In the Grain of Sand

Friday, 4 November 2016


I have been away from the studio for 6 weeks, or was it longer? It seems a long time ago that I was feverishly working towards the solo show, and then packing up a suitcase and travelling for a month.  
This week, I’m back and making. 
It is “another big one”. Every big sculpture I make has some known elements and some new ones, and it takes me few steps further into the unknown. This sculpture is not based on the geodesic dome. It is based on geometric shape called rhombic triacontahedron. It consists of 30 rhomboids, and it looks something like this:

Why this particular shape? It feels right. Not too simple and not too complex. And although this particular shape is not found in nature (that I’m aware of) it resonates with the natural forms through the idea of faceted sphere.
Could it "feel right" because the lengths of the diagonals are in the golden ratio?

This is the concept drawing of the sculpture that I'm making:

It will be made from 220 identical 3d tessellated tiles. Although the sculpture's skeleton is a 3d geometric shape, I want the finished sculpture to be organic and intuitively accepted as natural.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

In the Grain of Sand

At the moment I’m working on 3 interesting projects. 
Producing 220 tiles for the large sculpture has a nice rhythm of making, drying and firing, and I don't want to think about the next step - making the frame.
The sculpture is/will be titled: In the Grain of Sand. 
I don't really like naming the work before it is made as it could possibly restrict the growth of the idea, but in this case it was necessary.
It continues my exploration of the infinitely small, microscopic and, in this case, fragmented; and at the same time evokes ideas of complexity of the universe, individuality, fragmentation, decomposition and questions of origin. All of it in the grain of sand.

With 220 tiles in the making, the space in the studio is becoming limited
finished tiles:
It will be interesting to see how it all comes together. 

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

small steps

The tile production is going smoothly,so it is time to start thinking about the next step: fixing the bolts in the holes at the back of the tiles.
I know that it sounds simple: you glue them in, right? 
There are a few things that need to be considered. Without some sort of support the bolts will not stand straight (as you can see on the left):

Previously I had 3 bolts per tile and a simple template with 3 holes was enough to keep them where I wanted them to be. With 2 bolts per tile the situation changes as they can still topple forward:

After a few ( a good FEW) trials and errors I have settled on this template:

That will keep them in place! 
Well, that took the whole morning. I'm using recycled aluminium printing plates for making templates.Now I need to cut about 25 of them, and precisely drill the 4 holes in each one.  That will take care of the afternoon.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

more small steps

Once I have a few bolts glued in place I can measure the distance between the bolts and start designing the frame. Of course, I could measure the shrinkage of clay and try to work it out mathematically instead, but this is much safer option.

 It is really important to get distances and angles right, or nothing will fit together.

Looks about right. Now I can do the cutting list and chop 60 m of flats into small bits. FUN!!

Saturday, 24 December 2016


First you cut 550 pieces of metal. Then you drill 880 holes. And then you start welding them together again....

 As they grow larger I'm giving up on neutral background photos:

One third done....

Sunday, 1 January 2017


I do like welding the frame, the skeleton of the sculpture. It is hot and exhausting, and at this stage I have no Idea if all the pieces will fit together..

So far so good. This one is coming together smoothly, but based on the previous experiences I'm bracing myself for glitches.
 Last few welds

 And then it is DONE!! I like the neat base.when it's turned sideways I can walk in, which will come handy when it comes to painting the frame. 

 Finding the photogenic position in the garden for the trial assembly and the photo-shoot.

Oh, and I still need to make the last thirty tiles, fire them twice, and paint the frame with cold galv. and 3 layers of anti-corrosive enamel.
But for now, I will grab a glass of vine and just sit here for a while and enjoy the view.

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