I came late to the world of art. It wasn't until college that a very good friend's "machine as art" sculptures changed how I looked at the machines, motion and art.
The "very good friend" and art teacher became my wife shortly after college and we started a life of learning from each other.
I started learning woodworking by designing and building small "executive playthings." Marji had taken a wonderful woodworking course at Rhode Island School of Design and helped get me started.
The quest to make a piece that ran for more than a minute led to the first weight driven wall sculpture.
1976 was a momentous year for me. I designed my first 8 wall sculptures, exploring new ways to create interesting motion using and controlling the energy of a falling weight. The mechanism concepts I developed in that year form the bedrock of the next 30+ years of designing kinetic sculptures.
In 1977, 2 years of my working at this full time (Marji taught art and supported us) we found a way to earn a living.
My first workshop was the second bedroom of a small 2 bedroom apartment. The shops grew over the years from an old cinderblock milkhouse to the wing off a home we built ourselves to a dedicated building next door sometimes called "dad's house".
1979 marked a turning point. I had found a sufficient understanding of how to design mechanisms. The new challenge was to use that knowledge to produce pieces with more complex and unpredictable motion.
Kids love motion. Our own children inspired us to collaborate on many toy designs and eventually to sell some designs to toy companies. It was during a meeting with a toy company that I learned about constant force springs.
Constant force springs supply a nearly constant torque or turning force. The metal band wants to remain coiled in one direction but it is forced into the oppoisite direction by winding it. It will return to its original form as soon as you release it.
The constant improvement in computer drawing and visualization tools enabled me to design and build larger sculptures with more complex motion patterns.