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The Solstice Wall Project

solstice wall summary

The Solstice Wall is an art installation by Lee and Sachi LeFever, in their home on Orcas Island, WA.

The project is complete. The blog posts below provide an inside look at the creative process. Contact us.

    Solstice Wall – Blog Posts

    It Went Viral

    It Went Viral

    That all changed in December of 2023 when I started sharing videos of the ​Solstice Wall project​ in 1-minute videos, mostly as ​Instagram Reels​. To my surprise (and delight) the project went viral and changed my online experience, albeit temporarily.

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    Solstice Wall – The Installation

    Solstice Wall – The Installation

    It finally happened on February 11th, 2024. It took less than an hour to place the rays and tap them into the wall. To my surprise, the rays looked just as expected and didn’t need changes. I couldn’t believe it was finally done.

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    Solstice Wall – Almost Done

    Solstice Wall – Almost Done

    Right now, the plywood panels that will hold the rays are mounted on the wall of our great room. Getting to this point was a relief because everything was built on the floor of our garage. I worried that I’d missed a detail or flubbed a measurement. I imagined the panels, which contain 79 holes for holding the rays, would not match up as expected. Then what?

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    Solstice Wall – The Perfect Stain

    Solstice Wall – The Perfect Stain

    For the Solstice wall, we wanted to make the plies even more obvious, so I started experimenting with stains. I found that the stain we used for our western red cedar ceilings and soffits worked well.

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    Solstice Wall – Tools of the Trade

    Solstice Wall – Tools of the Trade

    In planning the Solstice Wall, I experimented with the tools I’d need to make it work. I don’t own table saws or drill presses, so I set out to find what would work. This introduced me to a variety of woodworking gadgets that I now consider essential.

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    Solstice Wall – Making the Circles More Circular

    Solstice Wall – Making the Circles More Circular

    The design of the Solstice Wall involves two 6′ circles. The circles will be made of strips of plywood, what I call “rays”. Sachi and I had a number of discussions about how to manipulate the rays to be more circular. She had the idea of shaping the end of each ray to reflect the flow of the circle’s curve.

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    Solstice Wall – Taping the Rays

    Solstice Wall – Taping the Rays

    I didn’t expect for tape to be such a useful part of the process. It has been helpful in getting an overall sense of the design before we start doing more permanent things like cutting wood and drilling holes.

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    Solstice Wall – Proof of Concept

    Solstice Wall – Proof of Concept

    One of the fascinating parts of this project, to me, is that there is no playbook. I can’t find any helpful resources for how to make the Solstice Wall work. I take this as a challenge. We will experiment our way through.

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    Solstice Wall – Cutting the Rays

    Solstice Wall – Cutting the Rays

    To start building the Solstice Wall, we needed to cut a 4X8 sheet of Baltic birch plywood into 1″ strips that we’ll eventually mount onto the wall. Thankfully, a friend offered his large table saw for cutting the plywood.

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    Solstice Wall Shadow Lines – 2d or 3d?

    Solstice Wall Shadow Lines – 2d or 3d?

    Eventually, we started to consider making the shadow lines 3 dimensional and thought about adhering pieces of wood to the wall. This felt like the right direction, but it needed more. Soon we saw an opportunity to hold the shadow lines off the wall. This way, the shadows would be more interesting and the whole thing would look more sophisticated.

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    The Solstice Wall: An Introduction

    The Solstice Wall: An Introduction

    At our home on Orcas Island, we have a large interior wall that faces south. In 2021, during our first summer at Flattop, we noticed that the roofline cast a shadow across the wall as the sun set every evening. This shadow’s movement gave us an idea.

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