The image above is an example of one of my wireform sculptures. It is 3/16″ welded steel wire at full scale of aprox 17′ in length and weighs aprox 150lbs. I learned this technique years ago and helped develop it as a form/armature combined for the Tournament of Roses parade floats in Pasadena, CA. It lends itself very well to that application because you can build extremely large forms with relatively small mass. It reminds me of “wireform” computer generated 3-D modeling today. Extremely easy to read the details of the form in this state. It’s very strong as an armature because once the wire is welded at all the intersections, it has the physics of eggshell, which is a very strong, lightweight form as long as the points of contact are connected. Structural integrity begins to fail only when the continuity is broken at any point. Of course, the structure can always be augmented easily with steel tube/channel or even thicker steel rod in truss formation. I am currently building a new piece to be installed at an undisclosed location in Jax, FL. Students with an interest in the design build process of this technique are welcome to join me as part of the Masterclass/Workshop series at IAM RESIDENCY during the weeks of April 16 – 20 and 23 -27 / for the design. May 7-11 and 14-18 for the build out and install. Please inquire through the the residency mail server firstname.lastname@example.org.
The design of the new piece in process. The final version will be a 17′ in length model of an M4A2 military carbine rifle or commonly known as an AR15 on the civilian market. The form lends itself very well to this wireform technique.
The first step was to acquire a scale model to dissect. I used a japanese airsoft model which, lucky for me was 34″ in length overall. This makes the scaling up in size fairly straight forward in that the model is equal in scale to a ratio of 1/2″=1′-0″. I won’t discuss scale ratio here but you can ask me yourself or look it up. It’s a system for proportional enlargement.
I disassemble the model into roughly 3 units, which is how I will build it. The barrel and foregrip (1), the upper and lower receiver (2) and the butt stock (3). Then I bisect each unit into 2 halves. The haves are generally symmetrical so I will choose one half from each unit to cut into 1″ wide sections to obtain a profile of each section and draw them onto a 1″ graph paper. (see photos).