This piece isn’t a ‘real’ crucible any more than Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible was really about the Salem Witch Trials. But it is one of the pieces I made at The Crucible in Oakland. And yeah, it kind of is a crucible. We’ll get to The Naming and other symbolism in a bit.
I have to start with Clyde the Fish. When I made that sculpture, all of the cutout pieces from the 3/8″ plate steel yielded these really awesome chunks with all this slag on the edges from the plasma cutting (see closeup). This is my style … I love raw and primitive. Doesn’t mean I don’t like or am incapable of refined and highly crafted work (note the slick African Mahogany base). Just my aesthetic tends towards more ‘edge.’
When I had these hefty little chunks of metal in my hands I started thinking of (of all things) the second Lord of the Rings movie during the Battle of Helms Deep when the outer wall was breached by the Ork carrying the cauldron filled with gunpowder. The pieces reminded me of those huge (CGI) blocks from the wall scattering in all directions. So, it started with me needing to build a Wall (quips relating to the Pink Floyd album or current POTUS delusions withheld). This is what I ended up with.
There is indeed a crucible in the center. That was fun – I went into the blacksmith shop at The Crucible with a cutout 6″ circle of 1/4″ plate steel and worked with an instructor to form the hemisphere you see in the center. He would heat the plate with the oxyacetylene torch and then place it over a (very heavy) steel mold and I would pound it with a 12 lb sledge hammer. That’s what I call metalworking!
Now we have a crucible (a crucible of creation of sorts?) with the butterfly (symbolizing the metamorphosis) and the bolts of energy coming in from the sides (think: Tesla coils but something I could make). I’ll leave it to the viewer/reader to decide how they want to connect the dots.
The other nice things about this piece is this is where I started using the plasma cutter as a carving tool. You can see that on the uprights in the first detail picture.