Work Process

Creating art from found objects requires a number of different skill sets, as well as a fairly extensive array of tools and methods, and since most of the 3-D work I create contain lighting elements, each piece of art has to allow for access to the lighting elements and wiring in case maintenance is needed.  These constraints can sometimes make the creation of a particular piece of art quite challenging, but the engineering aspect of designing decorative and functional art appeals to me as much as the creative aspect does.

My work process is fairly fluid. I begin by considering multiple possibilities in my studio/workshop, and when inspiration strikes, I begin “trying out ideas.” Getting from initial ideas to completed design involves visualization, along with rearrangement and/or fabrication or modification of components. I might make a rough sketch or photo, but generally work without notes etc.

Materials I use vary, but include metal (aluminum, steel, stainless steel, brass etc.), wood, glass, ceramic, plastic and paint.  For pieces containing lighting elements, a variety of electrical components are used, including various gauges of electrical wire, wire connectors, sockets, switches and LED lighting elements. Since I work primarily with found objects, each find can suggest infinite ways to express my muse. Most of the tools and methods I use relate to those media.

A partial list of tools and supplies I use include:

  • bench vices
  • various open and box-end wrenches
  • needle-nose and other pliers
  • hammers and mallets
  • center punches, drift punches
  • drills and drill bits
  • screwdrivers
  • belt and disk sanders
  • bench grinder and wire wheel
  • hacksaw, bandsaw, chopsaw
  • various clamps
  • oscillating cutoff tool
  • metal files, wood rasps
  • taps and dies
  • measuring tapes, scales, rulers
  • wire strippers and cutters
  • torches (usually mapp gas), brazing rods, soldering iron, solder
  • sandpaper
  • paint, stain, polish
  • baking soda, bar keepers friend, other cleaners
  • protractor, straight-edge, compass
  • various custom-made tools (metal, wood, plastic)
  • voltage meter, bulb and lighting element testors
  • epoxy, craft glue, apoxie sculpt and other bonding agents
  • fabric, paper, wire, connectors and fasteners


©Bill Paine 2021