Final work and news of 2011
Tue, Dec 13 2011 01:36
Well, the year is coming to a close and my shop is a mess, time for a good cleaning and then a break, but first things first. I just put the finishing touches on this beauty and I couldn't be more pleased with my final effort this year. I always try to be ambitious towards years end and this year was no exception.
This work went through more variations and re-workings than any that I can remember. It was on and off the drawing board for well over a year before I started any actual work.
And when I settled on a final design, I realized I didn't even have the proper tooling to build it. I had been planning to build a new CNC lathe for some time, but this design was the motivation I needed to actually get that piece of equipment built. If anyone is interested in seeing that entire process during the build, there is a slide show here.
So to make a long story short, I took the entire month of October off from making Sculpture in order to build my new Lathe, just so I could begin work on this piece.
Well worth the effort and now I have greatly expanded my capabilities for future work.
Above is a good example of why I needed to build a new machine. the top photo is a before, and the bottom is an after of how I cut the inner radius for the main spokes of the piece, I needed the inside profiles of each spoke socket to curve away to match the inner circumference of the main body. This was the only way I could come up with to get the correct radius on the curve, and my little old CNC lathe was definitely not up to the task.
I also shot some more video as I am doing some testing for some better documentation. Rather than embed it, Here is a link the my FaceBook video page.
Here is a context shot. The finished work is 19"x22"x14".
In other news, I was chosen to receive a "B grant" from the Baker Memorial fund, which is a Baltimore based fund that recognizes achievement in the arts for local artists. It is alway's nice to be recognized in your own home town and it is very flattering to be chosen. See you next year.
A New Edition
Thu, Dec 1 2011 02:47
Thought I would post my newest work. I made three of these little gems and they are directly related to some of the geometry I am using in my current large project (to be completed by the end of the year).
When I work on larger projects I am always left with the feeling I am not accomplishing anything because of the long period of time it takes to complete. So I figured I would work a smaller project into the middle of the process so I would have something to show for myself at the half way point. Much of the geometry for this is derived from that project in some form or another.
As with most of my editions, I designed it to come off the base so that it can be appreciated as a compact object.
I shot a short video
Me and a friend were playing around with video documenting some of my processes and took some footage while turning the tops of this edition. And seeing as it was from this piece, I thought I would post a link to it in case some of you were interested in seeing it. . Its not the most exciting thing you will ever see, but it is gratifying to watch the chips peel off. Process Video Link
Here is a peek at the piece that Is well underway in my shop. I have been working on it for over a month already and have a big pile of parts, but there are a few weeks to go. So look for it by the end of the year.
Thu, Oct 6 2011 01:14
A commission leads to an interesting pair of works.
These are my latest creations ( There are three here). The pair you see above are a variant on the one here just below. The one below was a commission for a collector who liked my TI 524422363 so much he wanted me to dream up something with a similar organic, yet vortex-ish flavor.
I always welcome a challenge and rarely get to revisit an idea so soon after completion so I jumped right on the opportunity and dreamed up the work you see here above. The other two are a variation on this one, born out of my dislike of wasting good metal.
You see, the copper center ring for the commissioned piece (seen here above) was a bit tricky to cut, as copper always is. So I decided it would be prudent to do some test cutting in Aluminum, which is much more forgiving. It helped work out the bugs in the program and avoid any potential copper wasting mistakes. But, it left me with two aluminum blanks that were the same shape as the copper. Rather than waste them, or save them until the distant future when one day I designed something I could use them in, I thought it would be interesting to play with the idea of variants. Essentially keeping the composition and the center piece the same as the original, but redesigning and tweaking the lines on each of the other components. Rather than a conical center shape to hold all the splines, I went with a rounded shape, I revisited my treatment of the center opening and tweaked the design of the splines themselves.
Lastly, I decided I could also make the spin off pair different from each other using color. The pair are geometrically the same, But I employed different materials and anodizing to produce two very different looks. Brass verses copper on the insides, and the Blue and Orange Anodizing. I had often wondered how material selection effected the outcome of my works and this was a great chance to have a real world example. I normally run various combinations through my head as I design, It is great to be able to realize a few of them rather than just picking a single winner.
One of the benefits of anodizing over just using a colored metal is that it provides the opportunity to machine the color back off to accentuate certain geometries. In this case I was able to highlight a beautiful little detail produced by the pattern cut into the ring. A bit hard to see in the photos but if you click through to the full size image on my web page you can get a better look. Comments as usual are always welcome.
The Pollack Krasner FoundationOne other bit of good news. I was notified just a week or so ago that I have been chosen to receive a grant from the Prestigious Pollack-Krasner Foundation. The Grant is designed to give financial assistance based on both merit and financial need. This is the second time I have been awarded one of these most sought after grants, a rare honor indeed. If you are an artist struggling to make a go at establishing yourself, visit the website and see if this is a grant that might work for you. www.pkf.org
Thu, Jul 21 2011 03:46
Every once in a while, I get myself into making something and it just seem sthat everything that can go wrong, will and is going wrong. But when I press on through it, the product at the other end is a wonderful mixture of good intentions and adjusting to the circumstances at hand. This piece in particular exemplifies the term, happy accidents.
I take everything in stride (or at least I try to), but I am always amazed at how strange accidents seem to clump up. Between having my house struck by lightning which damaged the CNC controller and speed sensors in my Lathe. Not to mention fried various other lights and electronics through out my house, cracking a bearing in my CNC Mill (completely unrelated), Which knocked out a second machine for over a week, Snapping a few expensive bits relearning the joys of working in copper, and a few other smaller things not worth mentioning, I still managed to make this sculpture while adjusting and adapting to the ever changing tooling and set ups at my disposal. I hope that does not sound like I am complaining, I am simply trying to relate the circumstances that influenced many of my design choices while making this work.
So to start out, I had been playing with the idea of doing a more free form piece for a while, meaning not planning so much, and instead, began by picking up pieces of metal, and started cutting to see where it lead. Naturally my eye drifted to this gorgeous piece of copper I had sitting around and I worked from there. As I alluded to above, Copper is as difficult a material as there is to machine due to it being very soft and very sticky (as far as metal is concerned) It requires lots and lots of cutting oil to keep the tool from binding and I was reminded of this rather quickly as I started this project.
So just when I would start to settle in on a final design, be it lightning or another break down, I would have to stop, rethink what I was doing, and adjust, which lead to a number of design changes that I think in retrospect worked out for the better. The process for this one was much more fluid and dynamic than usual and though a bit more uncertain and stressful, more rewarding in some ways. In the end, I had to bypass some of the fried circuits in my lathe so that I could operate the burned out parts manually, I did a few operations the old fashioned way, and design around the rest. It was lots of fun.
Sat, Jul 2 2011 05:31
My latest creation everyone. This one took some time, but it was well worth it.
It stands about 19 inches tall and is about 8 in diameter.
I utilized a lot of what I learned during my two previous studies to work out exactly the right way I wanted to plot the markings around the radius shape of the body and to be doubly sure there would be no mistakes. It turned out better than I expected.
This piece also afforded me a chance to try out a new way of cutting metal. After building a spindle lock and this custom tool holder, I used my mill as a slotting machine where as the bit takes long slow slices out of the metal with a stationary bit, rather than using a spinning tool. Only good for types of slotting, but then that is what I need.
Lastly for the what I will call the leg details on the piece. A custom arbor was employed to cut the radius shape around the circumference of the three brass dowels and do the slotting on them as well. As I have said in previous posts. sometimes you spend a good bit of time building custom tools, only to use them once. But if it is what you need there really is little choice. The arbor can be seen in the top left. It could almost be turned into a part of a sculpture on its own, Maybe I will come up with a use for it yet.