Fluttering Rainbow

November 2016

Palm Desert, CA

A Rainbow Butterfly alights on a cattail flower and studies its surroundings. Observing that the cattail flower is dry and inedible it thinks: “I wonder where a self-respecting butterfly can get a drink around here!”

Description: The overall sculpture is approximately 10 feet high. The butterfly’s wings are approximately 3 ½ feet high, with a 6 foot wingspan. The sculpture is 5.6 feet wide at its widest point which is about 5 feet from grade. The cattail is approximately 7.9’ high at its tallest point.

The butterfly itself is brilliant in color. Its body is white with reddish brown longitudinal stripes painted with catalyzed automobile acrylic, highlighted with silver glitter and “diamond dust” that sparkles in the sun. Its 1’9” antennae, along with its legs, are made of steel rods, encrusted with a mix of red, brown and purple glitter and “diamond dust” to give them a sparkling, glittering effect. The wings are solidly constructed of a steel armature, with both colored and clear translucent acrylic inserts enhanced by luminescent paint and glitter highlights.

Fabrication: Fluttering Rainbow’s body is constructed of a 1/4 inch welded steel rod armature covered by painted 20 gauge steel sheet. The wings’ skeletal structure is constructed of ¼ inch and 1/8-inch diameter welded steel rod. Its wings are 1/8” thick transparent clear and colored acrylic with silver, luminescent glitter and “diamond dust epoxied on them for additional sparkle in the sun.

The cattail’s stem is a 6-foot tall carbon steel tube, 3 inches in diameter with a 5/32-inch wall thickness. The 15-inch diameter cattail flower has a skeleton of 3/8-inch steel rebar, covered by 20-gauge, cold rolled, perforated carbon steel sheet. The perforations are ½ inch in diameter, and are staggered 11/16 inches on center. The cattail leaves are fabricated of the same perforated steel sheet. The leaves’ edges and central vertical vein are fabricated of 1/2 inch carbon steel pipe to which the perforated steel is welded for rigidity and robustness. The cattail stem, flower and leaves are chemically de-greased.

They are treated to accelerate oxidation, after which they are chemically neutralized prior to installation. The sculpture is welded to a 1/2” inch thick by 18” diameter circular carbon steel plate that would be bolted to a concrete pad at the installation site.

Installation: The central post is installed on the concrete slab with 4 concrete anchors. In successive order the cattail flower and the butterfly are all bolted to the central post, then the leaves are bolted on.

Fabrication / Installation Photos