Ductility. Malleability. Brazing. Flux. Wiring our brains to think in wire sculpture terminology is a new bend in the schedules of art teacher, Mrs. Fleck’s, sculpture students. Paired with the return from winter break, students embarked on conjuring a design for their wire project. The single project requirement is for the size to be, at least, the height and width of a single basketball. To better grasp an understanding of the art of wire sculpting, students were directed towards the work of Alexander Calder, colloquially known as the father of mobiles. One of Calder’s more famous pieces is on display in Chicago, Illinois, appropriately named Flamingo. Comprising the svelte shaping of a flamingo’s willowy figure and the tediously shaped, flat carmine framework, the piece remains open to the public eye as monument to Calder’s innovative, artistic eye.
Moving forward into the construction phase, Mrs. Fleck emphasized the importance of following the proper technique when brazing. Brazing wires involves extreme temperatures and the possibility of severe burns if carelessly handled. With a bowl of water with an arm length reach as the first step, the tip of the brazing wire must be heated for roughly three seconds via the handheld torch. After thoroughly warming it, the wire is dipped into a bowl of sugar-textured flux powder. The flux powder contains part glass which is subsequently melted and used as a fusing bond between two adjoining metals. The brazing rod is then placed beside the meeting joint of the two soon-to-be welded wires. Firing the torch up once again, the tip of the blue flame emitting from the torch is engulfs the joint and flux powdered tip of the rod for 10 seconds or more. The powder will dissolve into a liquidized state and begin to shimmer in intense bursts of silver. The rod is removed and the joint quickly solidifies into a semi-hardened state. Both the rod and the new joint must be dipped into the water bowl to quench the extreme temperatures. Only then can the wires be touched by hand.
Colby Kreilein, sophomore, shares her inspiration for her project, divulging her interest in sailing atop a sailboat one day. Kreilein expresses her interest in travel and has since put sailing on her bucket list. While drawing a sailboat is simple enough, constructing a 3D model requires an elevated level of artistry and creative hands. Kreilein hopes to pursue art in college alongside studying business or child psychology. As the tradition goes, every boat must don a personalized name, however, Kreilein’s sailboat has yet to be named. Maybe upon completing her 3D model, the wire sculpture may become the Jr. version of her desired, full-size sailboat; thus, naming her long imagined future sailboat.