A Los Altos Garden is Getting a Sculpture

 You’re welcome to contact the sculptor for more details and images at


It spins too!

The final touches

The sculpture is being assembled on the bearing unit and final clean-up from the powder coating.


Working with my heavy-duty grinder (9-inch starbright wheels), I carving the metal to smooth it's curves and remove all the slag from the cutting and welding process.

Once the sculpture has been ground, I start working through levels of sanding and polishing.  Starting with a 50-grit and ending in a 100-grit, I smooth and prepare the interior of the sculpture.  Because it will be powder coated using a solid yellow color, I don't want to make it too smooth so the powder coat can get a good "bite" on the surface.  The fabricator who rolled the steel plate used Sharpie to mark the plate.  It took quite a bit of work to get the ink marks removed.  If I don't remove the ink entirely, it will bleed through the final powder coat and be clearly visible in the yellow.

For the outside of the sculpture, I continued with a fine polishing wheel using an air tool.  The wheel is 2.5" wide.  Circling and randomly passing the polishing wheel, I can create a dancing and layered pattern.  It bounces the light in all directions.  When the final application of a translucent crimson powder coat, the random pattern will show through.

Bearing plate Beginnings

The sculpture is going to rotate on a bearing plate.  At the center will be a 4-3/8" Timken thrust bearing.  It will support the weight, center the plates and keep the sculpture from being able to tip over in heavy winds.  Using tapered bearings and a cup design, it's a wonderful piece of engineering design.  Mounted on a secondary plate (base plate) will be six roller bearings that will smoothly assist in the turning motion.

This sculpture will not necessarily have kinetic motion, but will allow for hand-turning.  The center bearing will have quite a bit of friction since it is holding the sculpture's weight.  Both bearing plates are machined smooth.  The base plate of the bearing assembly will have seventeen holes drilled into it's design.  There is a dust cover welded to the outside of the upper plate that will reduce the exposure to weather and protect the bearings.

Fabrication Progress

Here's a little video clip showing the progress of the fabrication.

Solid Yellow

The model images of the solid yellow with a darker spiral.

The latest and greatest concept yet.  This shows the model digitally with a solid yellow powder coat and a translucent powder coat outside.


Here's a new idea.

Building new color relationships.

Beginning with the first pass, I placed Primrose Yellow.  Orange followed inside the small ribbon.  Next is Process Blue.  I haven't decided the direction of the next pass over the top of the ribbon.  Once the paint has cured, I intend to add a design elements to some areas.  I've got ideas rolling in my head, but not quite developed the application of the design elements.

Getting to know my customer has been helpful.  He has gone through a couple of exercises sorting through color charts and provided images of his home.  To interpret his taste and style, I am going to stay right in the middle ranges of the monochromatic scale.  The color palette is built using primary colors.  I will expand the palette by juxtaposing complimentary colors, creating a visual illusion of energy and complexity.

Building the Model

Using sheet metal for heat ducts, I cut the forms and soldered joints.  Because this is a private home installation and not a public art work, I have the luxury of a more open form. A more open form equals more spring-like, kinetic action.

I am playing with the addition of a second "stream" curled into the main spiral.  It will mean rolling two pieces of steel... and a lot more grinding. The small stream provides more canvas to bounce both color and kinetic bounce.  This is another example of being able to add a structural element that I would most likely not be able to use if this were going to a public site.

The sculpture will be secured to a ellipse-shaped steel plate.  That plate will be secured to a bearing system, working much like a Lazy-Susan.  The sculpture will be able to be rotated manually.

Starting with a Dream

 Starting with a dream for a new landscape in Los Altos, California, a plan is coming together.  That plan includes a sculpture to be enjoyed in the intimate setting of linear hardscapes and organic plantings.  This is the BEFORE picture.  The proposed sculpture will be similar to the sculpture exhibiting in Napa, California, "Taffeta".  The artist is working to create a model and concept for the newest of the "Helix Fabric" series.

Watch for more updates!

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