Robert Harrison

Lime Kiln Houses

After a number of short conversations, Helena collectors Jim and Cindy Utterback invited me to visit their home and property. They had expressed interest in a large-scale piece of outdoor art that would complement their home and property. We walked the property and documented a few potential sites. On the subsequent visit I presented them with some options and after careful consideration they elected to move forward with a permanent installation of my wire-mesh House structures.

  • 2017
  • Utterback Collection, Helena, Montana

I constructed ten life-sized cardboard House models, different shapes and sizes that I thought would work visually in the identified property site. We placed the cardboard models on the selected site to see which models worked. The site itself had its challenges (a natural hillside of indigenous rock), but provided an ideal site for a grouping of wire-mesh House structures. The selection of four models allowed me to move forward with fabrication. Working with steel mesh panels, I cut the House parts out and had the structures welded together. Incorporating a rotating steel center post into the pivot point of each House, the Utterback’s chose colors for the powder-coated surfaces to make the pieces ‘pop’ visually on the hillside location.

Foundation holes were dug and filled with concrete to anchor the Houses to the hillside. The structures were then filled on-site with a variety of historic local brick and vintage porcelain objects along with some of my smaller ceramic studio pieces. The title of the installation, Lime Kiln Houses, comes from the historic lime kilns, remnants of which are located nearby.