41134 Deer Trail Road
The Sea Ranch, CA 95497
Phone: 408-564-3794 / 707-785-2541
PO Box 483, The Sea Ranch, CA 95497
Mark Chase began creating sculptures of scientific models and instruments when he realized he could not afford authentic antique pieces to grace his personal collection of scientific instruments. An armillary sphere was the first model he built for himself. The armillary sphere is a model of the cosmos as it was perceived before the 1600’s. Instruments and models of that period were a blend of science and art. The term “armillary” is derived from the Greek term “armilla” meaning “bracelets or rings”. The rings represent the movements of known celestial objects in relationship to the central sphere. The central sphere was really the point of controversy and contention – was the earth or sun the center of the universe?
Since Mark really enjoyed crafting the armillary sphere, he continued to create other scientific models. Many people were interested in them and wanted to purchase them. So he began to sell them in order to invest in better tools and machinery. Within a couple years, Mark started a business called “Planetary Visions” which sold primarily armillary spheres and a garage workshop with a mill, lathe, and other tools used to work with metal. Planetary Visions was active over 10 years and his creations are now in universities, corporate and public installations, and private collections in Australia, Brazil, Canada, UK and other European countries, and the United States.
Unlike most modern reproductions of armillary spheres which consist of inexpensive wrought iron, Mark made his armillary rings from either solid brass or copper. In addition, all the interior rings rotated on an axis similar to the original, antique armillary spheres. His background in aerospace has greatly influenced his designs, use of materials and craftsmanship. His reputation for making these artistically rendered spheres was well known. In fact, Mark was contacted by the Smithsonian to design and submit a proposal for a very large armillary sphere model to be installed in the entry way of the “Exploring the Universe” exhibit. The proposal was submitted but wasn’t accepted due to overruns in the overall project.
Now retired and relocated to this beautiful north coast, Mark continues to be engrossed in creating artworks from brass, copper, bronze, wood and minerals. The majority of his artworks are still based on his visions of various universes; seen and unseen. As a self-taught artisan, Mark makes each piece as if it will be in his own collection and to last a lifetime. Each of his creations are one-of-a-kind, no two are alike unless they were commissioned to be so.