Flights of Industry

It’s been a while since I last participated in an art project and I’ve been feeling the need to do something that doesn’t necessarily have a practical function, so when Kim mentioned that she was planning to participate in the Audobon Society’s Wild Arts Festival again this year, I decided to join in.

The rules are pretty simple:

  1. Pick up a free 6″ x 6″ canvas from Blick Art Materials.
  2. Make some piece of art with a bird theme on the canvas.
  3. Fill out a form authorizing the Wild Arts Festival to sell your piece.
  4. Drop the art work and the form off at the store by the 26th of October.

Now painting isn’t really my medium so, deciding to play to my strengths, I made my piece out of mixed media including exotic hardwoods and sheet metal.

The foreground is made from a mix of Yellowheart, Wenge, and Paduk. I started with strips about 1/8″ thick, laminated them together using an irregular offset lamination techniquen and then planed them down until they were mostly flat. The fact that they had to be planed on both sides is what gives the joint lines a slightly wavering appearance.


In the detail below, you can see a little of how the offset lamination provides som secondary coloring as you move through the layers.

Once the lamination was complete, the bird silhouette was cut out using a scroll saw. The panel was finished with Tung Oil and mounted to the canvas frame using two lath screws at each corner. I wanted something that would recall the metal corners on old steamer trunks, but with a more modern, slightly industrial flair. They needed to have body, and a screw head that sits flat against the wood also made for less strain on the face.

For the negative space behind the cutout, I used a rusty old piece of 18 gage mild steel sheet that I had lying around. I used a flap disk on my angle grinder to clear off the rust and give it some decorative patterned scratching, notched out the corners, and went to work with a hammer and anvil to bend the edges up so that the metal would drop into the chamfer on the inside fo teh canvas frame. This results in the steel sitting about 3/8″ back from the face panel.

I like how the setback gives a little more depth to the piece and the metal juxtaposed with the wood gives the piece a nice tension between warm and cold.

This project was a lot of fun to work on. The irregular offset lamination was one of those ideas that had been rattling around in my brain trying to get out, but I hadn’t actually done it before. I couldn’t be more pleased with how this piece turned out.

For those who may be wondering about the title of this post, Flights of Industry is the title of the piece. It will be available for sale at the Wild Arts Festival on November 17th and 18th, 2012.

Categories: Art Projects | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Flights of Industry

  1. Laura

    Very cool. 🙂

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