Kidney Sensation


Project description:

Using recycled steel to create this piece makes it eco-friendly. The kidney shaped steel sculpture will stand about 4 ½ feet tall. It will feature a 1/2 inch thick, 2 ½ feet wide recycled stainless steel that curves into the shape of a kidney bean. The top of the kidney will have a 1X1 opening at the center top where rainfall can enter it thus creating the waterfall. A 4 ½ foot long and about 1 foot wide piece will be welded together to create a non-enclosed “slide” which will catch the falling water from the top of the kidney bringing it down to trickle on the ground. The half enclosed piece will mimic a kidney vessel with the idea that it is “filtering the water” as that’s what kidneys do in the human body, and that is what the wetlands do for the earth. They turn toxic chemicals into non-toxic chemicals. It will be placed on the Westside of the greenhouse on the hill. At the top of North Creek Trail. There is foot, and car traffic on this side of the greenhouse which will be perfect to catch the eye of people and hopefully make them think about the meaning of the kidney and the restoration of the wetlands. The 4 ½ foot kidney waterfall will be anchored down using a cement stabilizer 6 inches deep, 2 ½ feet wide. The kidney will sit on a 2 foot cylinder shaped cement base that will be stained purple.

Artist Statement:

During the course of the quarter I came across an article that explained that the wetlands are like “nature’s kidney”. I researched on my own and confirmed that this was true in that wetlands help eliminate toxic chemicals. The way they do this is by converting toxic chemicals into non-toxic chemicals.  After learning this I was convinced that this would be my sculpture topic. In searching for kidney sculpture ideas I came across a piece by Leslie Whitaker “Kidney Stoned.” Her idea was genius and it inspired me to do similar work. She used stainless recycled steel which is an excellent theme to keep for this project. My idea was to create a kidney using recycled steel as well, however turn it into a natural waterfall. When it rains, and we know we get that often, it will automatically turn into a waterfall which brings forth the concept of natural filtration. The sculpture will be somewhat abstract so for those fortunate days when it doesn’t rain it will stand like a beautiful abstract piece. The natural waterfall idea was brought to light when I went to the Brightwater treatment facility in Snohomish for a class field trip. Cris Bruch created an art piece called the South Branch, North Fork puddles that were created by using pipes. What they do is catch water runoff from the roof which instead of being directed by one boring pipe to the ground he created the multi-directional intertwined pipes that do not flow directly to the ground; instead they create a waterfall that starts about 5 feet off the ground. Lastly I was intrigued to this idea of “nature’s kidney” because I am a Registered Nurse. Being able to tie art, my profession, and nature all in one art piece is pretty amazing.  


I got my quote from Skagit River Steel Burlington, WA. They sell recycled stainless steel at about $1.75 LB. The quote I received for my material would be about $49.00. Given that this material is fairly cheap if I needed additional scraps I wouldn’t be concerned about going over budget of $15,000.00 as for the cement slab that will anchor the sculpture I will be purchasing concrete mix bags of which are relatively inexpensive. I will need about .10 yards each bags is about $5-12.00 for a 60lb bag of concrete. The only things this project will require is time. The pieces will be carefully welding together to create a final master piece. I was researching sustainable staining for the base of my structure. The staining will be bright purple to represent the UW. The best thing about it is that the stain is non-chemical non-reactive, thus adding to the environmental safety aspect of the project. I was not able to get a quote on this piece, however anticipate NorthWest Concrete Enterprises for more information.


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5 responses to “Kidney Sensation

  1. I really like your idea. It looks awesome. I actually don’t really understand how is it gonna work. How is it going to collect the water? Where will the water go at the end?

  2. Thank you for your interest in my sculpture. The water will be coming in from the top of the sculpture. I am thinking of designing a 1 foot by 1 foot opening the shape of a kidney calyx which takes the shape of an hand held fan. It will allow rain water to freely flow in and exit out via the “vessel” which is the sensational looking slide within the kidney. It will empty at the end of the vessel onto the ground creating a waterfall appearance.

  3. I really like this sculpture. It looks really beautiful, and I like the function of it. I think it can really catches people’s eyes and I think the idea and meaning that this sculpture brings out is great!

  4. I think this project exemplifies the filtration process of pollution. What better organ than the kidney? Very thoughtful and creative! You should definitely try submitting this idea and taking it further. I could easily see this in our school, or any public area. Impressive functional Art!

  5. I like your idea of the kidney sculpture, especially when it turns into a waterfall when it rains, that would catch people’s eyes. I like what you said about wetland is the kidney of the earth which is a very creative idea. I haven’t thought about what could wetland do for us before, and your proposal reminds me of the importance of the wetland. Also the location of the sculpture is good since there is lots of traffic and people pass by.

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