My wife Sharon entered an exhibition where the challenge was to make one of her signature pieces either much smaller or much larger than usual. She makes Bakelite "Kiss" jewelry (click here to see a photo) that usually measures a little over 1" across. I suggested she make a large version of the "kiss" and she decided to take the suggestion.
She had been admiring the topographic layers I've been experimenting with, so instead of using a large version of the contoured Bakelite she uses in her jewelry, she enlisted my help in using layers of steel. I had the artwork on my computer, so I scaled up the lips to 10" across, made eleven horizontal layers, and had the individual pieces laser cut. We used a rusty patina and sealed each of the layers, then assembled them with washers between each piece to separate the layers. The finished product makes a great relief sculpture, which she titled "Steel (a) Kiss."
By the way, the lips are hers -- she applied some lipstick and kissed a piece of paper. I scanned the image into Rhino and used it to puff the lips out. We then scaled them down for use as jewelry. If you want your lips immortalized (small or large), we can do it.
We shared the creation of the first few of these layered objects, but I am now the sole maker. Sharon has returned to making jewelry.
Brass Medallion for the President of A-B Tech Community College
Using an old medallion as a starting point, I created a new design in Rhino. The three inch diameter high relief (0.35 inch deep) medallion has the college name engraved around the sloping periphery. The center of the medallion is a scalloped surface with the mountains visible from the campus engraved on the top half. The college's slogan is engraved on the bottom half, between the raised "A" logo of the college.
After making a wax proof for approval, I cut the final medallion from brass stock. My wife who is a jeweler, textured the mountains and applied the patina.
3D Topographic Map of the A-B Tech Campus
I have a lifelong fascination with 3D topographic maps, so it was only natural that I'd want to actually make one. While a student at A-B Tech, I approached Pete Kennedy, a GIS instructor, about creating a map of the campus. Pete readily agreed, and provided me the contour data for the campus.Then we decided to add the buildings and later the parking lots and roads. So far, we've produced a map that measures 15 x 18" with a scale of 1"=200' -- a section of that is pictured to the right. After that we'd love to make a topo map of downtown Asheville complete with models of its beautiful buildings.
Fibonacci Spiral 9
I needed a new number for my mailbox after the old stick-on number faded away. Rather than keep buying decals every few years, I decided to design and carve a number 9 out of aluminum. The starting point was the Fibbonacci spiral that works nicely as the number 9. After experimenting with various profiles, I settled on a semi-circle, with the ends cut at an angle. The back side is drilled and tapped so that the number can be mounted on the mailbox with no screw heads showing. The number measures approximately 5" x 3.5" x 0.5".
I ran experiments carving different types of wood. Basswood and maple are fine, but I love to carve cherry. Not only does it carve exceptionally well, but the beautiful grain and color make it very satisfying to use. I've tried a variety of designs, from a Kanji symbol on the right to what my brother-in-law Steve calls my Fred Flintstone calling card. The "card" was a challenging project -- with an overall size of 2 x 3" and constant height letters and numbers on a complex scalloped surface. The dot of the "i" measures about 1 mm (.04") square and is about 1.25 mm tall.
I've done a variety of projects in the last few years. Here's a sampling:
A neighbor needed a custom fitting to add a seriously loud air horn to his scooter. I carved the 1.7" long part from acetal (a hard plastic). Now, if anybody gets in William's way, they hear about it.