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New work, news and Images from the shop. If you would like to know more about my art, please visit my full website @ www.chrisbathgate.com


Sculpture 101, MV 714425525321621

CNC art, Machine Art, Machined Metal Sculpture, Metal Art

Most of the smaller works I have been making lately have come in the form of small editions, or at the very least pairs, but this newest small work is a bonafide one of a kind.

Machine Art, Machined Metal Sculpture, Metal Art

 Before I began my next big project, I felt like I needed to indulge in something more modest in size. And because I think it is important to invite a little serendipity into your work every once in a while, (even for a process as highly regulated as mine) I thought maybe it was time to make something relatively more spontaneous than usual.

 For some time now, I have been staring at this pile of 3/8"x 1" brass bars I got from my metal supplier. Apparently, whoever cut these decided that it would be perfectly acceptable to cut them using a metal sheer instead of a saw. The result was that the ends of each bar were deformed (or rather mangled) by the sheering process. 

Needless to say, my supplier could not sell them this way, so I got them for a bargain. Not wanting to let them go to waste, I decided now was as good a time as any to figure out what to make with them, so with that in mind, I set about some quick sketching with the rule that these bars should be the centerpiece of my design.

Machine Art, Machined Metal Sculpture, Metal Art

As you can see, the results worked out pretty well. there are a few things I might do differently if I had to make it again (mostly technical, not visual) So it was a good experiment.

Machine Art, Machined Metal Sculpture

A rear shot. The whole thing fits more or less into a 3" Diameter sphere. 



100 Sculptures and counting (DQ 325..)

Sculpture Machining Process gif

Todays blog post is a very special one for me, (and not because I am 25 years late in learning how to create gif animations) It is special because after 12 years toiling away in the shop, I get to show off my 100th machined metal sculpture. Everyone likes big round numbers, so today I am inclined to celebrate (if only a little)

I have made other types of sculptures before this 100th piece of course (see the secret archive here), but this body of work has become much more than I had anticipated, fueling over a decades worth of ideas and leading to things I could not have conceived of when I began. Along the way, it has also managed to tap into many contemporary trends in the arts and maker culture alike.

Had I known what I was getting into back in 2003 when I sold my motorcycle to raise the funds to buy my first milling machine, I might not have been so hesitant to trade in my wheels for my art, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made (right next to dropping out of art school and marrying my wife).

With that first piece of machinery, I started drilling and cutting metal for what would be my very first machined sculpture. I fell in love with the process shortly there after and have been building on those early experiments ever since. So todays new work is a bit of a mile stone for me, one that represents the culmination of over 16,000 hours* of shop, time turning metal into equal parts art and swarf.
(I keep pretty detailed records it seems).

*16000 hour estimate is shop time only, it excludes; sketching and rendering, research, machine building projects, maintenance, going to the hardware store, thinking while staring into space, tea drinking, pretending to listen to what your friends are saying at a bar or party while turning geometry over in your head attempting to figure out how on earth you are going to build the thing you just came up with on the ride to said bar or party, and finally... sleep sculpting.

CNC Art, Machine Art, Machined Metal Sculpture, Metal Art

Anyhow, here it is, number 100, and I couldn't have hoped for a better piece to mark the occasion. This design is a direct descendant of a piece I made last year, sculpture DK 522. That earlier work contained within it a disk shaped component that I was rather taken with as a stand alone object. A few other people commented on it as well, expressing that it would have made a nice sculpture all by itself. I took that to mean there was still more there to be explored and set about rethinking that particular component of the piece. 

Machine Art, Machined Metal Sculpture, Metal Art (DQ2)

Naturally that idea has evolved rather dramatically since that time. The first thing I did was to take the original disk shape and bend it inward into more of a cupped form, I kept the original spines that stuck out of it, but most everything else changed from there. As with all of my works, it took on a life of its own once lateral thinking kicked in.

CNC machining, Sculpture Process gif

Some shop footage of the disk shape being turned. I wanted this piece to be absolutely perfect, so I actually ended up making these disks twice. The first set came out technically ok, but I had accidentally cut them using an older version of the profile drawing I had created( a clerical error it seems), a problem created by working from multiple drafts. The result was that they were a bit thinner than I wanted the final shape to be, so I decided to remake them using the proper drawing. I am not yet sure what, if anything, I will do with the spare set.

CNC art, Abstract Machined metal Sculpture image (DQ3)

Final Dimensions on this work are 17"x8"x7"

Blue Print, art schematic, technical Drawing, sculpture Print

The blue prints for this one turned out wonderful as well, the web really does not do it much justice. Printed to scale, it will be 48" wide by 24" tall so much of the detail is lost. I am really looking forward to getting a full size version of this thing on the wall sometime very soon. 

CNC,Machined Sculpture, Abstract Machined metal Sculpture image (DQ4)