Butterfly Effect – DONE!!

I’ve been working on “Butterfly Effect” for a year.  It was commissioned by the LA County Arts Commission for a new mental health clinic.  The focus is on CHANGE.  Changing oneself, the community, the environment….  And how one small change can have a ripple effect – a “Butterfly Effect”. At an early presentation I was told there would be more volume than walls.  I was asked if I could make something 3D. Considering that my usual medium is 2D Fabric Collage, this was quite a change. But I was game!

The finished sculpture is 10′ x 16′ in plan.  The butterflies hang down 12.5′.  Once installed, I was relieved that the scale seems perfect for the space.  I did most of my designing with a 3D graphics program (thank you Paul!)  I had never worked with 3D graphics before.  Would it work?  Hallelujah!!!  The sculpture looks just like the renderings. It was an amazing experience!!!

Installation happened last Wed and Thurs (June 17/18).  I’d mocked up parts of it in my studio, but I’d never seen the whole thing assembled.  And I’d certainly never seen it starting at 23 feet above the floor!

Day One was protecting the floor, getting the scissor lifts in, unwrapping everything, hanging the panel (the one thing that took 4 guys), and getting everything ready for Day Two.  The second day was crazy!  Branches went up.  Bags of butterflies were hung from their little widgets.  And then the butterflies were released.  Yikes!!!

IMG_8226 IMG_8342IMG_8357 IMG_8363 IMG_8367IMG_8374 IMG_8383 IMG_8393 IMG_8421 IMG_8441 IMG_8401IMG_8400IMG_8464 IMG_8443Merle IMG_8607

I took a few days to drive back up the coast and decompress a bit.  ‘Just got back to Sac Tuesday night.  Now on to the next project…..

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5 thoughts on “Butterfly Effect – DONE!!

  1. It looks great, Merle! What material did you end up using for the branches? Are you going to post up your renderings? And is it just a coincidence that those 4 guys are dressed alike in the first photo? 😛

  2. Hi Merle,
    Thank you for sharing this project and installation. The magnitude of the butterflies seems astonishing from the pictures, but I imagine it is much more beautiful and powerful in person.
    your work is always exceptional.

    Best Regards,
    Karen Zehnder
    Ground Up Interiors

    • So sorry for the delayed response. If you click on Portfolio on my website and go to Sculpture, the address for Butterfly Effect is included.

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