Ascension stands 10'H x 8'W x 26'L and is built from 3 tons of forged stainless steel and iron. I am very thankful that it was chosen by The City of Duluth and the GAPC for the Duluth Gateway Art Project through a generous donation from the AGCO corporation. It is situated in the heart of Duluth, Ga. in the roundabout intersection of McClure Bridge and W. Lawrenceville.
My goal in developing a design for this project was to create a piece that speaks to Duluth's history as a farming community, its current values, and vision for the future. Mirroring AGCO as a world leader it captures their spirit of progress and hope for the future as they transform the agricultural industry.
Images of the model for my proposal.
I would also like to share a bit more of the process that went into the construction of this monumental public sculpture. It will come as no surprise that I am a tool hound! My fascination with old machines was instilled as a child growing up in a midwest farming community where if something broke "you" had to fix it. Also learning about old cars and motorcycles from my Pop set me on a path to work with my hands. Today, my studio/shop has many pieces of equipment that I use to build my creations.
Ascension began as hand drawings that were engineered for structural code. From these specifications, I was able to develop a plan to begin the build. First was to oxyacetylene torch cut then roll form four tons of 1" steel plate. This was one of the only processes I did not undertake in my shop, the roll forming took 150 tons on the 10' wide piece of plate. Since there were only a few places this can be done, Cain Steel in Tuscaloosa, AL was a great choice (thanks guys!) These photos shows the plate in their shop and back at my shop.
I was then able to finish cutting, drill holes for riveting and weld the halves together. I brought in a good friend and master welder Rob Babcock from Utah for the welding. Kyle Livingston also helping as the the jack hammer riveter.
At this point, I started to focus on the construction of the stainless steel bird body. A framework was made as a template, then shapes were cut using my optical tracing machine with a plasma cutter. The pieces were then forged under my 500lb. mechanical hammer and stamped with pattern dies under my 100 ton friction screw press. The body was then welded and work on the wings followed.
The wings were forged, textured and shaped from stainless steel that was later welded and bolted together.
The bird was then assemble and I could get my first look at it together.
After seven months of construction, blasting and finish work was complete the sculpture was then loaded on a trailer.
Installation day brought favorable weather and friends. 90 minutes, two crane picks, and ten bolts later the work was installed!
Duluth unveiled the sculpture April 9th. Duluth's Mayor Nancy Harris, council members, and the GAPC, AGCO with president Martin Richenhagen, community members, friends, family all made for a grand day. Thank you all that made Ascension possible!
Special love to Lauren, Rose and Jake