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Sculpture BV 753. Big Brother to the "NHVB".

Machined Sculpture, CNC art, Purple Anodizing

Hello again everyone. Today's post brings a project I have been tinkering with for a very long time, to fruition.

For those of you new to this space, this work is directly inspired by my NHVB pocket sculpture edition, which is a design collaboration I am making with the fine fellows from Nova labs and Revolvemakers (Otherwise known as Mike and Callye)

While my collaborators have been diligently working to put the final touches on the NHVB project, I have been developing this one of a kind piece in parallel. 

The design takes most of its cues from its smaller counterpart, but it also more directly addresses the original inspiration for this whole project, a small Urn that I made well over a decade ago. 

(the whole story is "Here" if you want to dig deeper)

My intention with previous kinetic editions has been to use the lessons learned developing them as a springboard for more ambitious sculptural works. Works that have, until now, eschewed the utility of the edition it was inspired by in favor of a kind of abstract formalism. 

But in this case, I decided to embrace the vessel idea as a traditional craft form, and put my own modern machinist spin on it. I saw it as an opportunity to experiment within a decorative art context (something I have avoided in the past).

CNC art, Machinist, Sculpture

While still very sculptural, this mechanical object retains its utilitarian trappings in a wonderfully exaggerated and impractical way. In scaling the design for a larger object, I left a lot of the chunky-ness (for lack of a better term) of the original while making many refinements to the mechanics that would better suit its increased size. 

You can see the size comparison (above) with the rather diminutive NHVB prototype.

Machined metal sculpture

As far as vessels go, this work is quite thick. Rather than make side walls and other elements as thin as possible to create maximum interior volume, I intentionally left a lot of extra meat on the design to give it visual (and physical) weight. I wanted to retain certain qualities that engineered objects often have. Some of the qualities I am looking for come from inefficiencies with material removal in favor of manufacturing simplicity. It is not an easy thing to explain, but it has a certain look to it.

In scaling the work, I was also able to take many of the purely decorative elements in the original NHVB and put them to an actual mechanical use in the expanded design. What were merely decorative pins around the outside of the NHVB are now necessary fasteners to hold and locate various elements, such as the stainless inner liner and the feet.

The lid on this work still operates in a similar manner as its smaller companion. But rather than a 1/3 turn iris mechanism as on the NHVB, this work has a finer scroll that requires over two full turns to actuate the locking pins. The scroll mechanism runs on two roller style thrust-bearings which allows it to operate very smoothly. 

It is a very satisfying sensation to open and close this thing, if not a little harrowing to remove and replace such a heavy lid without denting or scratching anything.

The use of the color purple is sort of new as well. There still exists a loose association with the color purple and royalty, and in this particular situation, it felt like an appropriate choice given the extravagant nature of the design. 

Urn, metal art, machinist art

Having decided on purple, I was still unprepared for just how brilliant the purple anodized coating would turn out. Some have already commented how the photos just don't seem real, but I can assure you, this is exactly how it looks when you hit it with studio lights (I promise I did not touch the saturation setting when editing these photos).The color you see is "in camera" as they say. 

The piece sits freely atop its base. The feet nest into divots on six small plastic inserts in the stand. I also made threaded plastic feet to protect any surfaces this rather heavy piece might rest upon. This gave me a rare opportunity to machine some Acetal rod, which is something I rarely get an opportunity do.

Mechanical Vessel

The internal volume of the vessel is just over one pint.  The base is 12" Diameter, while the vessel itself is approximately 7"D x 7" tall.
Cad drawing, CADCAM, Blueprint, art

The technical print includes the NHVB technical details as well (lower right corner), How could I not include it when it is such an integral part of the project.

Netsuke bead, machine art, sculpture

It was loads of fun developing these two projects in parallel, I feel like a vessel series may be in my near future. I still have a bunch of sketches from my original brainstorming session developing various mechanical urns, so there is a good chance I may bring one or two more of these off the drawing board over the next year or so.

While I continue to explore collaborations that expand my conception of my own sculpture work, as well as ideas surrounding craft and fine art, I am also finding a larger community of makers and craftspeople with whom to share a dialogue. It is very exciting to see my work so warmly received in so many different maker and artist communities. It is even more heartening to hear stories about how my work has influenced others to pursue their own art.

So I just want to thank you all for continuing to follow what I do, and for sharing your work  with me. I am doing my very best to keep this adventure interesting for everyone involved.

As always, thoughts and questions are welcome.