Tension Please

Move Over, Picasso. Cable Artists At Work.

When you manufacture a product long-praised for its durability, looks, performance, and simplicity, it’s inevitable the arts and crafts community would discover it.

And discover they have.

Just look at this inventive wine storage case. It’s just one of many creations Feeney’s product development and engineering manager Brad Adsit has seen over the years. The eight-year Feeney veteran isn’t surprised artists and others would adapt CableRail stainless steel cable for artistic expression.

“In its most fundamental form, stainless steel cable is just a tension member,” Adsit says. “Anything that requires some form of tension is a stainless steel cable candidate. The beauty of working with Feeney CableRail cable is all the fittings you can use in so many different ways.”

Take shelving. As these pictures illustrate, cable is a natural for artfully combining form with function. Adsit says he has seen other applications as well. “I’ve seen it used for curtain systems, sort of like an alternative for curtain rods. It’s been designed as an elegant, artistic message board, weaving a grid of cables together and loaded with binder clips for hanging notes,” he says.

Adsit recalls the time he took a call from a prominent artist specializing in large-scale public installations. “We get calls all the time from artists. This particular artist likes to create unusual tension structures. He uses cable as a tension member and rods as compression members to make inspiring shapes,” Adsit explains.

Why the allure of cable as an artistic medium? Adsit has some theories.

Kana Tanaka art installation “Capturing the Moment” in Solano County Government Center, Fairfield CA.

“There’s definitely a contemporary aspect to it. A word I hear a lot is sleek. The other aspect is it’s a raw but very high quality material. There’s a luster about it that draws attention in subtle, understated ways,” he says.

As artists push the bounds of artistic possibility with cable, Adsit is quick to sound a note of caution.

“Sometimes these designs are used for purposes that cable wasn’t necessarily engineered for. We have to be careful. Let’s say someone makes a cool shelving unit that breaks and injures someone because of poor design. It’s not fair to blame the cable because it was never manufactured for that purpose. We advise caution,” Adsit says.

Nevertheless, Adsit is impressed by the ingenuity of the cable artists and crafts people. His favorite objet d’art so far?

“I think the wine rack is pretty neat.”

Featured Image: Feeney architectural rod assemblies and CableRail cables & fittings used to hang surfing-themed art installation in Malibu, CA

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