Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007
Show and Tell: Jacob’s Ladder as a 12-Gauge Steel Sculpture
It’s a rare event when my day job and Thingamababy intersect. I’m helping publicize a town-gown collaboration that has art students at Humboldt State University creating sculptures that will be installed next week in downtown bulb-outs in Arcata, Calif.
“Bulb-out” describes a curb that juts out into a roadway at a street corner to slow vehicle traffic and protect pedestrians at a crosswalk.
Jimmie Nord is a junior in an intermediate studio art class who is designing one of these sculptures. Oh, but it’s not the one you see in this photo.
While interviewing him for a news release, he mentioned a cool-sounding Jacob’s Ladder he had made. A Jacob’s Ladder is a folk toy in which vertical blocks revolve and appear to tumble downward.
When revisiting the campus sculpture lab today, I was lucky to be doing so as he prepared to transport the ladder home, this being a week before the end of the semester. He gave me a quick demonstration.
The blocks in his ladder are 12-gauge steel sheets forged to put a bend in them, secured with used bicycle chains obtained from local bike shops. The base is a large metal gear found at a scrap and salvage yard. A wheel crank located at the top of the sculpture, also from a scrap yard, turns the steel blocks.
It was quite a sight to see those flipping metal blocks.
If that weren’t cool enough, Jimmie moonlights off-campus as a behavioral respite worker for children with disabilities, often those with autism.
And if you’re excited now…
- HOW TO: make a Jacob’s Ladder (a small one)
- Jacob’s Ladder at KidsSurplus.com
- Jacob’s Ladder at Grandparent’s Village
- Jacob’s Ladder by Schylling at Amazon
Hey, thank you thinga-reader Jeremiah for sharing this sculpture with MAKE blog.