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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Kitchen Shelf and Back splash

I enjoyed the challenge of designing, manufacturing and installing the following Kitchen shelf and back splash this past summer. Here are some pictures:

Glass Blowing Tools

I have a friend that is a glass blower and he asked me to make him some tools for glass Blowing. Here are a few pictures of them.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Salmon Sculpture

I finished this sculpture Salmon wall sculpture a while ago for a client. Here are a few pictures showing the part of the progress and the final sculpture, as well as some detail shots.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Progress on the Totems for the Creative Kids Musem at the TELUS World of Science - Calgary

Update on the TOTEMS for
The Creative Kids Museum at the
TELUS World of Science - Calgary

My name is Geoff Sandhurst, and I am a full time sculptor. I usually work in metal, and I am enjoying working with a new medium – recycled water pipe for the Totems project for the Mindscapes Exhibit at Creative Kids Museum at the TELUS World of Science – Calgary.

The raw material for the Totems is recycled water pipes. They are heavier than they look!

The first Totem ready for delivery – if my son’s army of Bionicles can be defeated! This Totem will have Textures applied to it at CKM before installation.

The grid drawn out as a guideline for the animal tracks on the second totem. I planned the tracks on paper, but I had to keep in mind that the flat paper pattern was telling a story on a totem in the round in spinning sections.

There are many different kinds of animal tracks on each piece of the second totem. I am carving the totems with a variety of carbide burrs on a hand held drill and a foredom drill (like a dremel).

The sections will spin on each other, and when matched up correctly, you will be able to see the path that each animal has taken around the totem.

Thank you to the CKM at the TELUS World of Science – Calgary for the opportunity to work on this fascinating project. I am looking forward to keeping you updated on its progress. You can subscribe to updates on my blog at

Geoff Sandhurst

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Acadia School Presentation to Room 22

I am looking forward to meeting the students of room 22 at Acadia School in Calgary tomorrow. I am honoured to be invited to present to their class.

Thank you for this opportunity to share with you.



Kinetic Sculpture for TELUS World of Science, Calgary

Update on the Kinetic Sculpture for
The TELUS World of Science, Calgary

The Junk Yard where I found the Massey Harris Tractor for the Kinetic Sculpture

My name is Geoff Sandhurst, and I am a full time metal sculptor. I have been passionate about working with found and formed metal since I first experienced welding at Speedy Muffler King as a muffler installer in 1982 when I was 17 years old. I find it interesting to learn how people started in careers. It can be an intentional path, like my sister-in-law. She knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a scientist and she maintained a pretty consistent career path to become one. Sometimes, people are born into families that run their own business and have the opportunity to continue within it. It can be a career path started in the education system, as one experiences different options, or core subjects that are of interest. It can be a role model or a mentor that encourages someone in a direction. It can be a chance encounter that sparks an interest that was previously unimagined. That’s what happened to me. I always loved art, but didn’t have the opportunity to take art in high school. I think I would be an artist working in wood, if I had found a job as a cabinet maker, or an artist working with paper, if I had worked at a photocopying store. I feel driven to create and use what I know or what resources I have available, or experiment to try to do something new. I was exposed to metal work in my job, so I am a metal artist.

I ‘m honoured and excited to be contracted to create this kinetic sculpture for the TELUS World of Science, Calgary. The project developed through conversations about an interactive sculpture demonstrating the use gears and pulleys. The theme of the tractor was suggested as a man-made creation that has an impact on nature to tie in to the “Mindscapes’ area at the Creative Kids Museum at the TELUS World of Science, Calgary. This man made creation was given a twist – it was to transform into something else to show how man can interact with machines to cause change. Man’s impact can develop into something new, interesting, and helpful. It can also be terrifying and the impact not known for years to come.

I started the development of the kinetic sculpture with many sketches, taking the ideas discussed at the meetings and combining them in a variety of ways until the ideas started to gel together. I researched different gears and pulleys and looked at the work of other kinetic sculptors and found some amazing websites on the internet:

I recommend checking out following websites that I came across in my research:

Boston Museum of Science, The Clark Collection of Mechanical Movement Models

Theo Jansen, Kinetic Sculptor -

Arthur Ganson, Kinetic Sculptor -

The next stage was to create a small scale model of the sculpture. I first made one to work out the general movement of the artwork. Then I intended to create a full working model of the kinetic sculpture. After trying to source metal gears and pulleys to create a working model, I realized that it was not realistic to create a full working model. It was time consuming and was resulting in a model that would not be able to be replicated in large scale. The same types of gears were not necessarily readily available or cost effective when going from small scale to large scale. It was time to move into creating the actual sculpture.

1st maquette to work out movement of artwork.

Incompleted 2nd maquette with some working gears. My Daugher Kierra is turning the gears.

The sculpture has 3 main parts:

1. There is the gear box that drives the entire sculpture. It is to be encased in clear plastic so that everyone can see and experience how turning the valve with human power, drives the gears that move the sculpture.

2. The framework of the sculpture rises from the gearbox and attaches to the ceiling beams. It supports the kinetic artwork as well as allowing the movement of the sculpture.

3. The kinetic sculpture is the third component and the most challenging. It is made from found tractor parts and purchased new and used mechanical parts.

The Gear Box: The gear box phase is ongoing. I have sourced and received most of the gears for the gearbox. I am not satisfied with the size of the beveled gears that are the first gears to be driven by human power. I want something with more visual impact. I am looking for a crown and pinion now from a large truck or tractor. This is a photo of the sketch of the gear box on my drafting table.

I have started gathering parts for the artwork of the Kinetic Sculpture. Because I am working with found parts, I have to be creative and take the opportunity to purchase it while I can. I can’t go back and buy it later – it will be crushed or shipped elsewhere, like China! I have picked up lots of interesting items. Here are some of the parts I have found so far using a Massey Harris Tractor:

My daughter, Kierra’s, school is working with the students discussing “Legacy”. I have been thinking about what Legacy means to me. My great grandfather was an inventor with patents registered to his name. Both of my grandfathers were artists. One worked in wood and one drew in pen and ink. My father was also an artist drawing in pencil. My son, Caelin, is taking art classes on Wednesday evenings and I wonder – would he be doing this if I wasn’t an artist? Is he compelled to create as I am? Will he continue on as a professional artist, or just dabble with art as an adult? I don’t have the answers, but I do see a family history of artists standing behind my daughter and son. I imagine this older generations watching over the shoulders of these two young artists as they create.

I recently saw a video by Dewitt Jones, a photographer for National Geographic, . He talked about acting “as if”, when we think that we are not interested, do not care, or feel that something is beyond our abilities. I found this very empowering. I often work “as if”. I go on the internet and act “as if” I am a researcher. When I start with my first google search, or library visit, I often don’t’ know exactly who, what, where I am looking for. But I continue, acting “as if” I know how to find the information that I need. I learn more and more with each search on the internet and discussion with the librarians until I find what I am looking for.

When I am building a sculpture I act “as if” I am an artist. I don’t feel that I am one. An artist to me is Salvador Dali or Leonardo da Vinci. I act “as if” I know what I am making. I have an idea, but I don’t know if I will be able to find the parts, or have the time I need to make the parts. Many times my initial drawings come close to the sculpture, but sometimes the sculpture evolves into something completely different.

This kinetic sculpture is challenging, interesting and fun. I am looking forward to keeping you updated on its progress. You can subscribe to updates on my blog at

Geoff Sandhurst

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The search for Gears

I have been looking for bevelled gears 15-20" diameter for a large kinetic sculpture for the last couple of months. It's been a challenge. I have tried a number of local scrap yards, gear suppliers, repair shops, with no luck. I am now following some leads from contact at the CR4 The Engineer's Place,

Thank you to all the people that responded to my inquiry for gears. I am pursuing their leads and have appreciated connecting with their group.

I work in isolation in my studio, and I am finding the internet an amazing way to feel connected in the world wide community.

If anyone in the Calgary area has gears of this diameter please email me!

Thank you,


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fang Tooth (Deep Sea Fish) Sculpture

I recently completed Fangtooth, a sculpture of a deep sea fish. I am thinking to keep it in my personal collection.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sculptures For Sale

I am currently working on commissions and have the following 4 pieces available for purchase. Please contact me if you are interested in a commission or one of these sculptures. Thank you!

1. Title: Reproduction
••Formed Recycled Steel
•Approximately 3 feet in diameter

2. Aviator: $2800.00 Plus GST
•Recycled metal,
•Approximately 4 feet high x 2 ½ feet wide
•Moving neck, wings and Tie
3. Bass Fish
•Formed copper/brass/steel
•Approximately 2 feet x 1 foot
•wall mounted $5000.00

4. T-Rex
•$5000.00 + GST
•Approx 6 feet Tall
•Finished for indoor or outdoor Display
•Caterpillar parts and formed steel

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation Donation Completed

Here is the completed donation for the Alberta Institute of Wildlife Conservation's Gala on May 3, 2008. It took 60 hours to complete. They are just quick snapshots. See you at the Gala!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Great Horned Owl completed April 08

I have completed the commission of the Great Horned Owl. It was an incredible opportunity to research these amazing birds and create a realistic sculpture. I appreciated the opportunity. Thank you!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Article in THE AVENUE Magazine in Calgary, by Lynda Sea

I appreciated being profiled by Lynda Sea for The Avenue Magazine of Calgary, Alberta in the March 2008 issue. She included a fabulous picture of Alien III. The photo was taken by talented Calgary photographer, Guy Shulhan. Alien III was commissioned by Guy in 2007 after he saw my sculpture of Alien I at my studio.

Thank you to Lynda Sea and The Avenue for including me in the March issue and for permission to post the article here. I will post it tomorrow, as for some reason the image will not post tonight.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Career Guest Speaker question #2

Here is my answer to question #2 for the Career Day at Crescent Heights High School: What are the best and the worst things you can share with us about your job?

The worst part? keeping track of paperwork and keeping my books. Luckily, my wife, Corinne, helps out a lot with the paperwork. There are highs and lows with creativity. When I get into a low, its hard to break out of it.

The best part? I am my own boss and can generally work my own hours. However, this can lead to working too long, too late, too hard and leave little time for family and friends.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Career Day At Crescent Heights High School

I was disappointed to have to cancel my appearance at Career Day at Crescent Heights High School in Calgary. I was looking forward to meeting students interested in careers in the arts. I was stuck in the hospital with pneumonia. I have never been that sick before, and it's been a slow recovery. I am finally back to sculpting, with lots of breaks. I usually do not take breaks, so this has been a humbling experience for me.

I will tackle one question at a time, so it will take 8 entries to answer them all. If any students have questions for me, please feel free to have your teacher email them to me.

I received a list of questions to cover for Career Day. I am going to answer those questions here, so that any students that are interested can see what I would have talked about that day:
Question #1 of 8:
1. What has been your educational journey up to this point in your career?

I always loved drawing but my designated high school was an academic school with no art program. I didn't do well in school and had a lot of help studying from my mom. She was a high school teacher. I had poor reading skills and was in the lowest level classes. I did NOT enjoy school at all.

I ended up taking summer school correspondence courses to get all my credits to graduate high school. Looking back, I wish I had had the courage to go to the technical school that was available.

I was offered a job by my neighbour at a muffler shop when I was 17 . I learned to weld there. I think I would have applied my skills to art no matter where I worked. For example, if I had worked in a wood trade, like cabinetry, I might be a wood carver instead of a metal sculptor.

I would take the used parts and start building sculptures. One of my first was a 6 foot muffler man made out of mufflers, resonators, springs, pipes and brakes. Lucky for me, the area supervisor for the muffler shop was supportive of my art and had the muffler man on display outside his office for a while. It was also used in a fun company team building video and at a career day at SAIT. I have a couple of pictures of "Muffler Man" here. Please note he is wearing my hat!

I am telling you this story, because when I was your age, I started on the path towards two careers, one as a journeyman mechanic and one as a professional artist. It took me until I was 40 years old to finally become a full time artist. I am glad that I have another career to fall back on, but I wished that I had picked my back up career, instead of letting it pick me. I didn't plan my career path, and ended up just following through with the first real job I had in high school.

I enjoyed being a mechanic when I was working on the older vehicles. I didn't find electronics very exciting. As cars evolved, they started to have more electronic components, and my joy in working on newer cars faded. I miss the character of the older vehicles. I still love old cars and have a 67 GTO and a 67 Grand Prix.

I took private drawing lessons when I was a teenager. I took my mechanic's apprenticeship in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I took a one year apprenticeship in plumbing and learned how to hold a hammer drill at the top of a giant ladder, among other things!

Outside of work skills, I took a lost wax casting course and about 3 months of private lessons from a jeweller in the early 1990's.

In 1994, I read about a contest in Sculpture Magazine. On a whim, I made an entry. The magazine came out of the United States, and I never dreamed that I would actually be considered. However, I won first place for my design "Spawning Salmon" for CARHENGE, in Alliance NB ( . That was a huge educational experience for me. I was working full time as a mechanic, had a short deadline, and had to create, deliver and install the sculpture myself. Sometimes experience is the best teacher. I learned a great deal through the process.

In 1996, I took an excellent course in Haystack, Maine from Tom Muir. He is an amazing silver smith and although I only had a two week course with him, it has had a lifelong impact on me. You never know when you will meet someone that has an incredible impact on your life. When you have opportunities, take them, as they might never come again. I have been trying to take another course with Tom ever since, but my schedule and finances never meshed with his courses.

Another opportunity arose when I took a course from Jeff de Boer ( I had come across his work in Reader's Digest and admired his mouse armour. My wife, Corinne, was taking her break at work and was checking out the ACAD website for classes. What are the chances that she found one that he was offering that started that very day! You needed a prerequisite or the instructor's permission and the class started in 2 hours. Her boss generously let her leave early from work. She came home and found me very sick at home. She packed up my portfolio, and our 2 year old son and me and drove us to the course. She didn't want me to miss the opportunity and did everything possible to get me there! She and our son waited in the truck for two hours in an amazing rain storm, so they could drive me home at the end of the class. Jeff reviewed my portfolio and accepted me into the course. He later offered me a job in his studio and I worked for him for three years as a Techical Assistant. It was a great learning on the job experience that enhanced many of my skills. I assisted on many projects, including cat armour, bronzes, and the tin toy carousel sculptures at the Westjet Terminal. Being able to work on metal full time made me realize that I did want to be a full time sculptor. Later, when I started working full time, Jeff sub contracted part of the barbed wire horse at the Glenbow Museum to me. You never know what an opportunity will lead to.

Other opportunities came up to work at places like F and D Scene Changes and Heavy Industries . I developed my skills in reading blue prints and work on large scale sets and props. I learned how to weld aluminum at F and D.

I do not have an art degree or certificate. For the most part, I am self taught. Sometimes I wish I had gone to art school, as I often learn skills the hard way, from trial and error. I couldn't afford to attend art school. Also, a close family friend that was an art teacher recommended that I didn't go. She felt that I might lose some of my individuality. It was a comfort to me to believe this, since I couldn't afford to go anyways.

I chose to set myself up financially with a house and a back up career first and then pursue my career as a full time artist. I fell in love at age 22 and got married. 10 years later we had the first of two wonderful children. With that came a lot of responsibilities. We all have our own experiences and choices that step by step take us down the journey of each of our lives. I don't think there are any right or wrong paths to the career as an artist. I do think it is a difficult career that each artist pours a lot of heart and soul into.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Kierra's (age 5) design - Fish #1, Sculpture by Geoff Sandhurst

This is a sculpture based on a design by my 5 year old daughter, Kierra. Both of my children have been sources of inspiration for sculpture. The first picture is the finished sculpture. The process follows below. I took her coloured drawing and made a transparency out of it. Then I enlarged the image on a wall and traced a larger image of her drawing. This became my template. The pieces for the fish were meticulously forged and welded to match the template. It took 31 hours to complete. I started on this piece at the Creative Kids Museum at the TELUS World of Science, Calgary, when I was the artist in residence in Nov/Dec 07. I worked on it in between working on the Great Horned Owl. While one sculpture cooled, I would work on the other, back and forth. This sculpture would sell for $1500.00, if Kierra was willing to part with it! She is pleased with the final result! Great collaboration Kierra!

Below: left is the Transparency and right is the Template.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Great Horned Owl Sculpture by Geoff Sandhurst, Photos by Guy Shulhan

Guy Shulhan has commissioned this sculpture of a Great Horned Owl. It is still in progress. The talons and the branch that it sits on are not completed yet. Thank you Guy for permission to post these photos.
The owl is just under life size and I have worked on it for 160 hours so far. It will be completed and on display at Alberta Institute of Wildlife's fundraising event in spring 2008.

Bulecher Sculpture by Geoff Sandhurst - Photos by Guy Shulan

Guy Shulan recently took these fabulous pictures of my sculpture, Bulecher. Bulecher is an imaginary creature I made back in 1980's. I am posting the here with his permission. Thank you Guy!