Alumni Create 15ft Wide 3D Metal Thunderbird for Baraboo College | Education

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“It was like a space that needed something,” Kohlman said, adding that project managers had discussed various options including a mural, graphic or trophy.

He said they had given Statz “free rein” to design the artwork, which turned out to be “beautiful”.






A 3D steel Thunderbird made by Baraboo alumni Brad Statz and John Niles perches on a nest overlooking the new common area of ​​Jack Young Middle School during the school’s inauguration on October 25 in Baraboo. Welded onto a steel cage that defines the shape of the bird, 589 steel feathers, each cut and shaped by hand.


SUSAN ENDRES / Republic News


“We’ve had a good track record with Brad doing something special for these projects, and frankly he’s one of the best builders in Baraboo. If you own a house, you’re going to have to wait years before you can get Brad to do something, ”Kohlman said.

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The guideline from the start, Statz said, was to create a focal piece of art that would grab attention. He and members of the planning committee, including former district administrator Lori Mueller and former board treasurer Sean McNevin, discussed making him a Thunderbird, the Baraboo school mascot, and eventually proposed that it be three-dimensional.

Although he has largely focused on woodworking in the past, he said he has started mixing metal and wood when making furniture and cabinetry in recent years.

Helped by Niles, Statz started the Thunderbird by fashioning a steel round bar cage that would serve as a scaffolding for 589 steel feathers.






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An almost 15-foot-wide and about 9-foot-tall 3D Thunderbird perches on a nest overlooking the new common area of ​​Jack Young Middle School during the school’s inauguration on October 25 in Baraboo. Baraboo alumni Brad Statz and John Niles designed the sculpture with 589 steel feathers, each cut and shaped by hand and welded to a steel cage.


SUSAN ENDRES / Republic News


“Everything was folded by hand,” Statz said. “All the feathers and everything was hand cut and shaped. It was like a five step process just to give each feather shape and texture and whatever had to be done before it could be welded.

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