Monday, November 26, 2012


We follow stories through pages, tracing a winged migration route through the imagined world. Writing guides us along the flight path in a weaving course of words creating stories. Leaves of paper left to the winds of the tale... hands turning pages. 

Our spoken words and thoughts have been written, printed, recorded, placed on film then miniaturized to a digital pixel of the hand print on a computer keyboard. Libraries are now world word information centers holding our collective stories and marking the trail to expanding and understanding other ways of thinking, seeing and dreaming. 

We recently spent several months working on a commissioned sculptural work for a new library in the Salt Lake City area. The Viridian Library and Event Center is a beautiful new Leeds Gold rated building at the city center of West Jordan south of Salt Lake City. The art committee chose us to produce a work that could integrate the three areas of the building, create a flow between the library, the central lobby and the event center within the building complex.  

The resulting design of the work came about through various means. We wanted the work to involve a simple form of flying and floating paper, letter forms and pixelated color. Within the library space were deep light wells extending up through the central lobby atrium entry as well as the main library room. The library sky lights also extended up through the second floor staff offices and further to the roof top at 50' from the library floor. What a great aerial space to work with! 

The aerial sculpture traces a trail from the pictographic to the formation of letters and words, to paper, book, library and to the digital language of binary information process. We imagined the entire work to trace our evolution from the beginning of language to the present form of global information sharing. It's been a long journey.

The work itself is also long....close to five hundred feet from one end to the other. It meanders and floats through the ceiling spaces, into the skylight wells and down hallways at the facility creating discovery areas and flashing changing color patterns from the dichroic units of the 'cloud' mobiles. A cascade of letters descend from the high light wells in the library and weave among the paper and flying book forms. The paper then floats into the entry lobby, up the central skylight to a flock of gently moving mobiles. The trail of paper forms then drifts to the Event center hallway transforming into cloud-like pixel grid mobiles that float above. 

After a week of installing the mobile units the staff at the library were very pleased with the results. The gentle movements and soft color changes set a quiet tone to the building and we hope will lift the spirits of the people visiting the library and event center there. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Maybe kites are the prime form of artwork for the outdoors. Some can be as large as billboards offering some prime space for shouting whatever message the flyer wishes the world to know. Kite making is an art and craft available to all as almost a folk art form throughout the world's cultures. We like to think of kites as a celebrationist form of expression. The act of flight being a magical lifting of our cares. It is the play of color and form in the invisible medium of wind and air currents that delights and brings our eyes up and spreads that smile across our faces while flying. .

Kites could even be one of the highest art forms depending, of course, on how much string you might have on your spool. We've often been tempted to fly our kites above the great art museums of the world so we can say "We've shown our kites at the Louvre, the Metropolitan, the Museum of Modern Art..." But the real show place is in the sky gallery and tacked to that beautiful blue and white ceiling.

We were asked to put up a kite show at the Museum of Outdoor Arts in South Denver in the city of Englewood for the spring wind season. While the kites have been stilled in their wind dance, it is inside within the doors of the gallery that reveals an up close view of our kites.

The kites include a view of over thirty years of wind blown passion. Melanie's new photo kites are featured using printing processes onto polyester covers. A special collection of Japanese kites that were gathered from numerous trips to Japan are also included as early influences in my early kite making.

Here's a few quick views from the show...

the entry to the museum kite show

opening night was full of delights

Melanie Walker's photo kites

the Japanese kite gallery

Star Man kite by George Peters

Cloud Kite Triptych by Melanie Walker

Lady Bug kites and Sky Bird kite

Te Manu kite by George Peters

Japanese kites by Hideo Matsutani
In another very small enclosed gallery in the museum there is a show of miniature kites. Some are from the Airworks Studio collection along with others from the extensive kite collections of the Seattle based Drachen Foundation kite archive.

The "Sky on a String" kite exhibition will be at the Museum of Outdoor Arts from March 10th to July 21st, 2012. If you're in the Denver area, stop by and enjoy a wind blown colorful feast.

For a slide show of the exhibition, visit the Airworks Studio Flickr photo site here..