DRAGONfly Contemporary Sculpture by Larry Schuster

Larry Schuster confronts the challenge of making a large and intricate wing surface that is supported with great structural strength. Larry created a new technology, building wooden forms, then designing a veining of engineered stainless steel, welding it together, then attaching the sections of stained glass to form the delicate geometric luminescent wings. The body is sculpted and hand-machined stainless steel.

(Under construction) · A contemporary sculpture of stainless steel and stained glass · 8.5’ wing span · 1,200 pieces of glass per wing · Will have approx. 10,000 pieces when completed.

“I wouldn’t call it an omen, but one day my neighbor’s cat came into my workshop and dropped a dragonfly at my feet, then ran off. I picked it up and noticed the patterns of the luminescent wings. It caught my interest. Later, I collected some more dragonflies from a nearby creek.”

“I settled on the Blue Darner as my model and decided to make the wings as accurately as possible. One issue was that the wings of the real dragonfly were luminescent, but essentially colorless.. Using clear glass would be uninteresting, so I settled on various shades of blue and clear glass.”

“To create a dragonfly with an eight foot wingspan, presented a further challenge—how to defy the structural flaws of glass on a far larger and more complicated scale than my earlier piece, Lacewing Alighting.”

“Rather than creating simple, flat wings, this time I would create wings with sections that are higher or lower, with curvature. To accomplish this, I drew patterns for the four wings on sections of wood. I cut slots into the patterns of varying depths and created a veining structure of stainless steel, rather than brass, to create greater strength. I shaped and honed the strips of stainless steel to fit into the slots of the wood patterns to form the veining, then welded the veining together for each separate wing. After that, various sections of stained glass were soldered to the stainless steel veining. All the strips of stainless steel veining converge in each wing with a joint that attaches to the stainless steel body.”

“The joint system in the body is adjustable to any angle or height. The wing angle can be altered in three different axis, rotated, move up or down, front to back.’”

“When completed, DRAGONfly will have the four wings, each containing 1,200 pieces of glass and the body will have antennae, legs, be more complex and intricate and contain at least 4,000 pieces of glass. DRAGONfly will be part of a creative environment, resting on a horizontal branch which rises up from a surrealistic pond.”