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Old 02-08-2012, 10:00 AM
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Default Nest Sculpture

Hello Festoolers!

I've been brainstorming a wood sculpture for some time now and had the good fortune to meet Poto in the airport, who led me to your site. I've met some of you on the new members section, but let me preface my first on-topic post by saying that I'm studying fine art and have no prior woodworking experience--well, maybe a few birdhouses in second grade with Mr Pete.

I want to build a kind of human-sized nest (meditation hut, mini-forest, personal cathedral). I imagine this sculpture combining woodworking and weaving to join whole hazel branches in a central hub. This central joint at the base would have to be strong enough to resist the tension of the branches as they curve upwards into a kind of egg shape, being held in place by very tight weaving (probably willow).

Here are some photos of my model to hopefully make things clearer -







Sorry about the vertical photos I couldn't figure out how to rotate them.

Hazel is flexible, but not extremely so, probably less than bamboo (and there is some amazing bamboo architecture being made right now) but it does happen to be local and fairly plentiful in my neighborhood, and I thought it best to use whole wood for its strength. I've considered steam bending or notch-cutting the branches to make a precise arc, Poto has suggested a central stone hub which would work exactly like the cog I used to make my model. But ideally I want these hazel beams to appear to join magically in the center like some kind of lotus. And the most important thing is that this joint will need to be really strong, the sculpture needs to be stable enough to support the weight of someone climbing in and out through the opening at the top. That'll require a lot of effort for anyone who wants to get in, but I wanted it to be isolated on all sides.

Ideas? Please let me know if this doesn't make any sense and in the meantime I'll scan some drawings.

I hope this will make a fun puzzler and maybe something completely different for your forums, like I said I'm handy but I don't know a whole lot about woodworking yet so for now I'm building lots of models, experimenting with materials, shapes and designs. And making life-size drawings when I get too frustrated with my tiny models.

I am Wide Open to any and all suggestions.
Thanks so much, I'll be getting back real soon with more images.

C
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:03 PM
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Default Re: Nest Sculpture

Check this out:

Patrick Dougherty's Nest Houses Made Of Living Trees (PHOTOS)
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Old 02-08-2012, 05:07 PM
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Default Re: Nest Sculpture

What would keep the nest upright in a wind?

Some similar forms.



Free standing.



Pole mounted.

First order of business is to decide what keeps it upright which will mostly dictate the base joint you're asking about.

If your stock isn't long enough for the free standing form then plant a pole in the ground. A toothed cog at the top of the pole will distribute and stabilize the sticks. The ends just need to be strapped together tightly around the pole below the cog. In either case the sticks will be in tension at that point in the structure and that force can be controlled with rope/chain etc.

Closing the top is a different problem and more determined by aesthetics.
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Old 02-08-2012, 07:23 PM
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Default Re: Nest Sculpture

But I think that Chelsea is aiming to have an open top so that people can climb in and out. She also wants to avoid having a pole up the middle, as it would interfere with the person sitting in there.

I kind of liked this idea:





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Old 02-15-2012, 11:11 PM
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Default Re: Nest Sculpture

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelKellough View Post
What would keep the nest upright in a wind?
A very good question, Michael! I was thinking if the base were heavy enough it could do the trick. Is that too optimistic? I thought of a model that could sink exterior supports into the ground and also help lock the base together, like crossed fingers. However that would limit the environment you could install the sculpture in so ideally I'd like to find a freestanding solution. It might make for one extremely heavy sculpture though! I'm thinking up a version that could be closed at the top, mainly looking for whatever's easiest to climb into while still providing maximum privacy for the occupant. Hopefully you can decipher my drawing:

I've got a few more drawings in my gallery, something I keep going back to is a kind of pick-up sticks notion that by binding my branches tightly enough near the base I could splay them out in a spiral that has them all supporting each other. Or, if there was a way to pair branches with lap joints and then assemble them in the same kind of circle it might solve that joint problem. But my bamboo-glue model sure had other ideas...

Tico! Thanks! Awesome artist! That's definitely the look I'm going for, right on. A bit of inspiring architecture below from vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia, the construction of his water and wind cafe - his structures are amazing because they're designed not to leave a footprint - eventually the whole thing will decompose, it's almost all bamboo or natural materials.



Pretty neat, right? Can't blame me for dreaming

Poto I love the egg-pod and it sure avoids the problem of making a curved floor, but I guess there's no way to know what's going to work until I do some life-size tests. Is there? I was thinking about the stone centerpiece idea and if I made a concrete cog to hold my branches in place while I weave everything else together, maybe there's a chance I could take it out at the end? Maybe if the piece is held together at the top with a window entrance on the side, there could be enough enough tension to keep the base in place. I kind of want to grab some bicycle tubes and start tying things into place but I get the feeling I'll break some branches and maybe get a big slap from the backlash.
Working on another model... more photos coming soon.

Thanks for your patience folks! Seems I don't exactly have the right vocabulary to describe what I want to do. How exciting! All ideas appreciated.
C
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