Wholeo Dome

Questions & Answers

A response from the Artist to frequently asked questions.

  • Did you make this yourself? Yes.
  • How much did it cost? $2,000 in materials, including $650 for sheets of glass. These costs would be much higher today.
  • How long did it take to make? Seven years. That included paintings and drawings to develop the images, plus models and framing experiments to develop the structure. Also, there were about six moves, from San Francisco, through NY and Berkeley to its completion in Sonoma county, California.
  • How do you pronounce Wholeo? “Hole-EE-O”.
  • How did you learn to work with stained glass? After receiving my Master of Fine Arts degree, I became an artist in a commercial stained glass studio. Gradually I became interested in the craft of making the windows myself. I learned from craftspeople in Minneapolis, New York, and Pasedena where I was employed.
  • What kind of platform held Wholeo Dome when it was up for six years? 15 posts were sunk into the ground, sticking up 2' from the surface. They formed a 14' diameter circle. Lying on top of the posts, 2"x4" boards formed a continuous base where Wholeo Dome could rest. Each 2"x4" was 2.9' long. This raised Wholeo Dome up two feet, so it was 9' from the ground in the center of the dome.
  • How many pieces of glass are there in Wholeo Dome? Less than the number of grains of sand at the beach. There are 109 leaded glass panels in the dome.
  • How did you design Wholeo Dome? I designed the overall concept first. Each panel was more or less spontaneous, depending on the vision it needed to convey. However, I kept creativity open to the very end. Otherwise, it could have become quite tedious. Perhaps that encouraged excitement, variety, and high energy in each part of the images.
  • Where did you get the geodesic architecture? My source book, Domebook II (published in 1971 by Pacific Domes) listed 12 chord factors for the struts. I multiplied a chord factor by the radius of the dome to get the length for each type of strut. As I was putting the struts together, I found that the surface approximated a curve more evenly if I switched two strut types. {Note, I corrected this in 2003, see dome frame geometry.}

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