ARL physicist takes first place in Army-wide arts and craft contest

October 06, 2016

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Oct. 6, 2016) -- Scarlett Ayres, a physicist in the Survivability/Lethality Analysis Directorate at White Sands Missile Range, won first place in the 2016 Army Arts and Crafts Contest for a 3 foot by 10 foot original sculpture.

She calls it "Radiating Flower" and to her thinking, it could be the biggest single flower in New Mexico. Its tangle art pattern plays up a vibrant color palette in its repetitive design, borrowing heavily from themes common among Native American, Spanish and Mexican art found most prominently in America's southwestern region.

The contest is sponsored by the Army's Morale, Welfare and Recreation Program. The annual competition recognizes the talent and originality in both the novice and accomplished experience levels of Active Duty Soldiers, Family members, Retirees and Army Civilians, according to its website.

Artists may compete in 10 categories, which include ceramic, digital, fiber, glass, metal and wood art, drawings and paintings, and 2-D and 3-D mixed media. Pottery makers, photographers and jewelry artisans may also compete.

The Arts and Crafts Program promotes Soldier and Family morale, fosters individual self-improvement and resiliency, and enriches the community's cultural quality of life by offering affordable and quality instruction and hands-on assistance with creative arts.

Ayres won in the 3-D mixed media category as a novice, and took home a $300 award.

"I was driving down the road one day and noticed that a radiator fan was being thrown away. It had some minor damage on some of the blades. I thought it would make a great flower if it wasn't too heavy to lift," recalled Ayres, a Florida native, who's been employed at ARL since its inception in 1992. She currently conducts modeling and simulation on portable air defense systems, or shoulder-fired weapons.

Radiator blades are made of a composite material now-a-days and can be relatively light, she said, so she took the recycled object to WMSR's arts and crafts center and trimmed away the damage with a sabre saw. She coated the whole thing with flat white Rustoleum and used Elmer's Painters Paint Markers to paint tangle patterns onto the petals.

She said she used this paint on garden art projects at her home in nearby Las Cruces and expects that within a decade, the artwork will begin to fade, but she's taking precautions. She said she's planning to spray several thin coats of Krylon UV resistant clear coatings on the artwork every few years.

She mounted Radiating Flower atop a refurbished basketball pole, which keeps the flower well above the water sprinklers.

"My original plan was to attach it to the side of a deck but then I noticed the basketball pole," she said. "I realized that the basketball backboard was in sorry condition but the pole was still in great shape. I went up a ladder and exchanged the basketball backboard for the flower."

The artwork is currently in Ayres' backyard, along with other garden art projects that she hopes to continue to make and eventually to sell, in the next few years, after retirement.

To participate in the contest next year, contact the local Garrison POC for specific Garrison instructions and additional information.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.


Last Update / Reviewed: October 6, 2016