Optical Sculpture

Optical sculpture possesses a range of possibility unlike any medium I have experimented with. Cardboard itself can be amazing. I have learned quite a bit about making sculpture with cardboard, and I have only gotten started, The potential is mindboggling. I became obsessed with it almost six years ago, designing structural projects I cut from scrap on the laser. Since, I have presented at two conferences on Cardboard, and its use in unconventional ways. It is a media that speaks to reuse, repurpose, and our waste in the environment.

I didn’t consider using cardboard in my sculpture, till I was asked to show alongside another metal sculptor. I took the opportunity to explore a different medium, with admittedly limited initial results. It didn’t come together till I started to use scans, realistic imagery, and playing with light. There are about a half dozen ways to use optical techniques to make visually stunning, monumental, and architectural sculpture. Currently I am looking at crafting hybrid pieces, half metal / half cardboard. I am also experimenting with other panel material, such as concrete, drywall, and plastic, combining these techniques with optical devices like mirrors, glass or polished aluminum.

Reflection I and II


This piece is an installation for the current Exhibition, “Waste Not”. The exhibition highlights art using recycled or repurposed materials. “Reflection I and II” is made from cardboard.

Reflection I and II
Cardboard silhouette 13″ x 114″ by 70″.

The Exhibition will be on display through February of 2021, and spans the 1500 and 1400 blocks of Washington Ave. in Uptown Racine, WI. If you’re around join us for the opening, 5:00 to 9:00 pm Saturday December 12th. It will be conducted outdoors with plenty of room to mask and stay safely distanced.

Valentine Hearts 2016

Main heart imageFor those of you following my Facebook posts, here are the hearts in the series I created.

Black Heart #4 Yellow Heart #4 Yellow Heart #5 Yellow Heart #6Black Heart #7Black Heart #8Black Heart #9Black Heart #10Black Heart #11Black Heart #13Black Heart #14Black Heart #15Black Heart #16Red Heart #4Red Heart #5Red Heart #6Red Heart #9Red Heart #10Black Heart #3Black Heart #6Black Heart #12

Once again, I can’t thank all my friends enough for making the show really fun. The support and response to the videos, as well as the paintings, has been great.

These are encaustic paintings on wood panels, in simple pine frames. They measure slightly under 8″ by 8″ and are about 1.5″ thick. Any are available for purchase for $20, plus the shipping charges. Just give me a shout. P.S. they look really great grouped.









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Me Welding Dunkbot – Photo by Karen Bean

Dunkbot Biomechanical model currently on display at Field Museum.

Here it is!

Here it is!

In 2008 I had an opportunity to help Mark Westneat Ph.D with a Biomechanical model of a Dunkelosteous, a prehistoric fish, to test its bite strength. The model was filmed for an episode of History Channel’s series “Evolve”. We had a three minute segment in the “Jaws and Claws” episode. We smashed all kinds of stuff in the jaws, and had a generally good time. The model is currently on display with the Field Museum’s new show, “Biomechanics The Machine Within.” There’s even a second Dunkbot traveling Europe!


“Transitional Figure Study 2” I worked on for a Show with Anderson Arts Center. Originally I hoped to incorporate some yard fired ceramic pieces, but It didn’t work out.

These Figure Studies are from the RAC Show I did with Gary and Doug a couple of years back. Doug Nicholson is currently displaying them In Envi Ultralounge, Main St. in Racine.


You saw this before?



Maker Faire Detroit

Went to my first Maker Faire, I was overwhelmed and inspired to say the least.


This is The Henry Ford Museum. An amazing place, both beautiful, and elegant with Iconic American Artifacts. Truly Unique. 2


The Halls are spacious and engaging. Especially for a Futurist Enthusiast as myself. 10 20

I’ve owned five Beetles, never black though. 30 31 32

There was an impressive amount of furniture, the topic of the day for me. This is particularly interesting, in that it looks CNC made, and uses the slot fit style. 33

Along with the Faire is an educational component, where kids and adults can make stuff. And there are cool things everywhere. 33a 34

Might have to steal this design myself. Then it was on to Shopbot! This is Matt. He’s Thea’s husband. He gave me great origami references, and we talked of the connections to digital. Didn’t get a shot of Thea or their daughter, Fjora. Oops!

Here is some Atfab work. They are worth Google-ing if you like.      (Paste in browser -filson-rohrbacher.com.webloc)35 40

And this is Bill Young. He is the Mick Jagger of the Digital realm. I talked with him about the troubles I’ve been having, but as I suspected, it wasn’t good news. bill has a Shopbot column   (Paste in browser -www.shopbotblog.com/index.php/category/bill)42

These are shots of a chair study, where I’ve been working on how to deal with tolerance. 50

I’ve gotten to needing to verify each joint size independently as I cut.

According to Bill this is typical. There is no shortcut to tolerance. You need different parameters for each piece you cut, damn!



Here are the true geniuses of the “Digital Revolution”. Anne Filson, and Gary Rohrbacher. Two of the most amazing minds I have ever met. They are the most forward thinking, innovative architects I’ve ever encountered. Their work is ground breaking, check them out on the web. We talked extensively about modular fabrication. They are into reuse, favor everyday materials.modular design, and open sourcing their work. I don’t know whereto start. I hope to get them at the Camp Shopbot we will have in October at Field.80 90

Along with Bill, they gave me advice on our current cases.

We’ve been having trouble shearing back board to the laminate to get an even better seal, but again the answers were not has simple as I hoped.

To shear laminate, we may need to develop specialized beds and hold downs, and utilize a two step process.

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So back to the Faire! 130

Kids made these robots, then played basketball! I hope to connect our Education department with the Maker Faire people. I got to meet the owner of Maker Magazine, Dave. He’s looking to hold a Chicago Maker Faire, and he likes the idea of having it at Field Museum! 140 142 144 146 150 160

And I even caught a performance by Herbert Duetsch, the co-inventor of the Moog Synthesizer.This is the actual original prototype he developed along with Ben Moog in 1964. Still plays fine. got to meet and talk with him as well, told him I can’t wait for his next fifty years of innovation. 162 164 165 170

Like I said, BEST DAY EVER! Bill asked me to the New Youk Faire in September. We’ll see…

Using A Table Saw Safely

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  • Woodworking is inherently dangerous.
  • Before using a table saw understand the tool and its potential hazards.
  • Before using a table saw understand fully the conditional and operational restrictions as outlined in this manual.
  • The following pages outline some basic operations.
  • All cuts performed on the table saw in our Shops require the use of guard, hood, and splitter.
  • Specialty cuts such as dado, rabbet or cutting grooves should be discussed with the Shop Supervisor before executing

Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.11.20 AM Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.21.14 AM Never stand directly behind the Blade. There are no operations on table saw that require you to stand directly behind the blade. Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.24.06 AM Visualize an invisible wall through the blade and make sure your head, body and vital organs NEVER penetrate this wall. You will have to put your arms through it, but this is not as dangerous as placing your body there. Position yourself left of the blade while ripping, and either right, or left of blade while crosscutting. Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.27.44 AM     Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.29.49 AM Angle yourself slightly away from the saw and position your feet about shoulder width apart. Then imagine a line dividing your hips in two, and point it directly at your cut zone. This helps keep your body weight directed towards your work. Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.31.37 AM   Always keep both feet on the ground, and at least one hand in contact with the work. This is what is referred to as a “Three Point Stance.”   Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.40.39 AM   Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.42.21 AM Pay close attention to the position of your hands when ever the saw is on. Avoid crossing your arms for any operation, and never reach into a moving blade for any reason. This is a good principal for all equipment. It is important whenever using a saw, to pay attention to how things are held. Always use breakaway grips, and practice different grips to keep your fingers away from danger.     Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.47.03 AM Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.48.38 AM Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.49.31 AM Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.49.43 AM Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.50.00 AM Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.50.10 AM Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.46.17 AM     Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.53.54 AM   INTRODUCTION All operations on table saw, no matter how complex, fall into one of these two categories. The operations compliment each other and should be considered opposites. The Rip Fence and Miter Guide (crosscutting) should never be used at the same time.

  • Ripping refers to making long narrow cuts typically with the grain. Rip cuts are made with the Rip Fence. You use the Rip Fence any time your stock is longer than it is wide.
  • Crosscuts are short cuts across wide boards, usually against the grain. They are performed with the Miter Guide. The Miter Guide is used any time your stock is wider than it is long. NO EXCEPTIONS!!!

The following pages go over the physical and theoretical steps suggested to perform these cuts safely. Go over them closely, and be sure you understand the material completely before cutting.     Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.59.00 AM Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.58.42 AM



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In addition to imagining an invisible wall traveling through the blade, imagine lines across the saw in front of the blade and behind the splitter. Use these lines to divide the saw into zones. Familiarize yourself with each zone and its rules.








Field Museum, Field Museum, Field Museum. Hey God! I tried that on Facebook yesterday, to no avail. Perhaps your divinely scope needs recalibration? Cheers!