Specialty Fabrics Review May 2021 - 29

materials. When Rainier's Dickinson
first met the artist and saw the mockups, he wondered, " How are we ever
going to produce this? " About that
time, Charles Duvall was invited into
the conversation. " I was in Napa Valley
and on a project with Claude Centner
of Pfeifer FabriTec, and Claude said
that there was another job just 15
minutes away. That's when he invited
me to meet with artist Gordon Heuther
and we got to talking about how the
fins of his art piece for SLCA might be
fabricated using tensioned fabric. "
Looking at the finished work, it is
clearly a highly complex, articulated
series of shapes made up of thin
fin-like elements meant to remind
travelers of Utah's rain-washed and
eroded rocky landscape. Switching to
stretched fabric on bent metal tubing
seemed a logical way forward to
finishing the project as envisioned.
" Within the overall challenge of
fabricating this many elements, " says
Dickinson, " there was the even greater
challenge of figuring out how to
produce the deep 3D curves within each
fin. We could have done it by hand,
and that was initially considered, but it
would have taken forever to produce. "
Duvall started with a small fabric
and tubing prototype and then was
asked to make a series of 13, 30-footlong fins as a full-scale mock-up. " But
after getting it started, I was only able
to get half of them completed as some
were too complex to complete in a
conventional way, " says Duvall. " The
fabric forms were less resolved in the
beginning because of the complex and
compound curves needed to produce
the desired shapes. "
He spent several months working
on the 13 prototypes in his Rockland,
Maine, shop and then moved the effort
to Rainier Display's production floor
near Seattle to build fins using its

automated cutting tools and working
with the shop's sewing team.
" I had heard about a Tube and Wire
show in Dusseldorf, Germany, and
suggested to Bruce [Dickinson] that
the show might be worth attending,
as the Japanese J NEU bender Bruce
had seen online was at the show along
with numerous other benders, " Duvall
says. " So both Bruce and I spent several
weeks over that summer examining
several free-form bending machines
found at the show that could bend
aluminum tubing. One that looked
promising was a Japanese NEU
machine, but when Bruce came across
a free-form 3D bending machine from
the Netherlands by Dynobend, we

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Specialty Fabrics Review May 2021

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