Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Modern Metal Stabiles from Mark Leary Designs

Stabile: The Unnamed

 On flexibility
“Don’t give up on where you want to go,” bear explained.
“Just be open to taking different roads to get there.”

Thoughts while making
“Be careful,” she said. “It’s tender.” And I could see it was. Time bruised in reds and blues. “Please be gentle.”

What do you think of when you hear the word “steel”? Perhaps strength or hardness? Or maybe a steely gaze, bracing yourself against the unpleasant or difficult?

“Where you press,” she said, “will leave a mark.” And it was true. A thousand stories etched there. “Please be kind.”

As an alloy, steel is made from carbon and iron. Iron which makes up more than 5% of earth’s crust. Iron which changed history. Iron which is essential for life.
“The harder you push,” she said, “the more it will resist.” And she spoke the truth. Distant memories bending shadows. “Please be soft.”

I use large sheets of galvanized steel for my mobiles, cut with tempered steel shearers that are heavy to the hand—nearly two pounds. Force is required.
Yet steel is a funny thing, both strong *and* malleable—its atoms able to shapeshift without breaking their metallic bonds. There’s a balance, then, as I work the metal in my hands, asking it for permission, inviting it to become.
At its best, it’s a symbiotic relationship, man and metal, idea and execution, the making infused with flow.
Some days, however, we do not see eye to eye, that metal and me. And today was such a day. I was not gentle with it. I was not soft in my approach. And I was not kind in the words I spoke to myself.
Eventually, I took a page out of metal’s malleability book. I put aside the mobile I was working on, and let the metal show me what it wanted to be. And these are what came to be. I can’t tell you how happy I am.

Where’s a place you can stop pushing so hard on how you think life is supposed to be and just appreciate what it is?

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