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BRATTLEBORO — How would you imagine the universe being operated by a simple crank and gears, kinetically spinning to make our world turn? Brattleboro artist, Bruce Campbell, tries to make those thoughts into a reality in his artwork.

When living in Connecticut, Campbell would take a two-hour train ride to his job as a book designer in New York City. One day in the early 1990s, he forgot to get his sister a card, and that moment would be the start of his sculpting career.

Bruce Campbell, an artist in Brattleboro, Vt., works on a new kinetic sculpture inside his studio on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.

“I kept wire and a pair of pliers in my briefcase because I use to make my own hooks to hold my jacket if I had to stand on the train on my way home,” Campbell said. “ So I made her a card out of wire saying happy birthday. It was so much fun, by the time I finished I was at my destination. So every week I started to bring wire and pliers and just started making very simple animals.”

Around 2003, he started making the wire sculptures kinetic. He would make a crank from wire that would create simple movement in the sculptures.

Making the sculptures kinetic creates different movement and design by whoever is turning it.

“Everyone will turn it differently. A little child might spin it fast and an adult may turn it slower, creating a different effect on the speed,” Campbell said. “One thing I am trying to depict is the different phenomenon of the universe, like eclipses and meteor showers.”

Each piece can take up to a month to create — a week to come up with an idea and another week to generate the idea on a computer, creating new gears, cranks and spinners. Then it takes a few weeks hammering, sawing and forging the sculptures at his studio.

Campbell's artwork is on display at Mitchell-Giddings Fine Arts, 181-183 Main Street, Brattleboro. For more information, go to or call 802-251-8290.

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