Swirl Lanterns: A Fusion of Artistry and Precision

Art has the power to captivate, inspire, and transform spaces, and when combined with cutting-edge technology, it can create truly extraordinary experiences. Our team at Profile Laser, a laser cutting and fabrication company based in Portland, Oregon, was proud to showcase our exceptional skills and expertise by collaborating with the talented artist Jean Margaret Thomas on a mesmerizing art installation for the Portland Winter Light Festival. This project, aptly named “Swirl Lanterns,” beautifully merged the elements of nature, the playfulness of wind, and the precision of laser-cut designs.

Jean Margaret Thomas: Illuminating Art with Nature’s Touch

Jean Margaret Thomas, a light artist and former lighting technician, embarked on an extraordinary creative journey to design the Swirl Lanterns for Portland Winter Light Festival (PDXWLF). Infused with her deep appreciation for the forces of nature, Jean’s artistic vision sought to capture the essence of wind—its elegance, ferocity, and inherent randomness. To bring her vision to life, she enlisted the expertise and guidance of her skillful friend Dallas Swindle and the team at Profile Laser.

The Design Concept for Swirl Lanterns: A Dance of Vector Patterns

Jean Margaret Thomas drew inspiration from mesmerizing live vector wind maps found on the internet. These intricate maps, displaying the flow of winds throughout North America, served as the foundation for her design concept. Fascinated by the way wind traces its path through vector patterns, she set out to express this concept within the lantern’s droplet-like shape. Using a computer program provided, she and a friend crafted a random vector pattern with controllable points that guided the design’s final outcome. The result was a captivating composition that flowed gracefully across the lantern’s sides, reflecting the movement and energy of the wind.

Collaboration with Profile Laser: Precision in Craftsmanship

With the design concept in place, Jean Margaret Thomas turned to Profile Laser to transform her vision into reality. Utilizing their laser cutting and fabrication expertise, Profile Laser provided the necessary materials and precision cutting services for the Swirl Lanterns. Each lantern required ten metal triangle shapes with a continuous vector pattern meticulously cut from 18-gauge Cold Rolled Steel (CRS). Profile Laser’s cutting precision ensured that every detail of the design was accurately reproduced, preserving the intended aesthetic and functionality of the lanterns.

Sections manufactured by Profile Laser from 18-gauge Cold Rolled Steel (CRS):

  • 11.5064” x 16.7644”: 10 pcs.
  • 11.5403” x 30.8788”: 10 pcs.
  • 6.8126” x 10.8553”: 15 pcs.
  • 6.8428” x 20.399”: 15 pcs.

Assembly and Finishing Touches: Bringing Light to Life

The collaboration extended beyond laser cutting, as Jean Margaret Thomas and her team skillfully assembled and finished the Swirl Lanterns. The diamond shapes of the lantern’s sides were designed to fold inwards, creating a distinctive droplet-like shape. Functional piano hinges allowed for smooth movement, while rivet nuts ensured secure closure. The top circle was closed using a rubber ball, maintaining the lantern’s form as the sides rolled over it to align the edges seamlessly. The interior of the lanterns was painted gold to create a striking contrast against the dark blue exterior, allowing the vector shapes to stand out when illuminated. The lanterns were strategically positioned to spin, allowing the light to glide across surfaces through the intricately shaped vector holes, mimicking the graceful flow of wind.

The Portland Winter Light Festival: A Celebration of Art and Innovation

Completing the Swirl Lanterns marked an exciting milestone for Jean Margaret Thomas and Profile Laser, as the installation joined the remarkable array of light art showcased at the Portland Winter Light Festival. Since its inception in 2016, the festival has become a highly anticipated event, attracting artists and visitors alike with its captivating digital art installations, mesmerizing fire sculptures, and inclusive, family-friendly atmosphere. In the greenspace on Albina Avenue in North Portland, the Humboldt neighborhood light hub during the city-wide Portland Winter Light Festival provided the perfect backdrop for the Swirl Lanterns to shine.

Profile Laser: Bringing Visions to Life

The Swirl Lanterns project exemplified the harmonious collaboration between Jean Margaret Thomas, Profile Laser, and the Portland Winter Light Festival. A stunning display of artistry and technological innovation emerged through the artist’s vision and the precision craftsmanship of Profile Laser. From the careful selection of materials to the flawless laser cutting, every step of the process showcased Profile Laser’s commitment to excellence.

Profile Laser’s expertise in CAD rendering, laser cutting, and fabrication, combined with their dedication to superior customer service, allowed them to play a crucial role in bringing Jean Margaret Thomas’s artistic vision to life. With their fluid vector patterns and captivating design, the Swirl Lanterns illuminated the Portland Winter Light Festival and mesmerized visitors with their graceful presence.

As Profile Laser continues to serve a diverse range of customers with their laser cutting and fabrication services, the Swirl Lanterns project stands as a testament to its capabilities and commitment to delivering the highest quality products. Collaborations like these highlight the power of combining artistic creativity with advanced technology, resulting in truly exceptional and unforgettable experiences.

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