Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Tale of the S

There is a metal worker in town who has forged his way into our aerial dance community. Will Turnbull of 11th Hour Heroics / Paradigm Forge built a lyra (basically a steel hoop for aerial dance) for one of the students of Cycropia Aerial Dance, the troupe of which I am part. Once a bunch of us saw it, we were intrigued. He made a pitch to build more, and half a dozen people took him up on it. Not wanting to be with the "in" crowd, I talked with Will instead about building me an "S" as a replacement for an earlier attempt that was a structural failure.


He came and took a look at the existing one, and we continued the conversation via email (and ultimately Pay Pal because I was away when he needed a deposit) and we settled on size and amount of arc. You can see that this is not going to be small! Each curve of the S will be 48 inches in diameter, and the pipe will comprise 220 degrees of arc (a full circle being 360) or just under 2/3 of a full circle. Welded together in the middle, the two arcs will stand 96 inches tall, eight feet. That is about the same as the earlier version, though that one had top and bottom curves of differing size.


The shot above shows the substance of the pipe. I think the steel pipe is 1-3/4 inch OD, and it proved to be much harder to bend than anticipated. When I visited the studio Will told me that the first arc had taken forty passes through his bending machine, which is manually cranked. Worse, the shearing bolts he uses to make sure a cheap piece fails before he breaks the machine have been breaking with a frustrating frequency, and has delayed the process. I am not concerned about the timing. He will finish it soon enough.


Will is a character, and a pleasure to work with. While this particular piece is pretty industrial, he is a fine sculptural artist. While you are waiting to see images of the completed S, and better yet, see it with dancers on it in the air, check out his page (linked above).

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