Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Windmill

When I proposed the concept of incorporating a vintage windmill as part of the artwork, my thought was that it would be ideal to find a windmill locally, within Sioux County. Little did I realize what a challenge it would be to find one.

The wheel needed to be 6 feet in diameter in order to fit the scale of the overall piece. I put the word out to friends and family to be on the lookout for a windmill, but I had little success. We began searching online and found numerous sources that are manufacturing new mills, but I really felt it was important that this be a vintage mill, with the aged patina and wear that could only be found in an antique wheel.

We got a lead on a 6-footer that was near Lincoln, Nebraska but after exchanging e-mails, photos and phone calls I didn't like the looks of it.

I talked to windmill restoration folks who informed me that the 6-foot wheels are harder to find than the larger 8 and 10-foot variety. There were fewer of the 6-foot versions made to start with, and then those 6-footers did not hold up to the "Prairie Winds" as well as bigger wheels. As a result I was told "For every 6-footer out there, there are may be 100 of the 8-footers".

"Oh, that's just great",  I thought to myself.

Enter Ellen Sattler, of American Windmills. I found her website and gave her a call. Ellen was easy to talk to and very helpful each step of the way. She sent me the photo above and I thought it looked just perfect. It turns out Ellen is about as far from Sioux County as you can get–California. She dismantled the wheel completely and shipped it to Iowa in a box that looked way too small to contain a wheel of this size.

Mark Pottebaum and Marty Guthmiller took on the task of assembling the puzzle and did a great job. The wheel had just the right look and feel to it. Below are a couple photos of the assembly process.


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