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This project was a temporary sculpture in the park outside the AGR in the summer of 2018.

Nature Pods: the process

Hello, I am Joviel Buenavente, Sean Whalley's student assistant for the Art Gallery of Regina's Roadside Attractions Nature Pods project installed in the park outside the AGR. I am in my fourth year in the BFA program at the University of Regina. I am mainly a watercolour painter, but have been working with sculptures and dimensional form since I took a sculpture class from Sean.

Sean Whalley's Initial Sketch of the Nature Pods

Sean and I started with sourcing out the materials. We went to a local [metalshop?] to grab a few different stocks - 3/16 inches and 1/4 inches. The thinner  stock was used for the smaller pods, while the thicker ones were used for the bigger pods.

We then proceeded on making the first Pod.

All of the pods start out the same - with a template drawn in chalk on the floor. The template serves a couple thing; 1) It makes sure that the base rings are the proper size and 2) that all cross section pieces are fairly consistent. 

Template for the Pod shape

The wires are then measured and cut to length in the chop saw. Both ends are grounded down in preparation for welding. 

The cross section pieces are bent by hand in a vice carefully bending it each time and then laying it back on top of the template to check the curve.

It is easier to bend the stock back to shape compared to the rings by simply putting it back on the viceand bending it the other way.

The smaller pods' cross sectioin pieces are from one piece and the bigger pods are made up of two  halves. Each pods has anywhere from 3-5 cross section pieces to form the shape. 

The rings were bent on either the Planetary Ring Roller, the Circle Bender, or by hand in the vice. The smaller ones are bent with the Planetary Ring Roller and the bigger rings are bent on the Circle Bender. The PRR is great for making tiny adjustments, however, it takes a lot more passes for the stock to start bending in the proper curve. The CB, on the other hand, bends the stock with relative ease, but, you can also over-bend the wire easily. And trying to stretch out the wire is a pain.

The oblong rings needed to be bent by hand and periodically checked on top of the template.

Each pods has anywhere from 4-6

rings that vary in size depending on the shape of the pod.

A bent wire following the template

the install

Then all the pieces are welded together. First, the base ring is welded closed. Then the cross sections held in place to the base ring with magnets and then welded to the base ring. And then the rings on to the cross section pieces.

Weld all the intersecting parts and you will have the armature for a pod. The oblong shapes were a bit trickier to make. the template can only be used ones and all of the pieces has to bent by hand on the vice.

We traced the bases of the finished pods onto paper, cut them out, and brought them to the installation site to dry-fit the pieces together and get a better idea of the spacing and placement. We decided to group the three biggest pods together and the smaller ones together.


Sean also brought in a surprise for Holly. Sean proposed the idea of making faux rocks to add to the Nature Pods. Holly was hesitant at first, but soon agreed to the small surprise.


Sean and I, for the next couple days, were weaving branches into the armature, covering gaps in between the steel, or fanning out the branches so it cover most of the surface.


Keep on weaving branches into the armature and soon enough, you will have a Nature Pod!

Make sure to check out the completed Nature Pods in front of the Art Gallery of Regina and watch it transform and change throughout the summer!

Thanks to the Media, Arts, and Performance Faculty's work placement program at the University of Regina for partnering with the Art Gallery of Regina. Thank you Holly and Jess at the AGR for giving me life skills and an inside look as to how you run your gallery. And a massive special thanks to Sean Whalley for picking me to be the student assistant and work on this amazing project!

You can check out more information on the Roadside Attractions project by clicking here.

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