Reaching Home

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Hi All, I just installed my latest sculpture "Reaching Home" and thought I'd share with you all. The site location is in front of the clients home off their driveway. The tree is curved/arched and that curve ends up pointing to the front door. I chose the name "Reaching Home" due to the fact that the tree looked like it was literally reaching for the home and the fact that when you pulled into the driveway you were "reaching home". The name seemed fitting to me.

The stylized tree was a private commission and is roughly 8' tall, 6 ' long, 4' wide and weighs in at roughly 400lbs. The tree was created using layers of 3/16", 1/4", 5/16", 3/8", and 1/2" steel rod around a structural core and the leaves were all hand cut and pounded to give each one a unique character and a more natural look. I had to create a custom dolly to move it and since the tree was just going to rust I actually welded the tree to it until it was delivered, then we just cut it off, cleaned up the welds, and sprayed it with vinegar to get the rust process going. Inside the branches are some hidden insects and birds as "surprise" elements. The idea was that they wouldn't be noticed for a while creating a new experience well after the first encounter. The finish on the piece is a simple rust patina. We jump started it a bit, but it will continue to evolve and since the different rods have different mill scale they should all rust at different paces and colors creating fantastic brown, red, and orange hues. The critters are composed of steel, stainless steel, bronze, and copper, so as they oxidize silver, green, and blue hues should accent the steel in those elements creating small splashes of color.

All in all, over 2000 pieces were shaped and welded to create the tree. I love it and plan on exploring both the technique and the tree motif much more in the future.

I am doing some work for a professional photographer for trade and should have some better pics this spring which I'll post.

Happy New Year All!

Jake

Reaching Home 1Reaching Home 1

Reaching Home 2Reaching Home 2

Reaching Home 3Reaching Home 3

Reaching Home 4Reaching Home 4


Rich Waugh's picture

Another magnificent piece,

Another magnificent piece, Jake. You continue to amaze me with your design skills.

Rich


Stephen Fitz-Gerald's picture

tree

Stephen Fitz-Gerald
Nice movement and flow on the piece Jake...


eligius1427's picture

Thanks Stephen, I really

Thanks Stephen, I really wanted to make it look like the leaves were rustling in the wind. The trunk is stockier than I had originally hoped for, but the Engineer was leery of all of the stresses if we had an ice storm. After building it though, I think I could have gotten away with a much smaller trunk and ended up with much more implied motion.

Jake

Jake Balcom
Mettle Design
Lincoln, NE


Giusseppe's picture

good fun

nice to see someone else playing with trees ..... don't be afraid to let the trunk and branches move a little in the wind ... if you remember my windswept tree in Ireland, everything moves a little but it is easily safe ...if I can hang from the smallest branch and it will return to normal then I know the ice is not going to hurt it .....
hopefully children will find your secrets in time
Giusseppe


eligius1427's picture

Thanks Guisseppe, that's

Thanks Guisseppe, that's good to hear. I could literally hang on every branch, 8" from the end and they wouldn't budge, so I definitely think i can tone down the stockiness a lot and get some actual motion. Around here, things are supposed to be engineered to handle 1/2" of radial ice around everything, which really puts a crimp on a lot of elegant designs.

I really want to see how big of a tree I can make. This one is about 8' tall, I think I'll try around 12' for the next one and hopefully get up to 20-30 feet someday(the engineer I use will have a heart attack, lol). The trees in my neighborhood are about 50-60' tall but that just seems a bit ridiculous to try to fabricate, mother nature is one hell of an engineer.

Jake

Jake Balcom
Mettle Design
Lincoln, NE


Rich Waugh's picture

You just need to get a

You just need to get a really big walk-in freezer so you can field test your designs, Jake. (grin) It would make for comfy welding in the summer, too.

Your engineer will design and spec for minimum deflection if you let him. You have to constantly remind him on things like trees that deflection is a good thing, as long as you don't go past the yield point. It's a different way of looking at things for most civil and mechanical engineers.

Rich


Giusseppe's picture

deflection

exactly .....a trees ability to absorb high winds through tapering deflection is so elegant ......


Giusseppe's picture

tree of birds

this tree of birds is 35 ft tall and moves in the wind ..... made with the children of Sloughtree of birds: made with the children of Slough


eligius1427's picture

Thanks Rich, it was a lot of

Thanks Rich, it was a lot of fun to make.

Jake

Jake Balcom
Mettle Design
Lincoln, NE


ScottTheSculptor's picture

critters

I love the critters.

and the idea of having the critters


eligius1427's picture

Thanks Scott, I'm anxious to

Thanks Scott, I'm anxious to hear if the idea worked and they actually got noticed or not.

Jake

Jake Balcom
Mettle Design
Lincoln, NE


Stephen Fitz-Gerald's picture

hidden critters

Stephen Fitz-Gerald
Oh they will be noticed,by those who can "see"...
Neat stuff Jake.


Rob Sigafoos's picture

Jake This is great! Seems

Jake
This is great! Seems kind of out of character for you (I think), which makes it all the more magnificent.
Rob


Katie-Rose's picture

That is breath-takingly

That is breath-takingly gorgeous! Excellent work, Jake!


visitor's picture

VERY COOL! Will.

VERY COOL!
Will.