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Corten steel or weathering steel is used by the artist Richard Serra to make his amazing work which can be seen in public places all over the world. They are massive, the viewer is tiny in comparison, the surface of the steel weathers in a beautiful rusty textured way.

This has got to be the most macho art hasn’t it? its made in steel foundries and then transported to the site on massive trucks, the logistics of erecting it are huge.. (ooh er!) and can be quite dangerous.

Is this then the complete opposite of work made from lace curtains? Which you can construct yourself in your own front room.

I made a fabric version of one of Richard Serra’s pieces called Trip Hammer, which is on view in Tate Modern. This is one of Serra’s smaller pieces and consists of 2 pieces of corten steel, one balanced on top of the other. It is not fixed in anyway just the positioning of the pieces and the way they sit in the corner, as well as the way they are perfectly balanced of course, keeps them upright.

My version is an exact replica except its made of 2 large sheets of foam covered in a brown painted fabric. It was very difficult to get this softer version to stand up proudly like the Serra one. I had to get my taller friend to stand behind it and hold it up, but of course she couldn’t do that forever, so she let go and down it went, quite elegantly though. However there were other ways and arrangements in which it would stand up for a bit longer. Anyway you put it, still looked like a Serra, just not Trip Hammer.

Alongside the actual piece is a paper dressmaking pattern so you can make your own floppy Trip Hammer and have hours of fun trying to make it stand up.


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