World Religious Symbols - Buddhism

A local church commissioned me to create a series of symbols that represent some of the major religions of the world. This was not intended to be an exhaustive list, mainly because there was room for only seven symbols and no more! So seven Religions / Spiritual Movements were chosen that have had a major, positive impact on humankind.

We worked together to decide on the appropriate symbols and how to best display them. The arched frames were designed to match the existing arches in the church itself. The frames, backs and shelves were all designed and sized in AutoCAD. The drawings were then translated into cutlists for the CNC equipment that was used to cut them to the exact size and shape we wanted.

The symbols were created in a very similar way with the added step of transferring the images of the symbols to AutoCAD. This involved tracing the image, usually in .jpg format, in AutoCAD. This is a time consuming process, but it did result in pleasing and very usable images. The symbols were then cut as above on the CNC router.

The parts were then painted the glorious colors you see here and then assembled into complete units. Sadly, these pictures do not do justice to the colors that were so carefully selected. The combination of the two shades of blue and the two shades of gold work together to complement each other beautifully. You will have to visit the church and see them in person!

There are many, many different images of the Buddha that we could have used, but rather than using an image/likeness of the person, we chose an image that is symbolic of the Buddhist teachings. Though it may look like a ship's wheel, it is actually the wheel of dharma.

This was the most challenging and interesting build of all the symbols. In order to replicate all the details, it was necessary to design this as eighteen separate pieces, which were then further machined before assembly. I even created two jigs that were needed to accurately rout the edges of the spokes. These jigs securely held the small spokes and at the same time guided the router bit on the correct path, which was quite different than the outline of the spoke. The wheels certainly have their own visual impact, but we still have to tell people what they are!

Dimensions: 30" x 42"

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