MW Calendar


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.

Class Projects
Project 1, Non-Object: 5/29 @ 10am
Project 2, Representational Self-Portrait: Primary Contour, basic measurements and eye sockets
Finish Features/Hair
Due! 6/8
Fired and Sealed/Painted head:
Project 3, Substitution Cast Metal:
Wax: 6/2
Finished: 6/19
Project 4, Abstraction Wood Construction: 6/19

Homework Project,
Content Based Assemblage:
Research/Journal (example images and 1.5 pages on 3 possible topics)  6/10
Project due and remaining journal: 6/19

Self research Paper: 6/1
Artist Research Paper: 6/8
Assemblge Journal Step 1-2: 6/10
Gallery Paper: Extra Credit!
Assemblage Journal Step 3-4: 6/19

Final Crits:

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.

Class is cancelled today.  Please work on your assemblage sculptures.  Their deadline is now on Friday.

1. Xerox/Print images of 10 representational figurative sculptures.  Pay attention to how the artist modeled the primary contours and used convex form.  Name the artist/time period/location and cite the source.
2. Include drawing finished   piece.
3. What is the difference between proportion and scale (define)?  What scale is your sculpture?  Are the proportions correct or have you distorted them?
4. Define representational sculpture.
5. What are additive processes in sculpture?
6. What is the difference between concave and convex forms?  Are there any truly concave forms in the human figure?  How does this apply to figurative scultpure.  Point out the most obvious and the most subtle point where two convex shapes meet in the form.
7. What is the difference between primary and secondary contours in the form.  Cite an example on your drawing.
7. What can you do to prevent the clay from exploding or cracking in the kiln?

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

Objective: Within sculpture, the open spaces around and inside the form are just as important as the masses that actually make up the form.  Your objective is create an non-objective form that not only uses directional forces to lead the viewers eyes around the piece, but encourages them to investigate the internal areas of the form.  You should also consider the use of texture/pattern to create areas of emphasis and subordination.  This is a purely formal exercise – there should be no reference to actual objects or ideas nor should the piece have a distinct front, back, top or bottom.

Artists to look at:
Barbara Hepworrth, Henry Moore, Jean Arp, Isamu Noguchi

Step 1:  Find at least five forms that you find interesting for their shape and texture – not what they actually represent, and gather images or drawings of these forms.  Create drawings based on the visual elements that you find interesting from these forms.  They should not in any way resemble the original forms, nor should they resemble any real object.  This is an exercise in pure design.  You should spend at least thirty minutes exploring and evolving these shapes.  At no point should your images give reference to actual objects.

Step 2:  Choose the most interesting of your drawings develop that shape in three dimensional form with clay (3”-4” in size).  This form should not have a specific front or back/top or bottom – it should appear complete from all views and include a negative space.  Complete three models based on your drawings.

Step 3:  Cast a block by pouring plaster into a 1 gallon bucket that is sprayed with a release like “PAM” cooking spray.  Your final block should be no smaller than 6” in any direction and no larger than 10” in any direction.  You may chose to add pigment at the mixing stage or you may choose to add color to the form after carving.  Chose your favorite clay model and use it as a basis for your carving.  Subtract material using chisels and rasps to duplicate your clay model.  Pay special attention to the balance of positive and negative space.  Be careful in creating any narrow forms, especially one that protrude from the form, because the plaster will be fragile and can break easily.

Keep in mind how the form will interact with the ground or its base.  How will color or pattern effect the final presentation?  Is the viewer enticed to walk around and look inside the form?  Is the internal texture the same as the external? (100pts.)

Materials Needed:  your journal,
1. 25 pounds of cone 10, high fire clay (you will use a small portion for the project and the remaining for the representational project)
Best sources are: FCC Bookstore, Clay Mix 1003 N. Abbey Street, Potter’s Studio on 905 “R” Street or Jean’s Ceramics 5714 E. Shields
2. Art plaster, molding plaster or plaster of paris – for the best deal financially, you should consider splitting a 50 pound bag between 2 people from
Eagle Building Materials – 1407 N. Clark.
It will cost at least 2xs as much from any other place.
3. A three to five gallon bucket to act as a mold
4. Cooking Spray or wd40 to act as a release
5. Dust mask and safety glasses
You also may want to get chisels, a mallet, pigment, paint and or sandpaper from Harbor Freight/Mac Frugal or a “Dollar Store”, sandpaper, pigment, paint.

Safety Gear:
You will need ear plugs,goggles and dust masks.    You may also want rubber gloves and leather gloves.

Journal Questions:

  • Xerox/print at least ten examples of non-objective sculpture.
  • Create a detailed drawing of your finished form.
  • Define non-objective as it applies to sculpture.
  • Define subtraction as it applies to sculpture.
  • Define both positive and negative space?  Lable these on your drawing.
  • What is a directional force (define)? Lable this on your drawing?
  • What safety precautions should you take with plaster?

  • 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 24 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 Asymmetrical and Symmetrical Balance.  How have you used them in your sculpture?  Label them on your drawing.
    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?


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