was under the influence of smoke from forest fires throughout the west. Weird, lovely light.

It took a while for the stone parts of the bollards to get finished up, but once they were in I added on the stainless artwork. Lots of drilling and epoxy, but it was a gorgeous day for it.

A big thanks to everyone involved in this project. It was a real honor to have the opportunity to enhance my home base of Fort Collins, Colorado. I hope you’ve all enjoyed going along for the ride.


A couple nice b&w shots.

Bike racks looking good in B&W.
“Crop” photogenic.

Making Terralogue Totems: Even Deeper.

More fabrication photos. “Crop” was delayed due to the corten face material arriving damaged. Took forever to get replacements.

Making Terralogue Totems: In Deep.

More photos from the fabrication of all the Lincoln Corridor elements, including the bases for the bollards, the bike racks, and more of the main sculptures.

Making Terralogue Totems: Sidebar, Counselor.

Huh. Looks like I’ve forgotten to clue you in on just what the heck a “Terralogue Totem” is.

“ Terralogue Totems” are a set of sculptural designs based on the concept of the land speaking; these messages being symbolized through metal emblems. The designs are executed in three distinct formats: large sculptural Monoliths, Bike Racks, and Bollards.

 Maybe these little explanations we included on the plaques will help:

Making Terralogue Totems: Both Nitty and Gritty.

Getting into the meat of the fabrication now. Mostly a pretty straight-forward process and totally familiar to those of you who’ve followed along with other projects here on my blog. One hallmark of this particular design is the complication of using two different metals. Corten and stainless both rely on an oxide layer that develops on their surface to provide corrosion protection; Corten’s oxide just happens to be, well, rust-colored, while stainless steel’s is chalky gray. The only issue this presents is the rusty Corten oxide can stain the stainless (how the?), ruining the aesthetics of the piece. I elected to use internal supports (standoffs) to hold the two materials a quarter inch apart to prevent this.

Take a look at these photos and see if you can spot the standoffs.

Making Terralogue Totems: Fabrication Part 1.

Once the laser (or water jet, usually for thicker material) is done – the real work begins.