Full of Color

Big Projects, Beginning to End, Exploring New Techniques, Lift, News from the Shop

Time for powder! Time for what?

Once the sculpture was finished being built it was time to get it powder coated. Most of my exterior sculptures are powder coated to prevent water damage and rusting. This type of finish is long lasting, eco friendly, and looks similar to a paint finish. I always use Powder Coating of Gainesville on North 6th street for my work. They’ve been a family owned business since 1998, a huge supporter of local artists, and a sponsor of this project!

Their finishes have out performed many paint finishes on salt spray tests because of their thorough metal preparation and double coat standard. They powder coat all sorts of items, from artist’s sculptures, to large and small machinery, patio furniture, cars, motorcycle bodies, bike frames, railing and gates, and more.They can powder coat all sorts of metal including aluminum, steel, stainless, cast iron, bronze, brass, copper, and others.

I chose the colors for Lift from a huge selection of color chips available for browsing in their showroom. Fun!

Once the powder was ordered my work was sand blasted by Gainesville Ironworks with an aluminum oxide sand, which is much safer for the environment than other types of sand, and brought over to Powder Coating of Gainesville to be powder coated.

The powder coating process itself is really unique. The “powder” is a dry mix containing the color and gets loaded up into the “powder gun”. The metal piece (in this case the sculptures) are hung on rolling racks and rolled into the spray booth. The metal is ground with an electric charge and the powder is shot out of the gun at the bare metal. The powder itself is charged and therefor attracted to the grounded metal. The cloud of powder moves towards the metal being sprayed, rather than spraying past it like paint. This means less material loss than paint. Not to mention it’s really neat!

Once the piece is coated it is wheeled into a huge oven and fired at 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit. Unlike paint, which needs time to chemically cure or air dry in order to harden, the powder is cured by heating, and ready to use immediately after cooling.

It was so amazing to see my work enter their shop in the morning as the bare metal pieces I had been working on and be ready to take home that afternoon a bright shiny new color!

On another note: My Kickstarter backer t-shirts have just come in!

Local print shop, LogoKick sponsored this project by assisting me with my backer gifts and wow did they make my life easy! They have SO MANY options to choose from on their website and they were extremely easy to work with as we figured out shirt style, sizes, graphic design and file formatting. If you work with an organization that needs marketing materials or special event shirts definitely check them out!

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I create large metal sculptures for public art, smaller items for you and your home, and teach hands on metal workshops in Gainesville, FL. Visit LeslieTharp.com