Grain Family

Grain Family

In metal spinning, flat aluminum discs are spun on a lathe akin to how a pot is thrown on a wheel, but instead of hands dictating the shape, a wooden mold is what defines the profile. By using centrifugal force and levers, aluminum is expertly shaped over a maple mold to create a variety of profiles.

When Brendan was first exploring this process, our metal spinner warned him that occasional traces of wood grain from the tooling could be seen in the finished parts. The marks could be sanded out, but the comment instead sparked an idea and became the focal point of our Grain Family. 

Intrigued by how we could celebrate these marks rather than hide them, we invented a process to capture the texture of the wood grain on the metal shade.

Through careful selection of wooden boards and understanding of the mold-making process, we create shades with dimensions specifically designed to highlight the wood grain. We then sandblast and oil the molds to further raise the grain and accentuate it.

The result after spinning the aluminum shades is reminiscent of board-form concrete. With our Grain Family, the textured surface of our spun metal shades captures the soul of the tree that helped make it. After 25 or so parts the wood grain becomes compressed and we have to take them back to our sandblaster to be blasted again. Eventually we retire each mold to become sculptural objects around our Studio.