sets of hands, to be exact. Incorporating plate occurred only after a
change in the original design.
“So we had to have all of the de-
sign drawings stamped by struc-
tural engineers in New York City,
and we worked with them closely
on the design of it. Initially we had
the ship’s structure bolted into an
I-beam base, which was really a
grid of I-beams. The same support
was specified for Jenny Lind as the
figurehead,” Sanders said. “So we
asked, ‘Hey guys, can we figure out
another way to counterweight this
because we cannot handle I-beams
The engineers had specified the
I-beams for their weight only be-
cause the whole sculpture was free-
standing. The art piece couldn’t be
anchored into the street because it
was a public thoroughfare.
Sanders said Mountain Steel Co.,
the studio’s Asheville-based steel
supplier, was very helpful during
the project, particularly when it
came to moving the pieces to a
parking lot on campus where the
sculpture was pulled together before being disassembled again and
shipped to New York.
Out of the Shop,
Into Times Square
One of the final obstacles that
Sanders and the team faced with
“Wake” was the need for all welds
to be made by certified welders to
meet New York City code. Unfortunately, finding welders with the
appropriate certifications and capable of delivering the structural
welds that would stand up to the
examination of a certified welding inspector (CWI) wasn’t easy in
North Carolina, which doesn’t mandate the use of certified welders
for such work.
The STEAM Studio team finally
found someone to do the welds, and
an inspector from New York City
came down to conduct ultrasonic
and magnetic testing. With the
CWI’s passing grade, the sculpture
was ready to be delivered to the
Big Apple. To that point it was going
to be the largest sculpture ever to
grace Times Square.
“Wake” was unveiled on July 11,
2018, after three days of around-
the-clock work. It was paired with
“Unmoored,” a digital augmented-
reality work Chin created in
collaboration with Microsoft. With both art projects
working in tandem, a person could look at “Wake”
and imagine that it was taking off skyward, joined by a
flotilla of boats floating above Times Square because
it now was covered by the rising seas.
“Wake” was on exhibit in Times Square until Sept. 5.
It’s been in storage since then, but it might be making
another appearance in another major city in 2019, ac-
cording to Sanders.
In the meantime, engineering and art students are
using the STEAM Studio to learn just what it takes to
make designs a reality.
“It’s been fantastic,” Sanders said. “We’ve had a lot
of positive experiences with the informal collabora-
tion that occurs in a project such as ‘Wake.’”
The studio also has been able to put the waterjet to
use when school is not in session. For example, the
waterjet was used to cut geodes for the UNC-Ashe-
ville geology department. It’s just one of the things
you do with a waterjet: You put it to work.
Editor-in-Chief Dan Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joshua Swainston, content marketing writer, OMAX Corp., contributed
information to this story.
STEAM Studio, UNC-Asheville, https://steamstudio.unca.edu
OMAX Corp., www.omax.com