Mobile created from individually turned Buckeye Burl Spheroids

February 6, 2021

The spheroids that are featured in this mobile have been turned from individual pieces of Buckeye Burl, each very different in character, giving the appearance of a kind of solar system. The struts of the mobile are carefully bent steel wire, and the suspending thread is a particularly strong German synthetic, all fastened with a very small drop of cyanoacrylic glue.

Mobiles of course come in all sorts of designs, using all sorts of materials. But Buckeye Burl is perhaps uniquely used in the mobiles represented by this particular example (such mobiles are particularly difficult to photograph, with their slow motion, different focal lengths, and the complexities of even lighting). With even the slightest breeze or touch, the spheroids begin to rotate. They move a different speeds, with continually changing relationships between the spheroids on the four struts. The conical dimensions given here measure the length from top spheroid to bottom spheroid. The lateral dimension is twelve inches. Depending on sealing height, the mobile may be displayed at any level. Extra thread is included for varying ceiling heights.

Buckeye and related species are native to the eastern and western United States. Much of it comes from California, hence the name of the botanical species. The timber from California and Oregon is not particularly interesting underground, but in its burl (above ground) form, Buckeye more than makes up for this: the wood is soft, with a palette of grays, whites, blacks,and some brown and orange. This all comes all from the oxidizing of underground minerals the burl has absorbed. The patterns that are generated by these colors are simply spectacular, like no other burl wood in the world.  The variations and shapes in the figure are endlessly fascinating.

3 feet high; 12" conical diameter