The Plum Tree in this heated steel artwork magically changes color! Simulating nature the tree turns from it's pink Spring blossom color slowly into a continually deepening of crimson as the blossoms color filters into the burgundy color representing it's leaves. 'Behind the scenes' the mechanics of this kinetic art operates by way of a battery operated clock mechanism turning an aluminium wheel with inkjet canvas stretched and fixed to it. As the wheel turns inside the steel body the vibrant color on the canvas appears and the tree slowly changes color ; pink →burgundy → pink ; 12 hours. The life the tree expresses is complemented by it's scenery; it stands atop a lively hill made up of irregular patches and streaks of browns below a night sky with specks of the steel beneath the blue surface shining through as stars.




How it's Made


The Steel - Aesthetics

Heating steel you will see it become iridescent in colour turning from light to dark brown, purple, blue, turquoise. I saw opportunity in creating landscapes this way by developing ways to layer different colour in producing scenery. Various techniques that affect the steels surface are used involving heat, scraping/sanding... A finish of clear lacquer is used to retain the colour and protect the surface.


The Steel - Mechanics - PATENT PENDING

0.6mm mild steel sheet was chosen primarily for it's suitability in being thin yet rigid. A drawing guides a CNC mill as it cuts out shapes in the steel. Bending brakes are used to bend the sheet at right angles and into a box like form. Each corner is pop riveted and supports a bracket with threaded hole, these holes align up with bolts attached to the corners of the clock mechanism plate, turning these wing bolts by hand(no tool needed) controls the angle and distance of the colour wheel to the scene for optimum performance.


The Colour Wheel - Aesthetics

Gradients and watercolour brushes in graphics software were used to create a soft filtering from one colour into the next. The colour change will occur at a different rate depending on the titled work. The colours are printed to fine art Giclée standards on archival inkjet canvas with pigment based inks. A clear Satin varnish is sprayed on the print for protection from U.V light, dust and moisture.


The Colour Wheel - Mechanics - PATENT PENDING

A high torque clock mechanism powered by a single AA battery turns a CNC milled aluminium wheel. The canvas is stretched over and then fixed to the wheel in a specific process. Fixings in the wheels centre and surrounding the rim ensure the canvas remains taut and protected from touching the steel. The wheel is securely connected to the clock mechanism hour shaft with a milled component and fixings.