Weathervanes are available in silhouette, swelled body, and full body styles. A silhouette vane is an outline of a design cut from any piece of flat, rigid material. It can also be cut into abstract shapes to become a bannerette. The advantage of this style of weathervane is that great detail is portrayed for minimal expense. Silhouettes have recently become popular as garden accents. For example, a verdigris copper Watering Can weathervane is at home revolving over a bed of wildflowers. Enhanced weathervanes have pieces added to the silhouette to make it more 3D.
Swelled-body figures are the most common and moderately priced. The two-sided figures have some body but are not fully three-dimensional, and they can range in thickness from 1/4 round to 3/4 round. Only 1/2 inch at their thickest point, cast-aluminum vanes often have 1/4-round figures and display superior detailing. Most machine-pressed copper figures and many handmade vanes have 1/2- to 3/4-round figures. Puffing out the detail on each side of a figure to portray the subject’s profile creates the design.
Full body figures portray a subject three dimensions and details. The figure may be simple and true to the subject’s form, but the most striking are highly detailed figures – they are sculptures in the sky. Copper is the most popular choice for composing the several parts required. Bringing such figures to life requires much time and effort, and the price will reflect this.
There exists no limits to the possibilities of this dynamic style of vane. From the ubiquitous American eagle to a fiercely realistic “Raptor” (created by artist Travis Tuck for Steven Spielberg), a full-bodied weathervane intrigues us from it’s lofty perch.
© 1997 David Ferro