When first asked to look for an architectural inspiration for our sculpture ideas, my mind went immediately to Art Nouveau, and especially the interior constructions of the movement, such as this one.
Inspired by this staircase in particular:
I then drew up this initial design:
I knew I wanted to create a fluid “outline” specific to that of a lightbulb, something that would highlight and exaggerate its shape. I also knew I wanted to work with a more simplified and editing eye this project. Many Art Nouveau designers found the previous 19th century designs overly ornamental, so I figured I would take the same approach in my construction.
In its creation, I originally toyed with the idea of using a technique of twisting two wires together to strengthen the sculpture, but then decided in doing so I would lose the fragility of the piece. I then went through the pattern of deciding on the shape I wanted, creating the smallest piece of that section (there are two) and then working larger and larger pieces of wire around that template. I found out real life is a little different from drawings, and gravity is always in play, and so watched as my wires began dropping lower the larger they got. I fixed this temporarily with little zig zags of silver wire to hold it all together, but it never really took to me, even as I continued making the second section.
For a while I was super stubborn about making sure that the end of my wire loops would just hang in the air, as I assumed would work in my drawing. Fighting gravity was a large part of my process, especially since I was working on a table instead of in the air. When I finally realized that I would have to acknowledge that my wires couldn’t hold themselves up, I made arrangements to help bolster them, like the wire connecting the three loose ends of the forward loop to one of the loose ends of the sideways loop.
If I could continue this project, I think I would want to work more with the spinal little ghost structure I was making around my loops at the end. A happy accident, they were just an alternative my original zig zags, but I ended up liking them a lot. They add a modernity, I think, to an antique shape.