The 10 Best Wind Sculptures
10. ComfKey Rainbow Spinner
- heavy-duty ball-bearing hanger
- collapses flat for storage
- not the most durable option
|Rating||3.6 / 5.0|
9. Big Modern Kinetic Pinwheel
- wheels measure over 2 feet across
- endures all types of weather
- may wobble a bit on included stakes
|Rating||3.5 / 5.0|
8. In The Breeze Triple Wheel
- fabric is stain and uv resistant
- has an additional rear sail
- some missing mounting instructions
|Brand||In the Breeze|
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
7. Sunnydaze Gemini
- brass swiveling hook is included
- appears iridescent in the sun
- has some sharp edges
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
6. Evergreen Garden Twirler
- looks great even without a breeze
- rust-resistant finish
- may need balance adjustments
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
5. Plow & Hearth Solar Flower
- stands over six feet tall
- solar panels are unobtrusive
- a bit expensive given its quality
|Brand||Plow & Hearth|
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
4. Bits and Pieces Magnificent Flower
- clear assembly instructions
- striking color scheme
- requires a lot of wind to spin fast
|Brand||Bits and Pieces|
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
3. Shipityourway Hummingbird
- powder coating is water-resistant
- available in a variety of colors
- includes hardware for hanging
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
2. Red Carpet Cosmix
- available in three sizes
- handcrafted construction
- smooth-spinning swivel hanger
|Brand||Red Carpet Studios|
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
1. Stanwood Dancing Willow Leaves
- wheels spin in opposing directions
- quadruple-anchored for stability
- built to withstands gusts of 70 mph
|Brand||Stanwood Wind Sculpture|
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
What Ancient Cultures Believed About The Wind
Throughout history, humans have created stories for the elements and other workings of nature. In early societies, the wind was often attributed to the work of various deities which were held in high regard by their respective cultures.
The Chinese god of the wind is Fei Lian, which translates literally to flying curtain. Fei Lian is personified as a winged dragon with the tail of a deer and the head of a snake. He carries the wind with him in a bag and causes trouble. His rebellious attitude is kept in check by the archer Houyi, who shot down 9 competing suns to save Earth.
The Egyptian god Shu was one of the primordial gods, who existed before any others. He was the personification of all things air, including the wind and the breath. Shu means emptiness, which can also be translated as he who rises up. Because he was the personification of air, Shu was considered to have a cooling influence on the world.
To ancient Egyptians, the ostrich feather was both a symbol of Shu and the Goddess Ma'at, who weighed the hearts of the deceased against an ostrich feather during the time of judgement. This is actually the origin of the term light-hearted; as the feather was seen as the ultimate symbol of the lightness of the spirit.
The ancient Greeks had multiple wind gods, one for each of the cardinal directions from which the winds come. Each of the gods are associated with different aspects of the weather and seasons. The god Boreas brought the cold winter air, Zephyrus the west wind, Notos the late summer storms and south winds, and Eurus the east wind.
What Causes The Wind?
Ancient cultures attributed the wind to various gods, and many still believe mystical workings create the wind. Using analytical instruments, the western world has created its own story about what causes the wind to blow.
To the scientific mind, the wind is nothing more than thermodynamic changes in atmospheric pressure. Particles within the air are in a constant state of rapid motion. The motion always flows from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure. In a high pressure zone, particles experience a high amount of force, and in a low pressure zone, they experience a lower amount force. The high force pushes the particles from the high pressure zone to the lower pressure zone. This movement is felt as wind.
Although we cannot actually see the air moving, we can measure its motion by the force that it applies on objects such as wind sculptures and flags. A flag will point in the opposite direction of the wind, and a wind sculpture will move rapidly as the force of the wind increases. Leaves or swaying branches will also move opposite the direction from which the wind blows.
For the most part, we measure the horizontal aspects of the wind. These are the changes in atmospheric pressure which we feel most. The vertical direction of wind motion is usually small, except in the case of thunderstorm updrafts. It is actually a very important factor for meteorologists to consider, however. As the air rises, it cools to the point of saturation, which creates clouds. The wind moving downwards will cause the evaporation of clouds as it warms; thus creating fair weather.
Will Wind Sculptures Become The Next Wind Turbines?
The wind is energy created from the inexhaustible forces which surround us on a daily basis. This energy releases no pollution into the air or water, and does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Finding ways for everyone to harness this energy may usher in a new wave of sustainability on the planet.
Wind turbines may be the cleanest form of energy production possible. In a wind turbine, the force of particles moving in the air spins the turbine's large propellers. This action moves a motor in the center of the turbine, and it is the friction in this motor which generates electricity. In a year, a single turbine may generate power equal to the energy use of over 300 residential homes. This is a lot of power, especially when considering that many turbines can fit on a single square mile of land.
The main concern for those who speak against wind turbines is that they are eyesores. A field of large propellers is not what some people consider picturesque. If natural wind energy is to be harnessed, there must be a way to increase turbine aesthetics while still keeping much of their functionality. Wind sculptures may hold the key.
Creators of wind sculptures must study thermodynamics in much the same way a meteorologist would, in order to predict and shape the most artistic ways to capture the various motions of the wind. Though much of the focus of a wind sculpture is on the artistic form and fluid way it moves, it is easy to see how a balance can be struck between the two to create works of art which also create renewable energy. By simply incorporating lightweight materials into wind sculptures and attaching simple generators to them, creators may be surprised at how much energy they can harness.