Crafted Steel

Out by the pool, we really needed a cabinet for little things like sunblock, goggles, etc.  I thought it would be cool to make a dollhouse for this and also incorporate some succulents.  It ended up taking a lot longer than I expected in order to get the color right and doors to work properly.  At first I tried painting it beige and applying liquid enamel to the roof, but it just looked horrible.  I then went with a more natural look and used the grinder to give it a tin roof shine.  The doors took forever to get right with magnets and roof alignment.  It looks great, but definitely more work than I had anticipated.  

This was my first non-functional sculpture.  All of my previous works of art have had some type of function (lamps, mirrors, cabinets, etc.).  I got the inspiration for this when I saw these broken vase pieces for sale outside a local Indian store.  I thought their concave shape would help make the fish's rounded body and add some color.  It took me a little while to figure out the right technique to not burn/break them when welding.  I went thru several pieces before I got it right, but in the end it was worth it.  

This was my first rolling ball sculpture.   The track starts at the top right of the lamp shade and works its way down to the bottom left tray (takes over a minute).  This sculpture took me almost a year to complete.  Originally I had intended to make a table lamp; however, after making the square base I realized it was too big so I decided to make it free standing.  The lamp shade took almost as long as the entire body to complete.  I incorporated chunks of glass I obtained from the Tropicana factory.  Remember the green pepsi bottles?  This is runoff glass used to make them.  Aside from being my first marble track, what took so long was that every piece was bent with a torch.  The three large bars, which make up the frame, were 9' long when I started.  One of them has 18 wires running thru it to support 9 lights distributed throughout the sculpture, all operated via a dimmer switch in the lampshade.  Definitely one of a kind.




This is my wife's favorite piece.  I started it when I took a welding class from the Morean Arts Center.  As it got taller I wasn't sure what the little figures would be ascending to so I ended up converting it into a lamp.  After finishing the lampshade, I realized I had to run a cord to the top somehow.  I ended up using the hollow sides of the ladder to do this, which nearly resulted in having to take the whole thing apart.  There are 11 people (and one dog) and most are fixated on the guy hanging from the lampshade, who looks like he's about to fall.  You pull on him to make the lamp turn off and on.

This is rolling ball sculpture number two.  In order to build it faster, I decided to use several pieces of small pipes connected by the track instead of bending the entire frame like Krypton.  I had the same problem as Labyrinth in terms of running a wire for the light so I used similar ladders to hide the cables and also incorporated them as part of the marble track.  Also, since I didn't have any single straight bars to the top, it was extremely unstable when I put the lampshade on.  In order to fix this, I added three solid stainless steal rods rapped around several of the straight pipes from top to bottom.  This provided the stability and also added to the design while blending in with the track.  I submitted Hoth in my first art show at the annual ArtCenter Manatee competition and took first prize.


This was my first attempt at a fire pit, which turned out better than expected.  The helmet was by far the most difficult part.  I wanted to make it as realistic as possible, which meant making the helmet as round as possible.  I did this with multiple pieces of thin sheet metal (26 pieces).  Getting the helmet to sit evenly on the base was also a challenge.  After much trial and error I accomplished this by making a semicircle platform around the base fire pit and using 'L' brackets on the helmet to get it to sit in place.  If you click on the image you can see how it was progressed from start to finish and how it looks with the helmet removed.