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Final outcome: The final paddle build

Another set of paddles were laser cut using the Riks font I chose and the result was good, as can be seen below. The text is readable, well-spaced and I particularly like the capital O below as it emphasises the circular rotation of the paddles. The burnt scorch marks caused by the laser cutter were particularly effective and I wanted to retain these (previously they were washed away by the water). Below I have sprayed the paddles with a matt varnish and this has fixed the burning marks and it has darkened the wood slightly and revealed the grain.

The burning adds an aggressive quality to the text as if the words have been branded onto the wood but then this process has been extinguished by the river. This is mimicking an industrial process, the forging of steel possibly, which is a reference to the vast industrial heritage of the Erewash valley.

All the paddles were built as below and suspended from the bar to visualise their final appearance. The spacing is good and they fit perfectly along the 2m hollow tube. The weight of the full set was less than I anticipated which was a relief, however, I did notice that the bar was bending slightly even under this weight. Below I have simply pushed the connecting wires on to the bar and they have stayed in place. I would prefer not to use additional fixings to hold the wires in place as I think this would detract from the simplicity of the arrangement. My thinking is that because the paddles will be pulled away from the bar at 90 degrees, the wires should stay in their positions. However, I will add stops at the end of the bar to prevent the wires from slipping off.

Aesthetically I’m very pleased with this final arrangement. The engineering and materials blend together to create an installation that looks well formed and in proportion and has a level of intrigue that I enjoy.

Summary & next steps

The next step is clearly to test the paddles at the proposed location. My remaining concern is whether the suspending wire can adequately hold the whole set adequately above the water. I chose the bank fixing devices because they were spiral in nature and very secure once twisted in to the ground so I’m reasonably confident that adequate tension can be maintained.

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