How We Transport Our Large Sculptures


So much goes into the process of making our work. Finding and purchasing the right wood from a sustainable sawmill. Milling the wood to size. Cutting joints and assembly. My work undergoes an intense sanding and painting process. Oliver adds hand-braided strings, carved end-pieces, and precious stone inlay. After months of labor, the delivery day arrives and the work leaves the studio to travel to its new home.

Install Day is by far the most stressful part of our practice. We barely sleep the night before and typically rise around 5AM to double check our tool boxes or put gas in the car. 

Many artists slide their work vertically in the backseat of a car. I've only been able to do this once and it was to transport the 200 plus pieces of 4' long stock for a sculpture. Truly. 

Oliver and I plan Install Day from the moment we receive an artwork's deposit. Most of the time our sculptures disassemble to fit the dimensions of our truck or van. Which is the prompt for this blog post. Today was a very special day, the inauguration aside. Today, our dearly beloved 1992 Toyota Previa came home from the shop. 

The Previa is Oliver's old family car which his dad repurposed for our art transportation needs. When I say repurposed, I mean ripped the back seats out and added cargo hooks. Oliver's father gifted us the Previa in 2016 when I was working on a 24ft long commission that wrapped a staircase. I needed to easily and regularly transport six sheets of 4' x 8' plywood in Missouri's winter. The new and improved Previa is like driving a covered truck with room to spare. 

Below is a collection of images from past Install Days. Some went perfect, while other's not so much. 

First, here's the Previa on her first day home. She drives, but is still missing some (obvious) parts

1992 Toyota Previa

 

2016: One of our first huge wood hauls for a family owned sawmill in Napoleon, Missouri. We loaded the material in the bed of our 1996 Tacoma, but definitely needed more space. 

 

2016: I delivered sheets of plywood for a CNC Router appointment with the Previa, but miserably failed to ensure the final cuts fit inside my Honda Civic. They did not. This photo was taken while waiting for Oliver to rescue me with the Previa. Also, this photo is from when we owned a roadside assistance business in Kansas City, MO. 

 

2018: Oliver delivering a commission for an office in downtown Kansas City. Again, we failed to measure and assumed the sculpture (divided into halves) would slide into the Previa. Thankfully we lived a five minute drive from a Home Depot truck rental. 

 

2019: Install Day 1 of 2 when delivering Oliver's Illiad sculpture to a home in Breckenridge, CO

It's an organized mess

 

2019: Our last haul with the Previa picking up poplar from a sawmill in Leavenworth, KS

 

So far, we have two Install Days approaching in 2021. Miranda's first install is for three sculptures for a new apartment development in Kansas City sometime in June. Oliver is adding onto the Illiad sculpture in Breckenridge, CO sometime in the spring. Hopefully, the Previa will be road ready by then!