For about a year I was driving up to Sonoma County from Oakland every other weekend to see my partner who lived there. Throughout that year I enjoyed watching the grape vines change color and shape. I became really inspired and wanted to replicate them the best I could in metal.
The bark is made from 1″ x 1/8″ flat stock. With the power hammer I chiseled shallow cuts into the metal, being careful not to cut through the stock. The cuts were occasionally overlapping and all laying in the same direction, parallel to the edge of stock. I then used a 1″ swedge block and the peen side of the hammer to curl the stock into a hollow tube, making sure to curl the edges first, then working my way towards the center until the sides met.
I didn’t worry too much about making sure the sides met perfectly. I utilized the gaps where the edges met on the tube to insert some forged out branches. (For the smaller branches I used 1/2″ round stock.) The transition looked more natural to me, and when welded offers more stability.
After rounding out the branch and closing the gaps as best I could on the horn, I came out with a couple branches, about a foot and a half long.
The leaves were plasma cut from 10 gauge sheet, then chiseled to make the veins. I used a leafing hammer and a small swedge to give it body. The grapes were made from old stainless steel ball bearings which I welded together with 1/8″ stainless wire. They are very heavy, which ended up working to my advantage when I was balancing the sculpture.
It took me a long time to figure out how I wanted the sculpture to come together. I must have welded it together and cut it all apart again three or four times. But sometimes you need to walk away from something for a while (and in my case, months), then come back to it with more clarity. It felt so good to finally get this done since it’s been sitting collecting rust for so long. I will post a picture once I get the electrical and the lamp shade all hooked up.