There is a great article about The Arm of the Kraken, and new work coming to Climate Pledge Arena this summer.
You can learn more about the making of The Arm of the Kraken here!
Something interesting emerged near the Bainbridge Island Ferry Terminal today. A 12′ tentacle was spotted near the Marler Clark Law Office on Bainbridge Island. It seems 2021 will be the year of the Kraken. This must be a sign that more interesting things are to come in the New Year.
In 2021, Seattle’s new Hockey team, the Seattle Kraken, debut at Climate Pledge Arena. Renowned Seattle glass artist, Preston Singletary and I are collaborating on a stainless steel and glass sculpture for the new arena campus. It will be installed as part of the arena project this year at Seattle’s iconic Seattle Center .
Two years ago, my neighbor Dan Hinkley, commissioned a series of carved “Guardians” for the entrance of Windcliff Nursery in Indianola WA. One of these took the form of a large carved tentacle. Similar in form to work I did in ceramics at the Kohler Factory in an Arts/industry residency almost ten years ago, these tentacles are on a much larger scale. Sculpturally, they are an exercise in form and fun.
The tentacle is located at the Marler Clark law office Near the Bainbridge Island Ferry Terminal. They are the nation’s leading firm in foodborne illness outbreaks. They work to make sure that the food we eat will be clean and safe to consume.
Making a “Guardian” for Marler Clark seemed like a prefect project for people in the business of guarding food safety for all of us.
For the near future we all have to be the guardians of one another in our community. When you are at the ferry terminal, enjoy the “Arm of the Kraken”, and remember the crucial work being done right here.
A second-growth red cedar log was chosen for the tentacle. The log was of size and weight that some help would be needed. My friend Spencer West of West Woodworking had the log, a little bobcat to move it around with, and a place to carve.
The log wast flattened on two sides so that the tentacle profile could be drawn.
The profile is cut out
The tentacle form is carved with facets
Facets are then rounded off.
Suckers are then roughed out.
Basic sculptural work is done with an electric chainsaw, electric power planer, and a Lancelot blade on a 4″ grinder
The tentacle is then refined by hand carving and texture adzing with a d-adze.
It is painted with exterior flat latex paint, it is applied as a series of washes with opaque details.
Bainbridge Island resident and artist Will Robinson helped us on installation day.
Thank you to Bill and Julie Marler, and the whole Marler Family
A very special thanks to: Eleanor Reynolds, Ryan McPhail Fluid Concrete and Design, Spencer and Elizabeth West, Will Robinson, and especially to Joanne, my awesome wife, and my great kids, Sarah, Mikel, and Ruby.
A couple of years I was contacted by the Washington State Arts Commission about creating a project for a newly remodeled school in Seattle. I had no idea at that time what an amazing opportunity this would be, or what an incredible place Seattle World School is.
” It is one of only a few schools in the country designed as a preliminary entry point for immigrant children in their quest for academic achievement and full participation in American society.”
This installation was made for the garden of a neighbor who travels the world collecting and teaching about exotic plants. He has thereby created an amazing garden at his home in Indianola WA. We have worked together on several projects over the years. He was interested in a series of posts for installation in his garden. He was interested in evoking some of the spirit of the Janseung (a type of totem-like carving from Korea) that he has encountered in his travels. Starting at this point I began to research and draw.
I recently worked on a project involving carving a simple moon face. I thought it might be fun to take a time-lapse video of the project. This is the very frantic result. Please enjoy seeing the carving process, and watch the Moon emerge from the wood. For a higher resolution video please click here.
Music by: Agrupacion Ilegal Los Imparciales “El Choclo”
Thanks for viewing,
As many of you know I’m in the midst of my second Kohler Arts/Industry Residency. It’s one of the very few programs in the country where artists are invited to utilize a studio housed inside a working factory, and it’s the best of its kind. Residents are flown to Wisconsin, provided lodging and a small stipend, and given the opportunity to work on a level that only a factory can provide. At the Kohler pottery, I receive all of the slip (liquid clay) I need, endless mold-making and firing capabilities, and the expert advice of Shari McWilliams, one of the most amazing ceramic techs around. Working alongside the highly skilled factory employees every day allows me to draw from their expertise, too. In return for all these fantastic resources, I’m asked only to donate some of my work and a few hours of educational time.
The Kohler Arts/Residency Program was launched in the early 1970s by the tireless and remarkable Ruth Kohler, who also is director of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Ruth’s dedication to philanthropy has had a huge impact in the local community and has benefited artists from around the world. In selecting me for the Arts/Residency program, Ruth resurrected my career, catapulting me forward into new artistic worlds, and benefitted me greatly.
This is my second residency at Kohler, so when I arrived I already had a number of old friends in the factory and immediately began making new ones. Strong relationships are vital to getting my work through the production system, and the hands-on time these workers spend assisting me in my projects is amazing. The friendships continue in the off-hours, too. Twice, Marty, one of the pottery inspectors, took me fishing.
Another day, my friend Dave took me and another resident on a tour of the local countryside, which really opened my eyes to the depth of Wisconsin’s beauty and the kindness of its people. Dave has been determined that I get the full Wisconsin experience this time, and made it his mission to make sure I take the time to do that.
In thanks for all of the warmth and hospitality I’ve received during this long stretch away from home and family, I asked each of the workers sign a fish in “The Ghost School,” so I could tangibly integrate the feeling of camaraderie, of working together, into my project.
Throughout this residency, negotiations between Kohler and the UAW Union (which represents most of Kohler’s employees) have loomed. In the past few weeks the tension has been building. It finally erupted when the company made an offer. The workers soundly rejected it and went on strike. Having made concessions during the previous contract negotiations, which happened during the recession, the workers are taking a principled stand in defense of the lowest paid among them. Risking their holidays — and who knows what else — to walk picket lines in Wisconsin’s bitter cold, these men and women are taking a step into the unknown to do what they believe is right. For that, I respect them now more than ever.
On the other side of the line are the Kohlers. As an artist and a participant in the residency program they have been good to me. They’ve promoted my work, provided opportunities I never could have imagined, and allowed me to work in their unparalleled facilities achieving things I never could have done on my own. These are amazing gifts that can’t be forgotten or underestimated.
I am allowed to cross the line and enter the factory at any time. The workers know me and understand I have a contract to fulfill and have many non-union friends going to work every day. The lines are not as clear as you might think. But I haven’t set foot inside since the strike began. Instead, I’ve been drawing and catching up on other work. Eventually I will go in to finish my work and complete what needs to be done. Meanwhile, the wind and rain are having a new and different significance as I think about my friends out on the picket line.
Sometimes life turns out to be more of an adventure than one bargains for. I hope for a quick resolution, though I’m not very optimistic about that. What I am certain about is the good that resides in all the people here. Their kindness has touched me profoundly and I owe everyone involved a deep debt of gratitude. Wisconsin is truly a beautiful place, and the Arts/Industry program has provided the experience of a lifetime.
This Tentacle installation has an interesting setting. It sits on a mantle I carved from fir in 2004 along with the panels on either side. The theme of the carvings were wind and water, with creatures from the water and the Moon on the right panel and creatures of the air and the Sun on the left panel. The mantle has wind and waves flowing out to their respective sides.
The Tentacles are a new contrasting sculptural element. They relate as a theme around the home and also to the carved Octopus on the top of the panel on the right. It is really amazing to work with such kind people who continue to appreciate your art as it evolves, and to see it all working together for a new effect.
Just for fun, David Franklin World Headquarters presents: The Tentacles of Destruction 1-5. These low quality videos started as something fun to do with failed greenware, (unfired) tentacles, and evolved into slightly better quality, and more methods of destruction. These tentacles would have otherwise ended up in the garbage can, this way they at least go out in a way that will be remembered. I hope you enjoy watching them as much as we did making them. They get better as the series goes on….enjoy!
Tentacles of Destruction 1: The Plop of Doom
Tentacles of Destruction 2: The Turdicle
Tentacles of Destruction 3: The Bomb
Tentacles of Destruction 4: Trial by Fire
Tentacles of Destruction 5: The Minivan of Death