After the easy flow of Water, Air was always going to be more challenging. After all, it’s invisible most of the time, which makes it a bit tricky to visualise!

My first thought was of isobars – those lines you see on weather maps connecting points of equal air pressure (like contour lines connect points of equal altitude on a walking map). But then it could be air or earth.

Then inspiration struck. When air is visible it’s usually as strong winds – think hurricanes or tornadoes. And tornadoes have the additional advantage – from an artist’s point of view – of a distinctive spiralling form. However, there is a bit of an engineering issue, as the base of the spiral is narrower than the top, which could lead to instability. And for continuous coiling I needed to find a way to bring the coil back down from the top to the bottom to start the next round.

Time for a (very) basic sketch!

This is where familiarity with materials is a big advantage. I knew that the first couple of rounds of coiling would feel very unstable. Indeed, the first round was just like my sketch – a wobbly, uncertain and unstable line. I had to have faith that the structure would stabilise as I added more rounds.

Using wire in the core really helped, as I could continuously reshape the form as I worked, smoothing the curves and adjusting the axis for balance.

I used colour gradation here, as in the Water piece. But it’s not as obvious, as the colours are different shades of grey.

I added a couple of extra rounds on the base at the end for extra stability. Although the wire is quite fine, even a little bit of additional weight makes a difference.

Here are Air and Water together.

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2 Responses

  1. As I look at yr blog, thus yr air structure, a Gale is blowing outside on my terrace. And therefore the piece feels very visual and appropriate to the current external air conditions, you’ve really got that whirling windy motion. 👏

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