The Amazing Monarch Man

Shop Class evening instructor, Director of the Bank of the Arts/Craven Arts Council, and recognized large format sculptor, Jonathan Burger just completed and installed another commission piece.


After struggling with form construction concepts, Jon discovered a method that produced a positive mold that he could then use to make a negative mold out of fiberglass with flanges.


The fiberglass mold was designed to be bolted together and taken apart allowing Jon to weld stainless steel butterflies inside the mold. After you have the mold, all you need is over 1,000 stainless steel butterflies. So, how do you cut 1,000 stainless steel butterflies?


You install a CNC plasma cutter.


Simply setup the machine, fill the tank with coolant, design a butterfly, import your butterfly through several programs to get sized and in a format the machines driver recognizes, set your X, Y and Z reference, and let her rip. Actually, it has a steep learning curve.


After numerous cuts, over 1,000 butterflies are created, but they need a little polishing.


After some experimentation, Jon did the initial cleaning with a concrete mixer and gravel.


Volunteers pitched in and helped with butterfly polishing. Pollie became a butterfly polisher!


Jon hired a former welding student, Jackson, to help with the project.


There were numerous volunteer polishers, and we apologize for not getting a photo or even keeping track of all the volunteers that pitched-in. Of all the volunteers, Ron Saulnier (former BMW engineer) was recognized as the most prolific polisher.


Meanwhile, Jon started welding...


And, welding...


And welding (OSHA be damned).


"Hey Scotty, hold his head while I weld it on."


NOTE: Most of the photos use in this article were provided by Scotty Canady, Shop Class's Operations Manager. Thanks, Scotty!


Evidently as the deadline approached, there was a little stress in the shop. I was on vacation.


After welding there was a little more cleanup.


After an all-nighter, The Man was delivered and installed in Florida.


Congratulations to Jon and his squad of volunteers!


The location of the installation is the new Monarch Art Trail opening off of Scenic Hwy 30A near Panama Beach Florida. Here's an article on the trail and the grand opening that occurred November 12, 2021:







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