Crystalline Light Sculpture

A couple weekends before Maker Faire Milwaukee 2015 I was getting antsy and needed to do something creative.

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Crystalline Sculpture

I wasn’t sure if there would be enough ambient lighting in the dark hall, and since it was our first year with a dark room dedicated to art and technology, I decided to make a contribution. A member of the Milwaukee Makerspace and I had been cutting hundreds of pine car bodies for the Nerdy Derby activity area and the process produced a lot of thin long strips of scrap wood.

The inspiration for the sculpture was a mix of the scrap materials on hand and the crystal light clusters used at at 31C3, a technology, security, and activism conference held in Hamburg, Germany.

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31C3 crystal lights: inspiration

The crystals at 31C3 looked to be made of 1/4″ welded rods with a thick cheese cloth material covering them and colored up-lights illuminating the clusters.

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view from inside of crystalline sculpture

My approach to making the crystalline sculpture was to create a base shape out of 2x4s  that could support an arching structure that would be about 8 -9 feet tall, and then build up and out using thin scraps of left over pine. A combination of a pneumatic nail gun and lots of triangles eventually produced a sturdy enough structure that it could be

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building triangle upon triangle

dragged out of the woodshop and covered in cheese cloth. I started attaching the cheese cloth with hot glue, but it resulted in many burns when trying to remove wrinkles and wasn’t repositionable after it dried.  I then moved to spray glue which ended up covering my fingers and freezing up my scissors.  I had help from some people at the makerspace attaching the cheese cloth and eventually someone decided to try a glue stick, and it worked brilliantly.  The sculpture wouldn’t  have been finished for the event without the help of friends from the makerspace.   At the event, the sculpture was placed over a floor outlet with a party light plug  in and facing up.

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Crystalline Sculpture, view 1
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Crystalline Sculpture, view 2
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Crystalline Sculpture, view 3
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Crystalline Sculpture with light


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