Ancient Protocol
Ancient Protocol Detail 1Ancient Protocol Detail 2Ancient Protocol Detail 3

Ancient Protocol

Steel and zinc-nickel–plated steel
2015, Paul Russell

The graceful grass blades in Paul Russell’s sculpture were forged from marine-grade angle iron and textured with a custom-made tool. The dragonflies are plated with zinc-nickel, giving them an iridescence of yellows, purples and green. The giant insects’ eyes are repurposed crucible cups normally used to analyze samples of molten steel.

Artist Statement

“All components to this sculpture are completely hammered and bent on an anvil, giving them a very organic feel. Dragonflies are fascinating predators that can catch prey in midair with the help of spikes on their legs. Fossils have shown dragonflies with 30-inch wingspans. These dragonflies look as though they could take off at any moment. Larger-than-life dragonflies merit attention.”

Sculptor Paul Russell and his brother, Luke (whose work is also featured in Nature in Motion), are fifth-generation blacksmiths who learned the ancient trade at Lawndale Forge, their family’s West Side steel forge. Paul creates one-of-a-kind, made-to-last home and garden designs, tools and sculptures for his own pleasure as well as custom commissions for homes and businesses. His artistic and athletic talents extend to music and boxing. He is an accomplished strings player and holds the 2011 second-place trophy in the Chicago Golden Gloves.