Kinetic Sculpture - Lin Emery -          A Visit with Abe Geasland

Kinetic Sculpture - Lin Emery - A Visit with Abe Geasland

A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit with Lin Emery.  She made the most fascinating kinetic sculpture and I wanted to discover how they were made and how she designed them.  Sadly, our meeting never happened and she passed away in 2021.  But…. opportunity presented itself in a unique way!

While talking to some friends (who originally sparked my current artistic journey with mobile sculpture) about my most recent mini-grant project, I also mentioned that kinetic sculpture was next on my list of things I need to explore.  They told me they knew Lin Emery’s fabricator, Abe Geasland, and would help me setup a meeting in Lin’s studio before it was packed up and closed down.  WHAT!  A missed opportunity hasn’t been missed (except for meeting Lin and speaking with her at length about her design process).  It was like the perfect Christmas present to meet with Abe, the fabricator behind the designer!


Desktop Model at Arthur Roger Gallery
by Lin Emery

After contacting Abe I was able to setup a meeting January 7th, 2022 and we met in Lin Emery's main New Orleans studio.  I never imagined that Lin had a fabrication team who took her designs and built them from the ground up.  As someone who single-handedly designs and builds my mobiles I have never even explored the thought of having someone take my designs and fabricate them for me in a larger size.  Something to think about in the future for sure. Lin’s design process started with paper and straws or small pipe and that magical thing that makes all designs possible.... hot glue.  

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After playing with and tweaking her design for hours Lin would give her mock-up to her fabrication team with some specifications regarding size, materials to be used including bearing sizes, etc, and they would build a desktop model.  If the design remained interesting and worked well, a full size 10 to 18 foot model would be built.  

Wow!  Really!  What a concept!  So, in my mind I feel like Abe Geasland is truly the artist of her work as well as the other fabricators on her team.  Of course Lin was involved every step of the way in the design and construction phases of the sculptures but her fabrication team really made her vision come to life!  

I was allowed to look through the some of boxes of her designs, each one with handwritten notes and specifications.  There must have been a couple hundred of them!
        
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Abe was kind enough to answer some of my remedial questions like how to fabricate 3-d parts.  I’ve never taken a fabrication class and most books on the matter focus on the cone or box.  Thanks to Abe I now have a much better understanding of the fabrication process from crafting dimensional parts, bearing assemblies, and balancing from the center of gravity.  I’m so excited to make my first kinetic sculpture which will be a very simple one at first.  The day after I got home I got right to work and made a very simplified sculpture and hope to make it come to life very soon! I’ll be happy if it doesn’t just spin apart but I’m confident it won’t.
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Mock-up of my first kinetic sculpture
by Carolyn Weir

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