Brank sculpture


As part of work for Infernal Device, I decided to attempt to build this brank for a project in a Metal Sculpture class taught by Corinna Mensoff from Phoenix Metalworks.

This piece fit over the head with the bottom ring and spikes resting on the shoulders, encasing the head. The unwieldiness and weight of the device must have been torture enough, but with the various spikes extruded from the body it would have been difficult to lie or stand in a cell.

The first step was modeling the object in a 3d application, Cinema 4d. I've since decided to learn Maya instead, for various reasons. But this enabled me to visualize the basic parts of the device.

brank, modeled in C4D

2 large rings, one larger than the other and cut into an arc, 8 bars that formed the front, sides and spikes, one large arc from front to back and a few embellishment spikes. These last spikes were dropped because I ran out of time...

After many hours of forging, welding, bending and a fair amount of cursing, this is what I created. In hindsight, I would like to have made the bars less curved on the sides and I would still like to curl the long spikes around the butts of the top arc.

finished brank

Perhaps not exactly what I wanted, but it was great fun creating it. If the elephant man ever needs to be tortured you know who to call.

During the preliminary promotion for Infernal Device, the publisher wanted to sit this model on the table as a way of attracting attention. Getting it shipped to New York was by no means easy - I built a custom crate that ended up looking a lot like the box that holds the Tasmanian Devil in Bugs Bunny cartoons - complete with black 'this end up' arrows. It turned out to be a little over-engineered, as the branks successfully made the return trip in not much more than a cardboard box.