Swirl of Birds, Eagle Pointe Recreation Center

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

Kinetic movement


Images of Final Installation



Images of our installation

Beautiful Artwork!

These are just a sample of some of the wonderful glass works created by the participants to the workshop. All the tiles have been delivered to Eagle Pointe Recreation Center and are ready to be pick-up.



Held at the Bison Ridge Recreation Center on December 15, a group of 20 people attended a "hands-on" workshop.  Each participant was provided a 10" x 5" piece of clear fusible glass.  Under the glass they placed a print out of a bird of their choice. The artwork on top of the glass was created by using glass frit and stringers. The participants worked for about 2 hours and created some really wonderful images.  The glass plates were transported back to the artist's studio and fired, fusing the design into the glass sheet.

Installation Diagrams


Cutting the Cables

Each bird is fastened to a cable. There is a diagram of height and location to determine the cable length.


Welding and Assembling Steel Frames for Bird Balls

Welded frames made of 3/16" stainless steel pencil rod.  Rods are cut and formed on an anvil then welded to secure. The frames are polished using red (100 pad) polishing wheels.

Die-cutting the pins

170 pins are fabricated with a 10-24 thread die to secure each bird to the steel frame.

Making the Holes

We set up a water bath and a drill press using a diamond drill bit to gently drill the center hole.


Balancing the Birds

Each bird is set in the jig to determine centerpoint. The centerpoint may be offset to allow birds to hang in different directions of flight.


Fabrication Continues

Birds, birds, birds taking over the studio!


Installing the Support Frames

Last Saturday, September 29, a crew of three installed the support frames for the suspension of the glass birds.  Starting at 7:30am we finished at 6:00pm.  It was a long day and hard work. In the end, the suspension frames are nearly invisible!!


Preparing for installing the support frames

The installation date of Saturday, September 29, has been set.  The installation should take one day.  The frames have been powder coated and loaded on the trailer.  They are ready for transportation. Images of the frames will be provided soon.

All the hardware needs to be pre-assembled and painted. All hardware components are going to be painted white to match the frames. The final installation will have all the hardware components finished in such a way they will be "optically" unnoticed by the viewer.

Images of the Shapes

It's difficult to see the wonderful shapes the birds have now taken.  On this date in late September, about a quarter of the total birds to be created are done. The birds for one of the bird balls are ready for mounting.

Birds are taking shape

The slumping process to shape the birds flight has started. It takes about four kiln fires to match one flat fire. The firing time ranges from 24 to 68 hours.

First the molds are made out of stainless steel sheet metal. I used stainless over mild steel because the stainless is more stable and doesn't release nearly as much toxic fumes.

The molds are painted 2-3 coats of kiln wash. This prevents the glass from sticking to the mold.

The molds are placed in the kiln and the flat work inside of them. The fire to slump takes a lower temperature of 1240-degrees. There are intervals that have to move really, really slow and intervals that has to move quickly. There 6 program settings to one fire.

Starlings, Owls, Ducks, Cranes and Hawks

This has been a fun project researching all the native bird species to Colorado and specifically the waterways of the South Platte and Sand Creek near Commerce City. I have been riding my bike along these routes. It’s true bird watching. I have seen an incredible variety of water fowl on these bike rides. The best time is about 2 hours before dusk. It’s a world that coexists next to Denver’s most industrial facilities.
Here are some beautiful images of the flat work coming out of the kiln.

Suspension Frames

Made of 2” square tube, the suspension frames have been assembled. They will be off for powder coating.

Swirl in the Kiln

The first glass birds are being cut from the parent sheet of glass and assembled on the kiln shelf.  These are the first three.



The Beginning 

The art presentations were made and the committee selected my proposal to create a sculpture at the Eagle Pointe Recreation Center. It's going to be wonderful!

Eagle Pointe Recreation Center
Commerce City, Colorado
Swirling Bird Flight Lobby Art

Sculptor: Reven Marie Swanson
March 3, 2018

Fresh, Modern, Simple, Organic, Colorful, Relavant and zipping with ENERGY.

Fresh: Artwork that is unique, one-of-kind to uplift the soul.  A design that interacts with time and space.  Artwork to inspire the pursuit of community connection and well-being.

Modern: An approach to using modern materials built on a tradition of high-quality craftsmanship. A timeless work that speaks to today’s visitors and their contemporary cultural activities.

Simple: Artwork that integrates into the space – decor, architecture, use and traffic flow.  Artwork that flows through the space connecting all the elements (i.e. lighting, soffit panels, running track, entry way, etc.) into a SIMPLE single presentation to welcome visitors.

Organic: Artwork that speaks to the soul, our existence and it’s relationship to the natural world. Artwork to embody the essence of well-being  – a balance of mind and body. Artwork promoting personal care-taking for a better quality of life.

Colorful: Artwork to dance, play and whimsical forms encouraging the pursuit of recreation and leisure.  Artwork that lightens and uplifts the spirit like an enticement to take a long breath and know you are welcomed.

Relavant: Artwork that responds to the new name of “Eagle Pointe”. An observation of how the city is nestled in midst of estuary retreats of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, Barr Lake State Park and the water corridors of the Sand Creek and South Platte.

ENERGY: Artwork to engage a pursuit of well-being.  An interactive space with light and kinetic movement that creates “living” space. It’s about a community with neighbors, families and a collections of interesting individuals.

Concept Description
I propose to create a suspended installation using fused and cast glass birds.  The birds will fly through the lobby entrance in a transition of color lifting the viewer’s eye to enjoy the engagement of light, color and motion. The flock will have inherent visual energy as well as kinetic energy.  I like to call it “eye candy” inspired by sunshine.

The “flock” will swirl around three central “ball” assemblies. A mechanical installation using fans and/or rotary motors spin, creating a gentle sway and swirl. This movement will interact with the changing light and cast colored shadows around the lobby for an ever-changing and fresh experience.

Hand-made glass birds are individually made in the artist’s studio through a kiln-fired process to create sculptural glass forms. The glass is highly durable.  The use of translucence color, texture and iridescent coating transitions into a rainbow of color.

Each bird is fitted with either a cable or fastener that can move freely. The cable hardware will be stainless steel fittings.  The structure of the “balls” will be stainless steel and powder coated.

The suspension framework is made of aluminum bar and powder coated to the same color as the roof structures.  It may be suspended from the roof joist and compliment the specified sound panels.

The installation will include a mechanical means to promote the kinetic movement. The artist intends to contract a theatrical stage professional to assist in the mechanical assembly. It’s intention is to create a most whimsical visual energy.

Maintenance Considerations
All the materials are highly durable. The glass will never fade or change color throughout it’s lifetime.  There will be no degradation from exposure to UV light or any other environment agents. The maintenance will be to dust the sculpture as required.  All materials will be made of the highest quality available.

I would like to include at least two workshops to be conducted at the recreation center. The goal is to reach out to the community and engage their participation with the artwork’s creation.  Through “hand-on” exercises, some of the designs and/or drawings of the participants may become part of the final artwork.  The workshops will enrich the creation of public art with a strong cultural and community connection.

Individualizing the artwork through the use of “hands-on” workshops, strengthens the relationship to the facility to evoke not only personal associations, but lead to site stewardship.  The art is meaningful, relevant and personal to connect the site to the broader community.

Timeline & Installation
The artwork will be ready for installation between October and December as deemed appropriate. Generally, the installations are orchestrated to take less than 3 days to be on-site.

Artist Statement
Since 1989, I have been a successful sculptor creating public art. The experience benefits my understanding to work across multiple media (i.e. stone, metal, cast concrete) and their place in public settings. It demonstrates a history of collaborating with diverse groups. The ‘studio team’ consists of local vendors that maintain high standards. To date, as a professional sculptor, I have never missed a deadline or budget.

On a personal level, I call myself an athlete. Beginning in my early childhood, recreation centers were at the center of my growth both as an athlete and an artist.  At an early age, I enjoyed aerobic dancing, tennis clinics and numerous art classes.  My employment as a ceramic instructor at the Goodson Recreation Center in Littleton launched my career as a professional sculptor. It’s a most exciting opportunity to collaborate with the renovation team at the Eagle Pointe Recreation Center.

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