Enter the Kraken

Angela Li, M1, Class of 2023

I have always loved drawing upon nature for inspiration for my artwork, especially for my pieces in metalsmithing. The tension between the organic, pleomorphic elements found in nature and the rigid, unyielding structure of metal is an idea I like to explore in my work. This piece, titled “Enter the Kraken” (derived from Bruce Lee’s iconic movie “Enter the Dragon”), is a sequel to a vase I had made a semester prior, but this was an extra challenge to myself: to make a smaller, more lifelike version of an octopus that is free standing.

Work in progress shot of the bronze casting grain ready to be soldered to the body

Truly, this was one of my most challenging pieces yet; raising a small vessel from a flat sheet of metal was tougher than raising a larger one, and there was certainly a time throughout my process where I was truly ready to give up on the project. But because of the ideas and support of my studio mates and professors, I learned to adapt and improvise through the struggles, and this little octopus has since become one of my favorite pieces because of those struggles.


“Enter the Kraken” is made almost entirely of copper, with the body raised from a flat sheet of copper and the legs forged from thick copper rod. After soldering each of the eight tentacles one by one to the body, I soldered bronze casting grain for some texture and a little element of realism. The finishing touch was a liver of sulfur patina to achieve a dark, oxidized color, and the polished bronze casting grain and the tips of the tentacles served as a contrast to the matte black of the body.

Some obligatory beauty shots of “Enter the Kraken”

Check out more of my previous work on my instagram @angela.lxh !

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