View sculpture in motion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGPHvid58-c&feature=youtu.be
Larry’s Kinetic Rolling Ball Sculpture stands 5 feet high and entertains folks young and old with continuously rolling balls that travel down and then up over 2 whimsical tracks.
The rolling ball sculpture was inspired by a 2005 trip that I took to Strawberry Square in Harrisburg, PA to observe a floor to ceiling kinetic sculpture in operation. I spent the first two months of summer vacation working full time on the sculpture. Over the next two years I worked on it when I had the time.
The sculpture is made mostly of welded steel rod. There are two motors on it. One drives the screw which raises the balls and the other powers the “ski guys”. There are also two small magnets which gently hold the track changer in place until a ball passes through. Also there are nuts, bolts, bearings, springs, string and a hack saw blade.
My first thoughts were to make a rollercoaster loop and the diverter at the top of the sculpture which would lead to four tracks. I later realized that four tracks would make the sculpture look too busy and if I made it bigger to accommodate the four tracks it would have been two big to fit through doors. So I settled on two tracks. From that time on it just grew as I thought of new ideas. Most ideas come to me at night in bed and early in the morning just as I am waking up. The ideas were then tested through trial and error and were then either improved until they worked smoothly or discarded.
The general theme throughout the project was to make the sculpture look more artistic not just a mechanical box. That was, in part, the reason for the round shapes in the frame with objects sticking up and out of it. Also, there are people throughout the sculpture having fun walking on a high wire, ringing the bell with a hammer, climbing a rope. There is a person relaxing while swinging on a swing, and a person looking backwards through his legs at a ball that just went through.
The sculpture was named “Play In A Round” because of its circular theme. Almost everything spins, rotates or turns on a radius or. It’s fun to see how many things you can identify that move in a circle.
Ski figures bring the balls back to spiral which carries the balls to the top.
During June 2010, Larry’s Kinetic Rolling Ball Sculpture, “Play in a Round” was awarded First Place in the Craft Category for the Art of the State: Pennsylvania 2010 at the State Museum of Pennsylvania.
The July 10, 2010, Philadelphia Inquirer stated, “The display’s most captivating work, bar none, is Play in a Round, an airy, toy like, kinetic rolling-ball sculpture by Larry Shull of Landisburg. They just can’t get people away from it and wanting to touch it. So to protect it, they’ve built a cabinet around it. Shull built his own house, taught physical education, and invents tools and machinery. You’ll want to spend at least 10 minutes watching the action of this piece. Who said exhibits aren’t fun?”