Spider Clan Totem

November 2016

Palm Desert, CA

Tsa ho pa (Wah-Zha-Zhi [Osage] Native American Spider Clan Totem – sculpture name is “spider clan” in Osage) Tsa ho pa is a 9’ high, 9’ wide and 0.75’ deep welded steel depiction of the Osage nation’s Spider Clan Totem. The base is 2’ wide x 5.5’ long and would comfortably fit on an existing concrete pad.

Project narrative: Tsa ho pa’s intent is to honor the Osage nation.

The tribal history and tradition of the origin of the spider totem: “The Osages divided themselves into gentes (clans). Each gens (clan) chose a symbol for life - one that was strong, beautiful and courageous - of which they and their future generations would be proud. However one of the gens was negligent in choosing a symbol, so that when they began their search all but the coyote, skunk and a few other undesirable animals were
taken. Therefore this gens’ members went out on the trails to search for a symbol they could use.
As the leader walked along, he walked into a spider web. Clearing it from his face he said: “You little black thing, why do you build your house over the trails and cause us to run into them?” The spider said: “For what are you searching that you cannot see where you are going?” and the leader said, “We are looking for a symbol for our gens, so get out of our way.”
The spider then said, “ Why not take me as a symbol for your gens?” The leader put his hand over his mouth so that the spider could not see him laughing, while his people behind him tittered. Then he asked the spider: “Why do you think you would make a good life symbol
for a gens of the great Osages?” The spider answered: “Where I am, I build my house and where I build my house, all things
come to it.”
(adapted from the Osage Nation Museum web site: http://www.osagetribe.com/museum/info_sub_page.aspx?subpage_id=2)

Project materials: the sculpture and base are fabricated of MIG welded 1/8” carbon steel plate. It is painted with several coats of catalyzed deep red automobile enamel. The 2’ wide x 5.5’ long base is painted with black catalyzed automobile enamel.

Installation: the base would be bolted to the concrete pad with 3/8” diameter x 5” long concrete anchors.

Life expectancy: Tsa ho pa would be structurally unaffected by climate changes, heat, cold or UV light. The automobile paint will last at least 25 -35 years, after which it could be easily repainted. There are no special ongoing requirements and no needs for access to electricity, water, etc.

Required maintenance: routine maintenance – keeping the grass cut around the base, removing organic detritus, and removing bird droppings that might accumulate would be all that would be required.

Fabrication / Installation Photos

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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 degreased.

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