Article on Kinetics in Turned Wood

Peter Rand, a woodturner and author, has just published an extensive and interesting aritcle in the February edition of American Woodturner magazine about motion in turned wood objects. He has featured Fiesta, one of David's sculptures, in the article along with many of his own scultpures. 

The article "Turning to the Next Dimension • Real Movement in Turned Objects" discusses movement as an element in art in general as well as providing a brief history of kinetics in sculpture. The article has been reproduced on Rand's website here.

Rand writes the following about the effects of movement in art:

"Movement of or within a piece of art is irresistibly attention-getting. It produces a unique perceptual and emotional response. Art that moves is rich in possibilities: It can be unexpected, amusing, soothing or disturbing, thoughtful or perplexing. For some, a constantly moving piece would be disturbing. A similar reaction is possible to color, or shape, or design. My experience with movement is that with time, the movement becomes elemental to the piece. Disturbance then arises when the movement stops, as when the pendulum of a grandfather clock stops moving or a clock stops ticking."

I appreciate his listing of rich possibilities. We love observing viewers respondes to David's work because of the multitude of reactions. I tend to disagree with Rand's observation that disturbance arises when movement stops. Change arises when movement stops but as David designs sculptures he always considers the visual impact of a sculpture at rest to be critical. It needs to be visually balanced at rest as well as while in motion.

Rand's kinetic work falls into several different styles that he has explored over the years. He is especialy drawn to motion that is subtle and "so slow that change is imperceptible". The "cats" shown below have embedded microcontrollers which cause them to turn and react to each other creating a dance of negative space between them. He has fine-tuned the programming to imply conversation between them.

Peter Rand, Kinetic Trytych, 2008, Maple burl, dye, 18" tallest form

Rand also included an informative side-bar on some of the mechanisms he has used for creating motion in his work. This part of the article is especially helpful to others that may want to explore adding motion to their own work. He provides resources for different electronic solutions.  His artcle is well worth reading and filled with connections to additional resources. The article isn't web based and the links aren't active but he does provide online sources for additional information.

In addition to kinetic work Rand has some beautifully crafted pieces in his Femisphere collection. Worth a visit as well.


Some links of Interest:

• Peter Rand's Website   

• Peter Rand's YouTube Channel