I haven’t sculpted much and looked forward to what new things I could learn in the world of three-dimensional sculpture. Professor Stephanie Robison guided the class through five projects throughout the semester to learn sculptural concepts that include sculpting something realistically in clay, then abstracting it in plaster, creating a work exploring relationships between forms in paper, material transformation using masking tape, and finally an interpretation of an animal in wood. Awesome professor––I learned a lot from her and enjoyed her upbeat personality and humor.
Realism in Clay
My first assignment was to choose a small object and model that object in an oil-based clay. A staple-puller was my first sculpture.
Abstract sculptures inspired by the staple-puller––going from realism to abstract in one-fell swoop.
Subtraction Sculpture Process in Plaster
The first assignment was the inspiration for the subtraction project in plaster. I chose one of the abstractions to carve from a block of plaster. To prepare for the subtractive carving, I had to create a block of plaster by mixing the plaster, pour into a carton and let it set for a few weeks.
I was happy with the end result, however, at times, it was arduous especially the night before it was due. I had painted it with a gloss acrylic but it rubbed right off the plaster. What worked?… cheap glue from Walgreens. I intended for this sculpture to be tactile, inviting the viewer to touch and create new configurations, as well as “kinetic”; it rocks back and forth like a cradle.
Relationships Between Forms Using Paper
The third assignment was to use paper and/or cardboard to make a 3-D form. The form was to have at least 4 solid volumes, 4 contact junctions, 1 spatial tension junction, 4 interconnecting junctions, be non-symmetrical, and must be balanced. For extra credit we could incorporate repetition and gradation.
The next three sculptures are ideas for the sculpture to be made. At the time that I made them, my adopted Grandmother, Leah passed away at age 100. These sculptures and the final one, were all inspired by her incredible spirit and how much she gave to her community in Clements, California.
“Leah”––a sculpture inspired by the life of my adopted grandmother, was symbolic. Every component meant something: the base represented a quartz crystal that radiated energy (Leah), the wire represented the people who embraced her and came to her for love and support, the hot glue drips represented tears from those people seeking refuge with her, and finally, the bowl was her generous heart. I was okay with the end result, but in the end, I felt it was overdone. I forgot a solid volume component too. In addition to paper maché and wire, I incorporated light and water. The water leaked everywhere. I think I did a better job with my initial sculptures that were to be the inspiration for this final sculpture.
Material Transformation Using Masking Tape
We were to create a work of art using only masking tape. We were to transcend the original identity of the masking tape. The requirements was to create a sculpture with impeccable craftsmanship, successful transformation of the material, no larger than a breadbox.
This sculpture was exhaustive… my thumb was worn out from twisting the tape. I really like it though and I think it was successful in transforming masking tape into a straw basket. In the weeks following the completion of this sculpture, the tape started to sink and un-stick itself. If I had the time to create another one, I’d build an armature first and then wrap the tape and glue the tape down as I weave it.
Animal Inspired Wood Sculpture
Assignment was to research a chosen animal and collect pictures, drawings, articles, myths, stories, and memories. Using wood as the main material, we were to design a sculpture that includes physical attributes of the animal. There was to be one moveable part. The learning objectives was to gain knowledge of various methods of cutting, assembling and joining wood, become familiar with how to care for and safely use power and hand tools, expand conceptual development, and successfully design and compose in three-‐dimension.
The inspiration for this sculpture was a name given to me by my adopted father who was Southern Cheyenne medicine man, N. Turtle. He named me “Frog Feathers” (I think he was being silly). I had no idea I’d paint this wood sculpture in black with a “Jackson Pollock treatment” on the wings. I decided that it was looking to folk’ish and wanted to take it into left field and give it a folk meets modern look. What you can’t see, is a frog face on the back of the owl. I don’t like it so not showing it! It’s a little creepy. The wings are kinetic; they move like a sea-saw.