Hello everyone. I have been in a reflective mood lately, so today's post is about a design both old and new.
This time, my instinct to revisit past projects has taken me to my Kinetic Detent Slider series. Like its predecessors, the mechanism for this work is intentionally trivial and features a simple piston mechanic that locks in place using a spring ball detent.
The appeal of this project is that it is one of those elegantly simple designs that allows me to marry mechanical functionality, with something so visually unique I have been unable to replicate it since. It is a craft form with a timeless feel that is ripe for endless iteration.
I am calling this sculpture the “KDS1-VW”
For those of you familiar with my older works, maybe some of you are wondering why I have come back to this design after a 7 year break? The short answer is that if you give an artist the opportunity to engage in nostalgia, they will almost always take it.
Without giving too much away, I have recently had a unique opportunity to write at length about my journey through the rewarding craft of Machining. This has helped me reflect on the many ways machine work, both digital and manual, is (finally) seeping further into the cracks of creative society.
In doing so, I just couldn't help revisiting a design that holds a very special place in my practice. When I take a look at my own journey, there are a small number of works that stand above the rest as touchstones that mark a change in my relationship to my medium.
My original Slider sculpture, which at first I just called a “pocket sculpture” before taking on its official nickname, is one of them. I'd be willing to bet there are quite a few people reading this blog today who are here primarily because of the popularity of the S1 sculpture.
It is this work that really helped me understand that if I was going to define my work in terms of developing machining as a studio craft, I would need to create projects that bridged the world of fine art with some of the other decorative craft trends I was seeing pop up among machinists.
So however old this original idea, I am glad came back to this work. Because aside from bringing me a lot of personal joy, there was also plenty of room for improvement in both process, engineering, and design.
In the video above, I do my best to detail many of the design changes that I was able to incorporate.
Materials I have experimented with so far are as follows. Left to right above is red stabilized BoxElder, two tone Amboyna Burl with sapwood, and blue stabilized Boxelder.
Left to right here is Chechen, Amboyna Burl, and Ironwood. Ironwood comes in a lot of flavors, from high contrast burls in bright orange, to more uniform browns. I use it because of this variety and it machines extremely well.
So thats it, this work is special to me because it set me on a path to realizing that machining is a profession that exists simultaneously as an industry, a craft, and science with a built in means to apply it. It is a process that uniquely blurs the line between fine art, craft, and design in way that I could use to tell a story about the idea of craft itself.
I feel lucky to be afforded the opportunity to make beautiful objects that pull influence from the many spheres of knowledge it touches.
In resurrecting this design, I hope to create a further opportunity to talk about traditional craft forms within the field of machining. That is forms that "ALL" machinists can make to learn the fundamentals of the craft. but more on that in a later post.
Notes for collectors: I think it would be a crime not offer this work up as an edition so I have already started gearing up. Development continues on a few aspects of the work; namely a display stand and fine tuning my process for safely processing the wood elements. But nothing that will substantially alter the work itself.
For those interested in adding this sculpture to your collections, the sign up will go live on Thursday March 16th at 11AM EST.
As always, a link will go out via newsletter, as well appear on my Blog and Instagram profile. Pricing and other details of the sale will be available on the sign up form.
Notes on wood selection for the inlays: I will try to have all relevant information pertaining to material selection on the sign up, but I do want to make a brief comment now on the fact that these works employ the use of exotic and stabilized hardwoods.
These hardwoods are not always easy to source and so while I will do my very best to get my hands on everything I need to get you the work you desire, some supplies will be limited. If one particular selection proves popular, I may have difficulty sourcing enough material. So I would caution those who feel strongly about what they want, to sign up as early as possible, and everyone else to maybe think about a backup choice if that becomes necessary.
Another note is that the process I have set up for shaping these rather tricky inlays is only suitable for a certain range of materials, so while I am open to suggestions, there is a limit to what will work. Crumbly or fractious woods simply won't survive the process, and exotic metals and other materials are unsuitable for the work-holding and turning process I have built. Above is a sampling of some of the woods I am going to offer. These are the materials that I feel work best with this process. I hope that is useful information.
OK, with all the tricky details out of the way, I just want to say that these new pieces are absolutely stunning and I can't wait to make some more of them. More soon, and as always, comments and questions are welcome.