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Big Dipper

Wax, mechanics
3.6m dia
Big Dipper is an autonomous machine that creates candle-wax chandeliers by repeatedly dipping frames of strung wick into molten wax. The machine works with a clockwork mechanism that slowly revolves, until one frame in turn hangs directly above a heated barrel of wax. When in position, a dipping motion is triggered which plunges the strung frame into the wax, so that it builds up a layer. One cycle takes one hour. After twelve dipping cycles twenty four wax chandeliers are made.
A white wax chandelier produced by Big Dipper
A montage of the 3 stages of Big Dipper dipping
A underside view of the Big Dipper machine showing inner and outer dipping rings above vats of molten candle wax
A detail of Big Dipper showing two wax vats and raw candle wax slabs
A detail of an un-dipped chandelier frame of of strung candle wick
A detail of a frame emerging from the molten wax
A detail of the way the wick is strung through the wire chandelier frame
A harvest of chandeliers displayed in the window of the London Design Museum
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Big Dipper is equals parts production process and performance. It lets an audience witness the moment a product is created, and produces a product that burns away. It is a complete cycle of production and consumption.

Big Dipper is in the permanent collection of Centre National des Arts Plastiques, France.