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Pratt Museum Botanical Garden Signs

The Pratt Museum in Homer, Alaska, commissioned me to make metal art signs for their Botanical Garden. The signs designate each of the various biomes in the garden, which fills the space between the museum and Bartlett Street.

I made signs for seven biomes: Alpine, Bog, Coastal, Fen, Meadow, Riparian, and Upland.

A significant part of any commission is coming up with a suitable design. I made the drawings using layers in Procreate, then opened the files in Adobe Illustrator, traced the layers, and sent the cut paths to a local machine shop with a water jet table.

I typically cut my designs using a handheld plasma cutter. I chose the water jet for this project because they don’t burn the edge of the stainless steel, and it was more suited to the intricate shapes in the 18″ wide signs.

These timelapse videos will give you a sense of the design evolution for each of the seven signs. They show how the initial concept developed and how, once established, I refined it.

Don’t be fooled by the short timelapse videos. All in all, the seven drawings took over 30 hours to complete. As you can see, my process often involves a lot of trial and error in coming up with a working concept worthy of refining.

And if you’re in Homer, be sure to stop by to visit the garden in each of the four seasons.

Here are a few photos of the process.

Each botanical garden sign has a detail engraving of a typical plant found in its biome.
Details ready for engraving and decorative grinding.
Each botanical garden sign has a detail engraving of a typical plant found in its biome.
The iris and kneeling angelica for the Fen and Riparian biomes.
Metal art signs for the Pratt Museum Botanical Garden, in the making.
Some assembly required…


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