Sunday, June 13, 2010

Poetical Modesty, In Progress - Stage 2.

Welcome back. In the last post, I created my first digital work on glass, then began the process of developing a stage-like machine in which to view it.

The mechanism of the piece is very important, as I want to see the motion of several wheels as the glass is raised and lowered. And for the first time, I am going to be making all the machine parts by hand, rather than using found objects. Combined with the found elements - the box itself and the candelabra base, I hope to make it a genuine parlor device.

A pulley system is what I need, so using my quick sketch as a guide, I make a careful rendering in Photoshop of the pulley wheels, referencing the crank I'd made earlier so they'd all work visually together.

The image of the pulleys is glued to my brass sheet, as with the crank, and I ready to drill and pierce the negative spaces out.

My trusty Dumore begins the work of drilling. I want a car with this wrinkle-paint finish.

Looks like I'll have my work cut out for me. I wish, actually.

Cutting out and shaping the mahogany discs that the brass wheels will embellish.

Creating an inlay area.

Dyed New Zealand paua shell is then sandwiched between the brass and wood. Here, the first of the four pulleys coming together and viewed on the drawing for the backing plate.

And the backing plates being prepped to cut out.

The tiny chain that I envisioned using as a drive belt would need some guides to be fed through so it wouldn't rub on anything. Here I'm bending some brass tubing for the job.

These little shapes will mount at the top of the structure for the chain to suspend the glass from.

One of the large pulleys about to get riveted together..

Brass wire getting decorated as one of the support rods.

The little brass guides are soldered in place at the top.

After all this prep it's a rush to sit the elements together so as to see the general structure taking form.

Setting it up as I pictured it in my drawing, the pulleys seem awkward in this position. This is why my sketches, when I do make them, are really rough and it's assumed they act merely as a launching pad, rather than a technical blueprint. I move the pulleys down the sides until the whole composition has the right balance. What a thrill to be working on something so large after my long absence from making larger work!

Looks like it will work well, but there are a lot of unknowns ahead. Setting it all aside for now, I set about assembling the two side pulley structures.

Curling the ends around to straddle the pulleys.

One side finished, I can't resist feeding the chain through and pulling it back and forth to see the pulleys operate. Good so far.

Next week: fabricating the chain reel & cranking system, and deconstructing the box. Tune in!



  1. This is sheer mad genius, Keith! SHEER. MAD. GENIUS! What a thrill to see your vision unfold. Ride that wave. Revel in it :)

  2. OMG Keith what can I say Im speechless why do you do this to me LOL.Your an amazing craftsman,I just admire you

  3. The mind, it boggles
    Piercing and pulleys - Oh My!
    Creative maelstrom!

    (Poetical Modesty had too many syllables.)

  4. Thanks for sharing your creative experience with us. I love wathching your work unfold.

  5. This is very exciting, and it looks so FUN! I'm coming back next week for more :)

  6. Well, it looks like I'll be purchasing a lobster bib to catch the drool and maybe even a crash helmut 'cause my mind is blown, and then some!! Holy Moses!

    The care you take with every single detail while seamlessly marrying function and beauty is astonishing. Match made in heaven. Thanks for sharing, I'll tune in next week.

    You had me at the pulley, though.:)

  7. and the car paint color would be called "lo bue blue"

  8. fantastic work Keith, glad your sharing it with us.I love it all.

  9. It transports me to another space and time. I'm seeing the influence of those old museums in the northeast. Gosh sometimes I wish I didn't live in the west so I could wander thru such halls of inspiration. Maybe even a little Steampunk?

  10. All your work is so thoughtful and beautiful. Thanks for sharing.