Sunday, May 24, 2020

"Juncture 1" - A Found Object Rolling Ball Sculpture - 2019

"Juncture 1" came from an idea I've had for years - long before I even considered making a rolling ball sculpture, (RBS). I've always loved this kind of kinetic sculpture, but never really thought I would make one. After all, I do figurative artwork, right? 
So I had imagined one that would be interesting if...... instead of metal rails to ride on, the balls would cascade down an assemblage of found objects. Metal buckets, wooden boxes, antique household items, odds and ends, would "guide" the BBs from top to bottom. How interesting I thought - and filled it away in the back of my brain.

In June of 2019, having a break in between commissions, I made the decision to finally realize this idea. I started by pulling together items I thought would be interesting visually - and would make sense in a RBS of this kind. Below is what resulted in this exploration.....


I named the piece "Juncture 1", in hopes that I will someday make a "Juncture 2", "3", "4", etc., etc. Also I like that the title sounds like 'junk'. It measures 34" x 48" x 10", hangs on the wall - and is sold.


Close up of Module 1, (top right). (I called the boxes 'Modules' because it sounded cooler than boxes.) I think this piece was some sort of drawer that was already divided up like this. I use the dividers as 'tracks' for the balls, and added the big swoop in the middle. There's lots of action in this Module - as I tried to max out the action in each one. 


Module 2, (middle left). This is an old handmade toolbox - I removed the lid but left the hinges. The grate really has a tendency to slow the BBs down, which makes watching them ping-pong around more interesting. After cascading down the grate, the BBs fall on the round donut-shaped piece and do a U-turn. The gently curved brass piece guides them into the brass funnel. I really like that the BBs are free to find their own path here.

Module 3, (lower right). The balls shoot out at the upper left of this box, powered by a hidden chute that speeds them up, (see below). They circle the round part and finally drop through a hole on the right side. As they drop, they hit a spiral chime, which came out of an old clock. Then they fall into the red track and exit via the copper rails.

Onto Module 4, (lower left). The BBs enter on the the upper left and get dropped onto the circular ramp - heading up at first, and then back down because of gravity. They exit on the lower right and go back into the central column. 

A view of Module 1 from below.

Module 1 - detail shot.

The 'ramp' and rails of Module 3. I really wanted to make the Modules without obvious 'rails', or barriers. On this one, I use upholstery nails to keep the BBs from falling out the front.


More details....

I added small dimensional found figures/elements to the boxes - to add a bit more interest to them - ala Joseph Cornell. Various vintage paper ephemera was also added to the inside of each Module.

A small memento of Perseus. I've had this for years, just waiting for the perfect spot.

George Washington looks on in Module 1.


The process......

Here is the "sketch" for this piece. I laid out the various pieces on the floor - and rearranged them until I got a look that I liked. The central column is to house the chain lift for the BBs, and was made from a piece of found driftwood from the Ohio River.

Another sketch I thought had some merit. A few of these elements ended up in the final piece. 

Figuring out the position of the first Module - eventually glued and screwed on.
Of course I had to work from top to bottom - which is pretty standard with any gravity-related piece.

Module 1 - in-progress.

The track that runs from Module 3 to 4. This is 1/4" flexible copper tubing, which is very easy to work with. It bends easily, stays put where you bend it, solders well, and looks great aged down to a nice dark brown. The various round pieces here helped me bend the curved sections.

The central column, before adding on all the Modules. As you can see, the back is removable. 

Glueing (and screwing) on Module 3. Note the aluminum 'chute', that goes from the wooden track (removed here) below Module 2 into Module 3. I wanted a change of speed, and wanted it to happen where you don't see how it's happening. The chute actually goes in between the chain.

Here is the wooden part holding the aluminum tube. I had to make this removable, in case the chain lift ever had to be taken out. The sheetmetal protects the wooden part from possible chain wear. 

The bottom of the chain lift. The BBs come in from the right, and are scooped up one at a time. Again, everything has to be made to be disassembled, if needed.


The video...... 



Thanks for looking!

tom

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