Making "The Dragon Tail" (2007)

Making this was not easy. It was my first attempt at making something meant to be outside. It was also the first time I worked in aluminum, and even the first time I made a sculpture. It is amazing what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it. When I look back at this project I’m glad I don’t have to do it again. At the same time I am very pleased with the result, and everything I learned on the project has been very useful.

The size of this work meant I had to utilize the garden as well as my studio. I would cut the pieces in the studio and take them outside to see if it all fit together. I would go back and forth and make marks where cuts needed to be made. The most important thing was that a visible splice would not break the flowing curvature of the tail. To see this I needed the size of the garden.

I had a steep learning curve on this project. Never had I made anything in any kind of metal, so I had to both buy the equipment and learn how to properly use them for cutting, drilling and rounding the edges of aluminum. On this project I cut all the pieces myself manually, and sent it away for sandblasting and paint. When I went back to working with aluminum again a few years later I did the opposite, having the pieces cut by a waterjet, and paint it myself.

When the work was finished all the children of the school had as an assignment to draw what they thought it was, and also to vote for a name. The overwhelming majority thought it was a dragon tail, and that is what they wanted to call it.