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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


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Hello everyone, I am back once again, this time with a diptych to show all of you. 

For this work, I felt I should finally spend some more of the creative capital I was building up with the small kinetic editions I have been doing over the last year or so. 
(has it really been years already?)

So this project pulls quite a bit of inspiration from my kinetic experiments in order to make a decidedly non kinetic, stand-alone, pair of sculptures. Some of the input for these works might be obvious to those who have been following along, however many elements from this work are also drawn from a collaboration project that is still in development, and so wont be revealed until a little later.

So there is still an air of mystery to this work as well.   

Because so much of the seed material for this work comes from a project that is still under wraps, I am going to refrain from talking about this piece too much and instead let the images do more of the work this time around. I am sure you wont mind a little less babble for once, and when I get the companion work out, I can fill in some more of the blanks then.

I certainly didn't want to wait any longer to release these images so please enjoy.

Just kidding, process wise there is still a good bit to comment on so how can I refrain. 

The color work on these was incredibly complicated. Achieving the two tone color pallet on each of these works was done using a powder coat masking process I have used only a few times before. Mostly because of the high difficulty associated with it.

Essentially the first color is applied as a powder coat resin, and then the parts are all re-machined to expose bare aluminum where the second color is desired. Then the parts are carefully (very carefully...) anodized so that only the exposed areas can be colored with the second color. 

Getting this process correct without damaging the powder coating took weeks of experimentation. So while the works are modest in size (7.5"x8"x6") they required an amount of time to produce comparable with some much larger and complicated works. 

 So ok, still a short and sweet post this time, but as usual, comments and questions are always welcome.

Meet and greet opportunity!

If You live in the North Carolina Area, I will be hangin out at the Okuma winter showcase as a special guest. I will be giving a few talks and hanging out with some of my sculpture work amongst the displays of machine tools that are far far beyond my budget as an artist, but inspiring none the less. 

Should be a lot of fun so stop by. A more official announcement will be coming shortly. 


It Slides, But Is It A Slider? The MG-1

(Update!) I added a copper one to the mix.

OK OK, lets jump right to it with this new pocket sized kinetic sculpture work.

 I know I said in my previous post that we were at the end of the "Slider" series (and we are... I mean... it was) but bare with me because while this new work runs the slight risk of making me look like a liar, I am going to argue my case as to why this work is a bit different.

So let me first admit that this new kinetic work does have a sliding action reminiscent of some of my other small sculptures, but this piece is actually quite different mechanically speaking. In terms of the engineering, it is much more of a tangent to my earlier works than first meets the eye.

Aside from the motion, mostly everything else about this piece is different from what is indicative of one of my other slider sculptures. 

For starters, in place of the mechanical spring loaded "detent" that is the hallmark of my earlier sliders, this work uses magnets to create a positional locking action. Also, rather than having an insert that slides within a bore on the body like a Slider, this work only has two identical halves that glide smoothly on a series of ball bearings in tracks that serve as guides for the direction and limits of the motion.

As far as the sliding action goes, think of the difference between an old wooden drawer that runs on wooden rails verses a modern drawer slide that has ball bearings to guide the drawer. From a mechanical perspective, it could not be more different. So yes, it still slides, but in the name of differentiation, lets go with the term "glide".

 I am calling this work the MG-1, I am sure you can parse that out if you think about.

The magnets in the work keep the steel ball bearings in place, eliminating the need for a keep or cage.

Since I began working on these smaller editions, I have been bouncing between the challenge of making simpler pieces (like the original worry-stone) and indulging in much more complex designs (like the S3). Within that dynamic, I have often wondered if I could make a kinetic work that only involved machining one part (I do not count all the purchased bits like springs bearings and magnets).

It was a tougher problem than I thought, but after lots of experimenting I finally arrived at this design. There are clearly two halves to the composition, but the halves are perfectly identical, so process wise, we are only talking about machining one distinct part.

Aesthetically, I think there are some familiar themes from my other pocket works, but there is also plenty here to distinguish it from my ever growing body of small kinetic works. The challenge of crafting something simple yet unique is really something that appeals to me lately.

I made so many iterations of this work that I could probably make half a dozen different versions of this design. I will try to resist the urge to create a whole family of these, but they are fun.  

Functionally, the work has two types of motion. It can be actuated between your fingers sort of like rubbing two coins together. The magnets provide an interesting haptic feedback as they jump from position to position. It is a difficult sensation to describe, but very satisfying. 

Additionally, I left enough extra motion in the bearing track to allow one to extend the work past its magnetic stopping point, so that if you release it quickly, it will have enough kinetic energy to spring back to its center position. This is also quite satisfying.

So yeah, I hadn't planned to do another small work so soon, but lightning strikes when it does and I am committed to following my muse where ever it takes me. One never knows where this small kinetic sculpture journey will take me next.

 I remain humbled how popular this series has become and I am pleased to hear the range of reasons these works resonate with people. Some are really into the fidget factor of these works, others the aesthetics, I personally like that the former leads to the latter in interesting ways that I cannot predict.  

Hopefully it makes some of you stop and consider just how blurry the lines between fine art, craft, and commercial design really are. 

So, down to brass tacks and "How do I get one of these?"

For those of you interested in adding this work to your collection, I will do the usual pre-order style sign up sale this coming Wednesday September 5th at 11AM EST

You will have to wait for the sign up link to go live to learn the exact price as I do not post pricing on publicly facing media. This work will be on the more affordable end of the scale (relatively speaking). But as with all of my small batch one time only limited runs, the development of the work still required tons of design time, some goofy custom setups, and multiple operations to machine, so the price will be what it will be. I know most of you understand the work that goes into each of these designs.

  Once all the sign ups are in, I will give everyone my best guess on shipping once I have the production schedule sorted. I will be double tracking this work alongside another project so this may go a little slower than usual, but only slightly.

Again, I will post the link for this sign up sale on Wednesday September 5th at 11AM EST. 

I will post it here on this blog, and on my Instagram account.

I will leave the sign up list open for as long as I can, but I will shut it down as soon as I feel I have too many orders to handle. This sometimes happens quite fast. 

This will very likely be your only opportunity to get one of these, so I encourage you not to miss out if you are inclined to add one to your collection.

Good luck, and as always, comments and questions are welcome. 

Also, for extra credit, above is a video walk through with a complete tear down to show everything in more detail. 


S3, Bringing a thought experiment to a close (maybe?)

Announcing the S3, my latest pint sized sculptural object. It is a piece that brings a curious chapter in my art practice to a very satisfying conclusion.

One of the purposes of my kinetic art project has been to discover forms I might otherwise never arrive at, by pursuing mechanical functionality within the framework of my normal sculpture practice. From that standpoint this is certainly a successful sculpture as it performs beautifully, both mechanically and visually.

As you can see in the video above, this work is a double acting slider that operates in a similar manner to the S2. From there the differences are many. 

Most notably, this work is an "offset turned" design using three indexes or axis of rotation. It also has three distinct detent slots, hence the "S3" designation.

With this work, I was also finally able to come up with an inconspicuous assembly mechanism that securely keeps the detents in their respective slots without overextending or twisting off track.

Previous works either had bulky keeper mechanisms with visible hardware or required extra care to operate without accidentally ejecting the insert.

 Most earlier designs required me to sacrifice aesthetics in some small way to accommodate the mechanics. This new assembly freed me up to really add some great details and open up the internals to better appreciate the geometry I was working to create.

The only down side, if you can call it that, of this new assembly is that it requires a special tool to disassemble the work, should the need arise. This means that once the work is put together, it will likely stay that way once it leaves my possession. 

I know some of you enjoy taking your sculptures apart to appreciate the engineering that goes into them (I know I do). Disassembly will be a little more difficult now for the small group of you who like to tinker with your art pieces. However it is not impossible. I am happy to share how it all works and I will post a video sometime soon explaining everything going on inside the work. 

 For the rest of you, it hopefully means no more lost bearings and springs, either from intentional or unintentional disassembly.

The S3 is larger than previous sliders as well, which makes it a striking desktop piece. I had to scale the work larger to create the necessary room to fit all the mechanics without compromising on the design.  It has quite a bit of heft to it as well, owing to its all stainless and brass construction. So while I am still calling this a pocket sculpture, it may require some large-ish pockets to carry it around (no skinny jean carries on this one).

Dimension on this work are 4.05"x 1.8"x1.8 while closed, and 5.25" long when open. So a very substantial piece as far as pocket art goes. 

Similar to my last small edition ("The W3") this is a work that attempts to bring more of the focus to the sculptural aspects of the project. Allowing the work to grow in size and complexity, and letting the ergonomics slip in importance just a little, allowed me to do much more visually with the object.

 If you visit the link, you might notice that the W3 was actually an early experiment to test the workability of a triple offset turned composition, I never intended for the W3 to become its own work, but it happily turned out that way.

S3 inserts shown outside of the assembly to illustrate detail.

Also, as you can see in the image above, the inserts for this piece have a lot more detail as well. I even went so far as to use the powder coat coloring that I have previously reserved for one of a kind and special release pieces. While the powder coloring requires a fair amount of extra time and hand work, it looks amazing so I decided to go for it.

 I will be offering the five colors you see above when the pre-order opens.

 Lastly, there are two pairs of little brass details, one set on the insert ends, and one set inside the bore of the outer assembly. These bits only reveal themselves when the work is in the open position.

So like I mentioned in the title, this is very likely the piece that brings my Slider experiment to a close.  While it has definitely become one of the more interesting and popular tangents in my work, I feel like the idea has (maybe) run its course.  I am equivocating because I never say never. But I think it's best to end on a high note rather than run an idea into the ground simply because it is popular. So I do consider this my grand finale.

The good news is that this will free up some bandwidth and allow new and equally interesting small art projects to bubble up from the background and take shape. Either way, I promise to keep things interesting. 

So, down to brass tacks and "How do I get one of these?"

For those of you interested in adding this work to your collection, I will do the usual pre-order style sign up sale this coming Wednesday, May 16th at 11AM EST

The S3 is one of the more ambitious editions I have attempted to date, many of the machine operations are untraditional to say the least, and so it is quite a time consuming and complex operation to build one of these.  Because of this, the S3 is going to be a bit on the pricey side as far as small works go, but I wanted to make the work without compromise. 

 The fulfillment timeframe is also going to be longer than usual due to the long build time.  

You will have to wait for the sign up link to go live to learn the exact price as I do not post pricing on publicly facing media (think NHVB territory for those familiar).  Also, I will give everyone my best guess on shipping once I know how many sign ups I have received.  I anticipate this to be a solid 3 month process with the works shipping in batches in the order of sign up.

Again, I will post the link for this sign up sale on Wednesday May 16th at 11AM EST. 
I will post it here on this blog, and on my Instagram account.

I will leave the sign up list open for as long as I can, at least 24 hours so long as things don't go crazy, but I reserve the right to shut it down as soon as I feel I have too many orders to handle.  

This will very likely be your only opportunity to get one of these very limited works, so I encourage you not to miss out if you are inclined to add one to your collection. I say this not because I want your money, but because I have enough experience now to know that the secondary market has not been kind to those who decide too late that they must have one my small works.

So check this space on Wednesday for the sign up link, and I will have the rest of the details available then. 

Good luck, and as always, comments and questions are welcome. 


Winter project complete! Sculpture BU 622411311751

Machinist, fine art, sculpture, CNC, contemporary art

Hello everyone.
 After toiling away for seemingly ages on what was to be my "winter project" I have finally come up for air to find that it is actually, finally, spring! Where has the time gone? Regardless, now that the project has finally concluded, I am pleased to share my newest creation with all of you. 

Machined, Metal sculpture, Abstract metal sculpture, Digital fabrication

The design for this work touches on a lot of themes I have visited over the years. It is a retrospective sculpture in a lot of ways as it is chock full of technically challenging elements from nearly every period in my artistic development.

Engineering, fine art, Digital Fabrication, Subtractive manufacturing,

 I have talked a lot about the offset turning methods I have been using lately and there are plenty of examples of that process in this composition. However if you look closely, you should be able to link many additional elements from this piece to dozens of works from the span of my 15 year exploration of machine work. 

CNC fine art, CNC design, Digital Fabrication, Metal Art, Metal Sculpture

There is a bit more of a creature feeling to this sculpture as well, something I commonly eschew because my primary focus is not to create illusion in my work, but to explore a medium wherever it may lead. For this piece, a certain amount of biomorphism was allowed to happen as it arose quite organically out of the complexity of the design. 

Abstract, Machined, metal, Sculpture

After all, life arises from the combined complexity of simpler processes, so why shouldn't life like characteristics emerge from geometric machine processes and sculpture.  It was a bottom up quality rather than top down one, so it made sense to me to push forward with it in a mindful way.

Scifi, Engineering, contemporary art, science fiction art, design art

I welcome the comparisons this biological quality will draw. I think there are some obvious ones, but I am always surprised at some of the connections people make so I look forward to hearing them. 

Industrial art, Interior design art, metal sculpture

At over three feet across and well over one hundred pounds, this is quite a substantial piece. It is designed to be either wall mounted or pedestal mounted. While the baseplates are designed for it, I have yet to fully work out the best way to safely support and position this thing to mount it on the wall. A custom brace, or perhaps a large panel, is in order for a site specific instal (I have some ideas to test). 

Engineering, schematic, blueprint, technical drawing, drawing, cad, CADCAM, autocad

On the drawing front, I took some new creative liberties with the technical print as well. Many of you know I originally started making my drawings as genuine blueprints on an old blueprint machine I had restored. From there I transitioned to a less constrained way of making drawings using modern digital drafting tools to make images that took on a greyscale style. I found there were interesting elements in both ways of producing technical drawings.

 I have also seen others attempt to make faux blueprints, using digital drawing techniques to make images that look like traditional blueprints. And while I can appreciated the homage in this kind of reproduction, I think there is a missed opportunity to build on a traditional style. 

So this is sort of my reaction to all that, a mash up of the two ways I have produced technical drawings. I am calling it "Black and Blueprint". 

There are a lot of great details in this work, but all of the compositional movement eventually brings your eye to, and then through, the center. 

The exact dimensions on this work are 37"x26"x14"

A context shot to try and illustrate the scale. Currently this work is a very imposing guest in my small office gallery.

On the Process front: There is just way too much to cover, so I think it is a good time to recommend to those of you who are most interested in the process aspect of my work, to start following my instagram account if you aren't already. 

My handle is c_bathgate 

As the complexity of these projects grow, I am starting to feel that I can't do justice to all of the interesting details in the build in such a short blog post. But luckily, my Instagram account has grown into a highly detailed technical account of my practice. There, a large portion of my audience is other machinists, and so I feel more comfortable talking to everyone in a tone and manner that is much more technical. There I can be more candid about process issues, ideas, and just generally go a little deeper without feeling like I am alienating anyone. So check it out if you are inclined.

And, as always, comments and questions are welcome. 


An Unexpected Edition, the W3

For those of you who follow this blog regularly, I know in my last post I said I would be settling in for the winter to work on a large sculpture project. And I promise that I have started it, but something rather unexpected has come up. A compelling little sculpture I have designated "W3"

Over the last three or four months, this little bug of a sculpture has been forming in my head. Given its small size, and relative simplicity (which is deceptive actually), I just couldn't resist taking a few days to try and make a few. 

This was supposed to be a quick sketch, just to get the idea out of my head and proof a concept, maybe for a later work. But what a great little piece it turned out to be. So as with many things that take on a life of their own, I now I find myself readjusting my schedule slightly to make a small edition of these beauties.

Rather than one large sculpture this winter, it now looks like I may be doing two things at once for a little while. 

Part of the reason I could not resist this experiment is that I have been wanting to investigate further a type of offset turning I use with some frequency. Offset turning, as a process, basically entails turning a profile in a lathe where the workpiece is revolving eccentric rather than concentric to the center line of the machine.

Doing this allows one to cut arc segments into the surface of your material rather than full circular profiles (I apologize if this is hard to follow for some). Indexing the work between cycles and repeating this process can yield some very interesting geometry. 

The wood turning community has a long history of using this kind of process Click this link to see a video about wood sculptor Mark Sfiri on multi axis turning (which is another way of describing what I am talking about). I have had the pleasure of sharing quite a few conversations with Mark about his work and visited his studio a few years ago. You would all do well to get to know his art if you are unfamiliar. (Hi Mark!)

This type of metal turning is something I have used off and on over the years. In past works, I have used only two index locations (or axis) with various profiles. This time I wanted to try using three different index locations to see what new opportunities for interesting geometry this would create. 

Since I was expanding on an existing concept, I thought I’d keep the design inspiration in the same family as some of my other small offset turned works so that the similarities and differences would be apparent.

While this sculpture may share visual similarities to some of my past "Slider" works, this piece is not intended to be a kinetic object, it does not move at all, and I will explain why. 

The purpose of the kinetic pieces I have been making has been to bridge my sculpture practice with some of the utilitarian trends I have been observing in the machinist community. So while those editions have been successful (and very popular) the plan for those projects has always been to bring that exploration back to what I feel is fundamental about machining as a sculpture medium. 

With this work, I want to take what I have been doing lately with Ratchets and Sliders, and return to something purely sculptural and non-functional. I like designing kinetic works and I plan to keep following that thread in the future, but I want to be clear that my heart is primarily with pure, unadulterated, sculpture. 

So I know full well that this work "could be" a lot of things, a clicker, a pen, a flashlight, but that is rather the point, it alludes to potential uses, while just being sculpture. The simplicity of this is what works for me. While the novelty of mechanics is a lot of fun, I want people to appreciate this form for its own sake. So no mechanics this time, I am insisting the work remain a non-functional sculpture, albeit one that conveniently fits in your pocket.

I realize there is an opportunity for confusion so I hope you will all appreciate what I am going for here.

That being said, given this works petite size (just 2" long), I could not resist the urge to play around with a magnetic stand to display the work. My impulse control is not great these days it seems.

To achieve this, I had to use a different alloy of stainless steel. The 303 stainless I typically use is non magnetic, so I had to switch to 410, an alloy which retains magnetic properties. This metal swap lets the little pills in the center of each of these works delicately dangle from the magnet in the prototype stand you see in the video above.  

So here is the part where people might get just a little annoyed with me.

While I think the stand is interesting, it is something I consider extraneous to the artwork. So although I do plan to make a small edition of the W3, I have neither the time, nor the resources to properly make the stands in any quantity for those of you who might want one. 

The two stands you see above were printed on my home-made 3D printer. They take an excruciatingly long time to print and are not exactly the quality I am comfortable sending out into the world. Machining them would make them prohibitively expensive compared to the work itself, so I am left with a bit of a dilemma.

I feel the best way forward, since I know there may be some interest in displaying the work this way,  is to make the solid files for the stand publicly available. I have uploaded the STL model for the stand to the Thingiverse website where you can download it for free. From there you can print one yourself in any material available to you. If you would like to modify the file further and make the design your own, I say go nuts.

If you lack access to a 3D printer, there are also links to 3rd party printers right on the Thingiverse website. There you can order a print from someone better equipped to do so. 

The only other thing that you will require to complete the stand is a 8mmx3mm Neodymium magnet. They are cheap enough that I can probably source them in advance for those who are interested and include one when I ship the work.

So now to the business of how does one go about getting one of these? For those of you interested in adding one of these little works to your collection, I am going to make a small run of the "W3". I will do the usual pre-order style sign up sale. 

The only caveat is that the build time and shipping schedule for this project may take slightly longer than usual, as I will be making these in parallel with my current long term project. I have the equipment capacity in my shop to make two projects at once, the only limiting factor is the human (me!) that runs that equipment. I will give everyone my best guess on shipping once I know how many sign ups I have received. 

So, that all said, I will post the link for this sign up sale on Wednesday January 31st at 11AM EST. I will post it here on this blog, as well as on my Instagram account.

The W3 is going to be one of the more affordable offerings I do this year as they are relatively small, but as always, you will have to wait for the sign up link to go live to learn the exact $$$ as I do not post pricing on publicly facing media. 

I will leave the sign up open for as long as I can, but I will shut it down as soon as I feel I have too many orders to handle. 

Fair warning, this could be just a few minutes, it will likely be a few hours, it WILL NOT be days. 

It is hard to judge these things in advance. Either way, this will very likely be your only opportunity to get one.

So check this space on Wednesday for the sign up link, and I will have the rest of the details sorted out and included on the order page. 

As always, comments and questions are welcome.