Kinetic Custom Sculpture
Custom made sculptures that incorporate motion can exert an almost irresistible attraction. A mobile spinning in the wind calls out, Watch Me! A pendulum waiting to trace an arc calls out, Push Me!
Check out this custom motorized marble machine by Salusa Glassworks, Inc.. Commissioned by a client who lives in a remodeled firehouse, this glass sculpture has a motorized rotating central shaft that lifts the marbles (one of them spotted like a Dalmatian) to the top, where they roll down the winding track and begin their journey anew.
Artisan Bandhu Dunham explores the interplay between science, nature, and art with his kinetic sculptures and offers some insight, a sort of parable with marbles, into the appeal of these intriguing contraptions:
I think that people like watching kinetic gizmos with gears and pulleys and crankshafts because, in a paradoxical way, these machines re-connect us with Nature.
Our modern technology is so refined that its workings are beyond our perception. We cannot see with our eyes how a television or a cell phone works, and you can hardly fix anything on your own car anymore. The nuts-and-bolts of our technology hardly exist for us now—it is out of our grasp and increasingly revolves around microchips and wireless connections and the manipulations of molecular biology. No wonder we feel a little paranoid.
But when we watch a piston moving under the pressure of steam, and it makes a beam pivot on its axis, which pushes on a crank to turn a flywheel, we see something that we can understand (or at least that we might be able to figure out). Similarly, when we watch the miniature drama of a marble rolling down a track, we feel a bit of humanizing identification with the ups and downs of the little fella’s journey. The wit of simple mechanisms—even when combined into more complex machines, is comforting to the modern psyche.
Whether driven by a motor, the wind, or a little push, kinetic works of art, these simple mechanisms, in fact, demonstrate – literally make visible – basic forces in our world and the elementary understanding of these forces that we use to make our way through it.
Nature, culture, and movement feature prominently in the wood and salvaged steel sculpture Solvolare – a series of balancing cities by AzArtistry Designs LLC. An illuminated city skyline on a cantilever is balanced off-center between representations of the sun and moon. A custom cloud panel above the cityscape completes the arrangement. If set in motion manually, the city, sun, and moon will move for 45 minutes before coming to rest. You can also custom order your sculpture with a small actuator for continual motion if you wish. You can watch a video of this artwork in action here.
The StrataSphere Kinetic Windsculpture by Heitzman Studios combines grace and engineering in a unique sculpture designed to move like a gyroscope that will “come to life with the most gentle of breezes” in your garden or outdoor living area. Made of brass, copper, and stainless steel, all materials that will not rust, the mobile elements are designed to move friction and maintenance free for a long life. You can choose with your custom order a polymer resin pedestal as shown below that can be filled with sand for stability or a small base to mount the piece on any flat surface.
This pendulum is “kind of a Feng Shui thing” created by Schulte Studios Inc. from left over copper pipes, springs, and a hollow garden gazing ball. When you pull the pipes at the opposite end of the springs, the ball will roll back and forth. Contact the artisan to commission a similar piece.
Find a CustomMade artisan near you and discuss adding a kinetic dimension to a custom sculpture made from metal, wood, or other materials. You can also post your kinetic sculpture idea on our “Get it Made” job board and artisans interested in your project contact you. You’ll have a thought provoking, attention grabbing, unique work of art for your home.