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“An interactive, kinetic sculpture, exploring movements in nature through simple mechanics. Turn the wheel clockwise to open the flower and counterclockwise to close.”
Recently Nathan Smith moved to the Six Mile area outside of Nelson, relocating his workshop to a location on Highway 3A.
The change of scene seems to have sparked his creativity to new heights. Again this year, Smith incorporates kinetics into his interactive sculpture on display here. And what a magnificent piece of art it is! Bloom is, in a word, beautiful. Its attractiveness is compounded by the motion he incorporates into the piece, inviting the observer to witness the magic he has created.
The sculpture sits on a solid metal base of cross arms. Underneath them is a floral-patterned wheel mounted horizontally. The stem (axle) rises in the centre to the large bulbous heart of the piece. In glorious white-tipped pink metal, rows of wavy, scalloped petals flow concentrically from a large polished sphere at the centre. Drooping leaves surround the stem.
Turn the wheel and Bloom does exactly that; the other way and it closes in upon itself. The replication of nature – opening its petals to the sun, closing them at night – is uncanny, and extremely clever.
“I’ve been exploring kinetics more and more in the past few years,” Smith says. “Particularly in my public pieces, it’s where I can best incorporate motion and audience participation.”
Bloom is undeniably lovely, displaying the progression in Smith’s sculpting and kinetic incorporation very well. “It took some time to plan and figure it all out, but once beyond that, it was crafting the parts and making sure it functioned as I wanted it to,” he says modestly.
His company – Sunsmith Design – continues to keep him busy, producing a wide range of unique, exquisite metal gates, furnishings, fixtures, tables and chairs. Obviously, he is enjoying the new work quarters, both spatially and creatively. Bloom is certainly proof of that – it is a marvellously inventive sculpture, one he should be, and is, very proud of.
“I’m inspired by the sun and nature always. This year’s piece draws from that, and it has worked out nicely.” Attractive and interactive, Bloom is sure to be a popular sculpture at this year’s event.