Community is the glue behind TapeScape sculpture at Children's Museum
By Kellie B. Gormly
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
When you see the quirky TapeScape sculpture opening this weekend at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, you might think of Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Maybe it will seem like a gigantic web a team of big spiders wove. Or, maybe it will look like a twinkling ice sculpture when illuminated with colored lights.
“What fascinates me is how it's striking people in different ways,” museum spokesman Bill Schlageter says.
Whatever TapeScape reminds you of, the sculpture is made entirely from 3M-brand packing tape. Layers and layers of it — some 22 miles and more than 300 rolls of it.
Artist Eric Lennartson of Mankato, Minn., spent time at the North Side museum wrapping the tape around a steel-pipe framework on top of it, then winding it around and around, with tape “tendons” holding the shape, to form a giant tunnel with holes for climbing and peeking out the top. You won't feel any stickiness here: The tape is double-wrapped with the adhesive part inside the lines. That leaves the surface smooth, says Lennartson, who compares TapeScape to a three-dimensional bridge.
“When (tape lines) stick together, it's going in two different directions together and it gets super-strong that way — super-rigid, and super-strong,” says Lennartson, 43. His specialty is stained glass and, now, TapeScapes.
Lennartson created his first TapeScape at the Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota, and his second at the Children's Museum of San Jose, in California. Many community members, including teen volunteers from Avonworth High School, helped Lennartson build the Pittsburgh TapeScape, which follows no blueprint. The sculpture, which is in the traveling-exhibit gallery on the first floor, takes place as the people build it.
“It kind of happens organically,” Lennartson says. “I can't build this on my own.”
Kids and adults can climb into the sculpture, crawl and slide around on its slippery walls and floors, and climb through the holes that were cut. The children — including Lennartson's twin boys, 11-year-old Gus and Luke — get giddy when they explore the TapeScape. So do the adults, who, Lennartson says, “become 10-year-olds again.”
During the TapeScape's three-month run, musicians will make periodic appearances in the room, and kids can make their own tape projects in the museum's Makeshop.
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7824.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Alvarez struggles as Pirates fall short against Brewers
- Orpik: Penguins must keep their cool
- Pirates trade for Mets first baseman Davis
- Penguins’ Bylsma wants Cup version of Letang
- Dems in Pa. governor’s race vow to close loophole, say firms skirt corporate tax
- Latrobe woman texts searchers in Linn Run State Park to tell them she’s OK
- Rossi: Pens sticking to power-play plan
- Gorman: Can Mike Tyson save boxing?
- Former Mystic Inn burns in Republic, Fayette County
- City’s efforts bolstered to track illegal dumping
- California University of Pennsylvania offers training for weather spotters