Patterson High 'sails' sculptor says leave the work as it is [Letter]

July 01, 2014

Your recent report about the "sails" sculpture I designed for Patterson High School suggests to me that the conservator hired by the school system to preserve it does not understand the intent behind the artwork ("City evaluates art in schools as part of 10-year renovation plan," June 19).

The well-known architect of the building, Van Fossen Schwab, asked me to create a sculpture that could protect a large, glass second-floor window from vandals as well as allow light to enter the interior.

Several solutions came to mind, but because the school's team is known as the Clippers, I decided a reference to the famous Baltimore clipper ships would be appropriate.

The billowing forms were created out of hundreds of copper pieces riveted together and hammered into shape. They were then engineered to be held in position with coated steel rods attached to the metal window frame.

The splendid green patina of the sculpture's weathered copper forms should never be treated or cleaned. Moreover, the sculpture must not be removed from the window for which it was designed. Taking it out of its frame will cause it to collapse.

Combining appearance with protection was my purpose in this design. I feel it would be inappropriate in any other location.

Tylden Westcott Streett, Richmond, Calif.

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