Note: Projects are always due at the beginning of class.   Journals are due along with each project (midnight via email). These dates are tentative and may change. If I have not announced a change, it is your responsibility to get the work in on the due date.

All written assignments/journals are due in class or via email by midnight on their due dates below. Email assignments to

For questions outside of class email me at or text 917-740-9378 or make an appointment with me. I am usually available after each class.

Class Projects
Project 1, Non-Object: 9/14 (extension)
Project 2, Representational Self-Portrait:
Primary Contour, basic measurements and eye sockets:
Skull: Wed. 9/30
Muscles/skin: Mon. 10/5
Features: Wed. 10/7
Finish Features/Hair: Mon. 10/12
Critique: Mon. 10/19
Hollow: Wed. 10/21
Project 3, Substitution Cast Metal:
Wax: Wed. 10/27
Clean up bronze:
Project 4, Abstraction, Wood Construction: 12/16

Homework Project,
Content Based Assemblage: 10/14
Research/Journal (example images and 1.5 pages on 3 possible topics) and examples is assemblage art
Project due and remaining journal: 12/2


Artist Research Paper: 9/2
Self research Paper: 10/7
Assemblge Journal Step 1-2: 10/14
Gallery Paper: 11/11
Assemblage Journal Step 3-4: 12/2

Final Crits: Wed. 12/16


25 points Extra credit if you attend and write 1 page paper about what you heard/saw.

wood joints

Objective:  To create a free-standing piece of sculpture out of wood that uses at least two of the listed joints (without nails or screws) listed in the handout.  There should be something about the nature of your composition that emphasizes lines and planes and creates strong directional forces.  You should use the joints as focal or emphasis points within the piece.  The piece should be predominately aesthetic, however it may have a function if it is not at all obvious.  The sculpture must be fully three-dimensional with the back, front and sides being equally interesting.  The sculpture should be abstracted from an actual form(s).  If you add height+width+depth the measurement should be greater than 40 inches or over 20 inches tall. The subject of the sculpture should convey emotional or conceptual content. It should tell a story about the subject or convey the emotions you feel about the images that you are abstracting. The subject matter should be something that you relate to on a personal level. IT SHOULD NOT BE REPRESENTATIONAL. Although you are using real objects as inspiration, they should be altered significantly from the original forms.

Step 1:  Find at least three different images/objects/forms that you find interesting enough to use as a base for a sculpture.  Create drawings of the images sending it through the process of abstraction by reorganizing the visual information.  You may want to consider combining more than one image.  Basically, I want you translate the visual information into your own language and create a “visual poem” with these images.  What story does it tell? Try adding and subtracting areas, try breaking the forms down into geometric or organic shapes. Refer to the methods that artists used to abstract sculpture discussed in the art history lecture.  Begin to think of the piece in three dimensions as it relates to wood – will it gain mass through layers?  Will it be a contained volume?  Will it be an open form with a great deal of negative space?  Focus the path that the viewer’s eye will move through the form. Where will the eye linger and create emphasis points? How is the eye guided and what forms are in subordination? How is the form balanced – symmetrical or asymmetrical? Consider how the form displays the subject and conveys content. 

Complete detailed drawings of at least three different sculptures, choose your favorite to construct in wood.  Next I want you to create at least two different 3D models using cardboard.  At this point you will need to think seriously about measurements and thickness of wood so that you can buy your wood.

Step 2: Using handsaws, chisels and glue, assemble the structure of your sculpture. You may use chisels, rasps and files to develop more organic forms.  To develop more geometric forms, use hand planes and sandpaper.  You may incorporate other materials into the final piece of sculpture (hinges, motors, wire, plaster ect.)  Put a finish on the wood using stains, varnishes, waxes or paints.   (100 pts.)

Required Materials: Journal. Several wood boards – recommend soft woods such as pine (white is better than yellow), douglas fir, spruce or redwood; of the hardwoods primarily alder, basswood or birch.  The least expensive choice will be pine or fir.  You may use other hardwoods, however they are more expensive and harder to work by hand.

Wood glue.  Sandpaper.   Stains, paints, varnishes or waxes.  You may bring other materials into the piece, however the structure must be primarily wood.
If this is your first time working with wood, I suggest using white pine or fir.
Make sure your boards are straight and have few knots. Buy the wood in the thickness you want to use. I suggest buying wood 1 inch or thinner – a good size to start with is a 1″x6″ that is at least 6 feet long. 2″x4″s and 4″x4″ are too thick for many of our saws so I would avoid them.

You may use “found” wood. Please remove all nails and screws BEFORE using any of my saws. Keep in mind that if you use tree branches, you will have to cut them by hand.

Best local sources for wood:
White pine or Douglas fir are inexpensive good “beginner” woods for a construction project. You are welcome to use any wood that came from a tree. Boards that are less than 1″ thick are usually easier to use. Make a model first – that will tell you how much wood to use. You may use found wood, however any nails or screws must be removed first. Tree branches must be cut by hand.

  • Woodshed, 850 Lincoln, Clovis
  • White Pine Lumber, 4392 N Blackstone

Journal Questions:

  1. Xerox/Print at least ten pieces of sculpture that are abstract.  Label each with Artist Name and the object that they abstracted from (bird, person ect.).  Find at least three pieces of sculpture that use wood with a construction/joinery process.
  2. Create a detailed drawing of your piece.  Label the directional forces and emphasis points.  Include your original idea drawings in your journal.
  3. Define abstraction.  What objects/things is your abstraction based on?  What elements of the original image(s) have you changed?  How?
  4. Sketch the joints you have chosen.  What are their names?
  5. Define the construction process and how it applies to sculpture.
  6. Describe at least two historical movements of abstraction? What movement is your piece most like and how?
  7. What is the difference between emphasis and subordination?  What are your emphasis points?  Where have you used subordination?
  8. What is the difference between form, subject and content? How have you used each in your piece?
  9. Is the piece fully 3-D with all sides equally interesting?  Why is this important in a piece of sculpture?

My apologies but class is cancelled today.  Please work on the assemblage project.  If you have not done the initial writing and research of pictures please get it to me (journal part 1).

Each stage has a due date, which if missed can cause you to miss the entire project!

Objective: To create a portrait of your cultural/family past without using direct images of yourself or any family members. In a sense, this is a self-portrait of who you are and where you came from. Your use of imagery should be poetic as opposed to literal. You can choose to focus on one aspect or image from your cultural/family past or choose to collage several images together. This element should be the focal or emphasis point of your sculpture. There should be something about how you use the form and texture that makes the viewer want to pick it up and hold it. You should think of it as a hand held object. You should think about the bottom of the sculpture as well and how it would feel to roll it around in your hands.

Step 1: Complete research assignment.

Step 2: Create a small image that relates directly to your self research assignment out of wax. Your image should be designed to be hand-held, picked up and turned over.  Forms that do not have a base and have more than one potential “up” are more likely to be picked up.   The piece should feel good to the touch – think about texture, form and color. What forms are more likely to be picked up?  What textures would you want to touch?  How will the viewer be rewarded for picking the object up? Will there be a surprise on the underside?  How does the form contacts the ground and how does it feel in the hand?

Step 3: Gate the wax form then create a ceramic shell mold, burn-out the wax and cast the form in bronze. De-gate, chase and patinate the bronze form.

Materials: journal, cast bronze element (which you will create) ANYTHING

Journal (10pts.)
1. Sketches of your original ideas and a Sketch of your final project.
2. In a few paragraphs, describe how this piece is a portrait of your family/cultural past.
3. What is a substitution process?
4. Describe the ceramic shell casting process.
5. Is there something about the color, texture, size, shape of the piece that makes the viewer want to pick it up and hold it? What is it?
6. Describe the safety procedures used during bronze casting.

Muscle Diagrams


Print these for the next class.



Worth: 50 pts.

In addition to the visual images requested for each answer, all answers should have a well written, short essay ½ or longer page in length. Make sure you use complete sentences and proper grammar. Question 1 is worth 15 points, the remainder are worth 7 each.

Research and document your sources ie. Cite your source.
Your sources may include:
A family member
Archeology texts
Art history or art appreciation texts
The internet
Sociology texts

1. A. Xerox/Print/Photograph ten sculptural images from your heritage. At least five should be more than 1000 years old for Western/European cultures if at all possible or more than 200 years old from Non-Western cultures. You should at least try to find work from around or before the time your ancestors came to this continent. I am somewhat flexible about the dates, try your best here.

For example, one of my ancestors came to America from Scotland in 1637. In this case I would try to find sculpture from the Northern European cultures from the 1600’s or earlier. There is a castle and standing stones in the area around Edzell, Scotland that I could look at. I have another ancestor who is Comanche, so I would find work from Plains Native Americans – older the better and hopefully 200+ years old. In this case, I would be looking at tools and clothing rather than sculptures, as there were not much for sculpture making. Although it is nice to find sculpture from the exact city and country, you can look in the region. For example, if you are Hmong you could look in any South-eastern Asian country such as Cambodia, Thailand, Laos ect. In this case you might want to look at Ankor Wat in Cambodia (very cool place). If you are from Germany, you can look at any neighboring central European country such as Austria or Poland.

If your heritage is multicultural choose images from one or more of these cultures – make your choices based on which ones had the most influence on who you are today.

B. Answer the following: What are the visual elements (shapes, textures, colors, materials etc.) that are common in the images that you have chosen? What are the major differences in the visual elements of the pieces you have chosen? Describe the aspects of each piece that you particularly like and dislike from each image and explain why.

2. A. Draw/photograph a vivid visual image that remains strong in your mind from your childhood.

B. Write about the experience and explain what made it such a strong memory. What about the image attracts you? What do you dislike about the image? What are the dominate visual elements in the image?

3. Write about a strongly held family or cultural belief or value and explain why this belief or value is important to you. What visual images do you associate with this image?

4. A. Draw or photograph a traditional tool, traditional costume or other artifact specific to your cultural heritage.

B. Explain the objects use, custom and any symbolism involved with the object. What about the image attracts you? What do you dislike about the image? What are the dominate visual elements in the image?

5. A. Draw or photograph an often-used object from your childhood that evokes humorous memories, or that you have created stories around.

B. Describe the memories that surround this object. What about the image attracts you? What do you dislike about the image? What are the dominate visual elements in the image?

6. Draw, photograph or write a description of food traditional to your family or culture, and include recipes if possible. (put the recipe on a separate piece of paper)

A list of visual elements: line, shape, plane, mass, volume, space, light, color, texture, pattern, motion


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