30" x 74" H 2002
Powerless to intervene in Nature's cruel ways, a squirrel watches a snake approach a nest of helpless baby birds.
Composition: 6" steel pipe, trailer hitch ball, nails, wire, carriage bolts, washers, armored electrical cable, arc welding beads, pressure plate housing, hallogen lamp.
I'm not sure why violence on Wild Discovery type programs is so much more acceptable than what you find in slash-and-kill movies. I guess because it's natural. I watch these nature programs all the time but I can't stand to see the hyena killing the little warthog piglets (I change the channel for a few minutes; better to learn how to burn fat while I sleep).
I saw some footage once of a snake sneaking up on a bird nest and eating the eggs (didn't bother me) and that's when I got the design for a piece of armored cable I'd been saving, but cheeping, pitiful baby birds offer a lot more drama than a bunch of eggs.
The tree is just a great big length of steel pipe mounted on a pressure plate housing from the steering clutch of a small bulldozer. The tree needed bark and I thought it would be a simple matter to run a few lengths of interconnected beads of weld up and down the pipe. It was simple alright, but it turned out to be about 120 linear feet of weld. I was getting wheezy by the time that was finished. The nest was a little delicate to make with a stick welder (instead of a stitcher). I made a frame/basket of loose light wire and stuck a few nails into and through the bottom. Then I used the lowest amperage that would maintain an arc and lifted and dipped the electrode in a random circular motion inside the basket. I wasn't really welding things together as much as dribbling melted electrode onto the wire and nails, to avoid cutting everything to pieces. Then I shoved in more nails, struck the arc and dribbled, and pretty soon started to develop the form and body of a nest. Some of the nails were cut and fell away but eventually I had a decent looking nest with most of the wire frame burned away.