We have our share of wind in Fort Collins. Whether it’s the biting January kind that takes your breath away or the hot August kind that shrivels everything it touches, wind is a four-season occurrence here. It’s the bane of soccer parents and contact lens wearers, and many a frustrated sleeper has cursed its midnight howl.
But the kinetic sculptures of local artist/craftsman Larry Pryor turn wind into something beautiful. Sawtooth Art, Larry’s studio and workshop, is located a mile west of Taft Hill Road on Harmony/CR38E. I saw his sign advertising “Wind Art” last week as I was headed up to Horsetooth and wanted to come back to see what it was all about. At the last minute, my boys decided that it wouldn’t kill them to join me, so they came along for the ride.
When I turned into the driveway and saw the small grove of copper sculptures rotating in the gentle breeze, I was immediately glad I had come. Larry came right out to chat with us and show us around his property and shop. He’s a friendly Fort Collins native who began as a woodworker and added sculptor to his resume about fifteen years ago. Through trial and error, he’s discovered which designs stand up to our strongest winds—and which designs go crash in the night.
Larry's wind art process begins with pristine sheets of copper. The individual leaves are cut, shaped, and coated with an acrylic that keeps them shiny on the concave side. The other side is treated with a salt solution, which gives the copper a grayish-green patina. As the sculptures turn, sunlight plays off the contrast of matte and shiny in a way that is reminiscent of the shimmering quake of real aspen trees. It really is a beautiful effect.
One of Larry’s sculptures welcomes visitors to the Gardens on Spring Creek. He also does custom pieces and was at work on a wall-sized commission featuring cattails, dragonflies, and a fountain. And for anyone in the market for a full-sized windmill, Larry does those, too.
Besides being his own boss, one of the things Larry loves best about his job is that no one is ever in a bad mood when they visit. I certainly found that to be true. Not only that, but my boys were glad they had come with me, which is when I know I’ve found something truly cool.