'Joyful Journey Color Column' is eye candy deluxe!
The 8-foot tall steel and plexiglass sculpture features rectangular frames with rounded edges and 5 color blocks with complementary pops of colors. The form resembles a trail marker or directional sign.
The sculpture's lines are layered, smooth, and sophisticated. This is a visually buoyant sculpture which reads as upbeat and cheerful.
The 5 color block panels swivel (if assisted by the viewer) around a central pole, providing opportunity for a variety of looks, all depending on the orientation of the panels in relation to each other and the vantage point of the viewer.
I'm grateful to Mirta at Interstate Advanced Materials in Austin, TX, for providing in-person access to her acrylic sheet color samples/swatches. The swatch samples educated me about the variety and nuances of acrylic sheet and helped me make the best selections for this project.
The sculpture is comprised of 14 components, each weighing no more than an individual is able to handle on his/her own, thereby facilitating ease of transport and installation. (For example, the single heaviest component is the 30-lb. base.)
While I welcome private commissions, I delight in how public art impacts a greater number of people and creates a special energy and focal point in communal spaces; so I’m particularly pleased that 'Joyful Journey Color Column' will be on display at the Georgetown Sculpture Tour from October 2023 - October 2024, at the corner of Main and 7th (701 S. Main Street, across from the courthouse on the historic town square), in Georgetown, TX.
Join me on October 19th at 7pm at the Georgetown Autumn Art Stroll, for the Sculpture Tour Ceremony, if you're able, and we'll raise a glass together to celebrate public art!
The steel on 'Joyful Journey Color Column' has been sealed with multiple coats of clear lacquer to prevent rusting, thereby preserving the sculpture's polished and refined look.
The sculpture is 96” tall x 34” wide (max.) x 34” deep (max.). The ‘maximum’ dimensions are when the two largest panels are completely opposite each other. Total weight is approximately 140 lbs.
In need of a two-wheeled vehicle to enjoy the bike-friendly town of Missoula, MT, this summer, I bought a rebuilt bicycle from Free Cycles, a non-profit and primarily volunteer-run community bike shop.
Free Cycles’s founder is Bob Giordano, and his vision captured my interest. So when an opportunity arose to design and build a sculpture for the building’s new entrance, I didn't hesitate.
‘Hive’ is a wall sculpture comprised of five separate honeycomb structures of various sizes which can be mounted in endless combinations. Dozens of bees adorn the honeycomb cells.
The cooperative nature at Free Cycles and the activity buzzing around the indoor and outdoor work stations reminded me of bee colonies. This observation made the sculpture’s theme and design come into quick focus, especially when I realized that freewheels on bicycles look like honeycomb cells...
In keeping with the repurposing ethos at Free Cycles, the elements for the sculpture were harvested from the bike yard: honeycomb cells, bees, and bee antennae -- in other words: freewheels, bike chain, and brake cables.
To bring the sculpture to fruition, a day was spent harvesting bike parts. Then, over a period of several days, I worked with a couple of local folks in the metal-working community who provided shop access and project assembly assistance:
This is my first ‘found object’ sculpture. I’ll tell you, it makes a piece come together much quicker when the elements are already made.
Getting to create and build public sculpture was an ultimate vacation surprise, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.
Each honeycomb is approximately 3” deep.
There are five honeycombs, and they can be installed in any orientation. 34 bees adorn the honeycombs. There is a singular Lone Drone (solitary bee).
Measurements of each honeycomb are:
I received a delightful variety of responses to my inquiry about the last place y’all enjoyed public art. There were seasonal/temporary creations as well as permanent sculpture; there was artwork ranging in scale from silver dollar-sized rocks to 20-foot tall monumental creations; and the locales ranged from neighborhoods to university campuses to national parks. In at least one case, the creator of the art is anonymous.
Compiled from the responses, here are some places across the United States to see public art:
Originally, I committed to giving away a singular set of 'Aegis' mini-sculpture bookends to one of the respondents. Instead, I rewarded each of the folks who answered my query.
Another reason I made a set for each entrant was to keep my skills in check by creating the same form over and over again -- kinda like going to the gym. While I was at it, I made some as tokens of appreciation for those who show me kindness in my daily goings-on in this hustle-bustle world. Cheers!
When a long-time friend requested a sculpture for the front yard of his residence, I wanted the sculpture to acknowledge a couple of things about our friendship: How we originally met (working at Habitat for Humanity) and our commonly shared love of the Texas Gulf Coast’s flora and fauna.
I visited the site and determined the appropriate scale to compliment his 1950s-era home.
Complete creative license was a highlight of this project, the only request being a sculpture designed in the style that I’m currently doing. So…it would riff off of 'Interconnected' and ‘Interwoven,' two of my most recent outdoor sculptures which feature hammered sheet pods, Art Nouveau-inspired flowing lines, and a refined look.
The result was ‘Riparian Habitat,’ an outdoor sculpture comprised of two separate elements installed side-by-side to read as one.
Until the sculpture was unloaded for installation on his property, the client had nary a clue of what he would be getting. He wanted to be completely surprised, opting to not even view a sketch beforehand.
Installation time was approximately 3 hours, leaving me and my crew a couple of hours to get cleaned up for an on-site reception with friends that afternoon. Celebrating the installation of ‘Riparian Habitat’ and visiting with friends was a delightful way to end a busy day…
‘Riparian Habitat’ measures approximately 64” tall x 52” wide x 10” deep.
This is now the perfect spot for you to pause or cease your reading -- unless you are inclined to know the details about the sculpture's materials and construction:
The sculpture is comprised of two forms (the 'heron' and the 'cattails'), each atop a torch-cut and textured steel plate. The two forms are positioned in close proximity to each other so that the sculpture ‘reads’ as a singular piece.
Attached to the underside of each steel plate is pipe stem of 12” in length. The pipe stem nests snugly within an outer pipe stem housed in an 8”-diameter concrete block, thereby uniting the sculpture and concrete block and providing the necessary weight to securely balance and anchor the sculpture to the earth/ground.
Hammered sheet steel and various sizes of flat bar and square bar were volumized, forged, and plug welded. Gilder’s Paste creates subtle highlights on the hammered sheet pods; this was my first time using Gilder’s Paste to add colored hues to my sculpture. The entire sculpture was sealed with multiple coats of clear lacquer to retard rusting and maintain its refined look.
The ‘heron’ element weighs approximately 50 pounds; the ‘cattails’ element approximately 70 pounds; and each of the two concrete forms, weighing about 110 pounds each, were poured off-site and brought to the client’s residence for installation.
'Interconnected' resides at 7th and Church Streets in Georgetown (606 S. Church Street). Just one block off of the historic downtown square in this charming little Texas town, you can view this public art sculpture until October 2023.
The restaurant in the background is The Golden Rule, and I can personally recommend it, having hosted a reception there with friends to celebrate the inclusion of 'Interconnected' in Georgetown’s Sculpture Tour 2022-2023.
As you can see, a couple of folks have already discovered the sculpture. When you visit ‘Interconnected’ in person, please snap and pic and send it to me. It’ll make my day!
To read the back story of 'Interconnected,' click on this previous post.
'Interconnected' depicts natural, plant-like pods emerging from a single stem, symbolizing how all entities are intertwined with, dependent upon, and affected by, each other.
Interconnectedness includes people and our relation to the natural world (and to each other) for those who choose to think deeper about this concept. Yet, ’Interconnected’ can be appreciated purely for its visual interest.
The silhouette of the three copper-highlighted pods emerging from a slender granite base beckons viewers closer to reveal delightful construction details.
This sculpture may also ‘read’ in multiple ways — for example, one might see a flying insect in this sculpture. Interpreting my work in multiple ways reveals the interconnectedness of forms and one’s own perspective.
‘Interconnected’ measures 84” tall x 48” wide x 5” deep (17” deep when accounting for the sculpture base/anchoring). Steel, copper brazing, and granite.
The sculpture is sealed with multiple coats of a clear UV-resistant lacquer to prevent rusting and preserve the reflective forged facets of the raw metal.
The sculpture and its granite base and cradle are three separate pieces, designed for ease of transport and installation by anchors either into the ground or a cement pad. The sculpture weighs 90 lbs; granite block is 105 lbs; base cradle is 12 lbs.
Georgetown Sculpture Tour 2022-2023
While I welcome private commissions, public art enhances quality of life in a community and reaches a larger audience.
‘Interconnected’ has been accepted in the Georgetown Sculpture Tour 2022-2023 which features public art installed throughout the Cultural District in Georgetown, TX.
For about a year, beginning October 2022, ‘Interconnected’ can be viewed at 606 S. Church Street, about a block from the courthouse on the Square.
I welcome this opportunity to share my outdoor sculpture with the Georgetown, TX, community and its visitors!
A beloved caretaker of kitties was retiring from a veterinary clinic after more than two decades of working there. I was always confident that, when under Caryn's watch, my own Miss Kitty would be comfortable and well attended to during boarding.
I wanted to provide Caryn with a gift upon retirement that acknowledged her care taking role.
In that spirit, I designed an abstract sculpture to evoke the feeling of a protector or guardian. (Any resemblance to cat tail language is purely coincidental, although it’s conceivable that my subconscious played a role in it.)
The two sculptural elements can be arranged in an artful way, and they are sized for placement on a coffee table or where a small focal point would be appreciated.
The elements were designed to also serve as bookends. When (or if!) it is desired in retirement to move from contemplation to reading, the sculpture can be rearranged to serve just such a purpose. And isn’t it fitting that they provide support, just as Caryn did for all those years?…
A total of 18" of 1” x 3/8” steel strap was forged to shape, then sealed with a clear lacquer to preserve the raw steel. The two pieces measure 8” and 7” tall respectively x 3” wide x 1.5” deep.
Caryn, thank you for your loving kindness to Miss Kitty! I wish you the best in this new chapter of your life. — Laura
‘Unleashed’ represents an elemental force which has burst free from its constriction. The energy unleashed is on the move.
This sculpture utilizes a critical element -- a 5-degree Morse taper -- to create a joint that provides stability when assembled, yet allows the sculpture to disassemble easily for transport.
'Unleashed' was created by The A-B-C Collaborative (Armstrong-Bastas-Crouchet), and getting this creative team together was handy since we all reside in the Austin, TX, area.
William Bastas was particularly instrumental in the Morse taper design and execution. Bastas determined that this approach for the joint would allow Laura’s sculptural vision to come to fruition. Additionally, Bastas’s ability to have just the right stock on hand for a project is uncanny…
John Crouchet’s willingness to lend his time and shop for the creation of the joint is only yet another generosity of spirit from that seemingly endless well.
I cherish the time spent with my blacksmith friends and hope to continue finding reasons to work together.
‘Unleashed’ is made from 5/8” square steel bar and measures 49” tall x 34” wide x 24” deep when assembled and weighs 23 pounds. When disassembled, the sculpture's seven pieces fit handily in a slender case for transport.
‘Interwoven’ is sited amongst prickly pear cactus, granite boulders festooned with lichen, and Texas persimmon trees. Seasonal elements include wildflowers, native grasses, and a meandering waterway which fills when the spring rains come to Central Texas and runs dry when the rains cease.
A small clearing between prickly pear and boulders was handpicked as a sculpture site. ‘Interwoven’ was designed for this specific site for a Hill Country private collector.
Perhaps the copper-brazed pod is ripe, ready to burst forth with seeds to scatter in the wind — or has it withered with nothing more to offer while remaining resolutely in place? The larger pod appears to have already bloomed, revealing lacy skeletal ribbing as its final legacy.
‘Interwoven’ is a nod to the interconnectedness and cycle of life in the natural world.
The sculpture was designed to complement its surroundings and not necessarily be the primary focus; rather, the sculpture blends into its picturesque environs which change with the Texas seasons. To that end, ‘Interwoven’ is an acknowledgement of working with natural patterns and rhythms and not overpowering them.
I wish to thank my SCR benefactors! 'Interwoven’ was made possible by an SCR Grant in support of my Hill Country Artist-in-Residence program.
This kinetic sculpture measures 60" tall x 42" wide x 3” deep. Steel of various dimensions; steel sheet with copper brazing; brass rivets; stainless steel, copper-coated, and brass welding rods.
Other site-specific sculptures to date created by Laura Armstrong Studio include ‘Walking Stick,’ ‘Sinuosa,’ and ‘Swivel-Stack Totem’ in Colorado, Argentina, and Texas, respectively.
Intended as accessible public sculpture, Swivel-Stack Totem is located on private property within an arm's reach of the street, allowing visual and tactile access to passersby.
This steel-and-plexiglass sculpture was designed specifically for its current outdoor environs using recycled and common materials such as drill pipe, steel strap, and common hardware.
A central pole is the vertical axis onto which the modular elements can be sleeved and arranged in any position around the pole.
The inner and outer frames were bent by hand into a variety of sizes using an adjustable jig to achieve the desired shapes.
Colored plexiglass ‘canvases' serve as pops of color in the inner frames.
The modularity of this sculpture allows for interchangeable canvases. The color schemes of the plexiglass can be played around with. Or, the canvases can be changed to a completely different medium: think fiber weavings, stained glass, or perhaps a mosaic of hummingbird tongues and bat wings…
Swivel-Stack Totem is nestled between two Pride of Barbados plantings and is intended to complement their showy orange blooms.
This outdoor sculpture is a nod to the concept of public art on private land. And unlike a city-sanctioned public art project, the permitting and installation of this sculpture was a breeze!
Swivel-Stack Totem measures 8 ft. tall x 3 ft. maximum width. Drill pipe, 1” x 3/16” steel strap, socket head cap screws, socket set screws, and plexiglass.
Back stories and latest goings-on in the studio