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Planning & Fabrication: Sculpture



This is a series of 3 projects over the course of 10 weeks. The first was a wearable cardboard sculpture, designed to be an extension of the human form. The second project was a “Connections in Wood,” where we created “interactive, kinetic and social practice sculpture, in groups of 3 or 4, with a series of repeating shapes or constructions.” The last project, “Lines in Space,” was individual, and we were meant to individually utilize metal rods to construct a site-specific sculpture.


I started the wearable cardboard project by sketching and ideating, choosing to go in the direction of combining form and function in fashion for the future. Inspired by climate change and how deserts will be getting hotter, I created shoulder coverings that would shield someone from the worst of the sun. I had initially planned it to be alongside a hat piece as the sketches show. I used the sketches as a loose guideline for the cuts I made in the cardboard, and how they were arranged before being fastened with hot glue.
For the kinetic, interactive wooden project, my team was inspired to put a spin on rat roulette, where there were no real good outcomes for the player. We began with a rough cardboard prototype, and we began to work through details of our fabrication process with the help of 3D-modeling with Autodesk Fusion 360. We had two plans, either try to steam bend some of the pieces to create a curve with supports, using much less wood, or stack layers and sand them down, using much more wood. Ultimately we combined the best parts of each, layering alternating concentric circles, fastening them with wood glue before cutting them into wedges and sanding them down. We used a variety of techniques to create different textures on each wedge. Once the team created the mechanism that would allow it to spin, we put it all together and added a backing which would allow the marble to stay in the circle.
The process for making the metal coyote was fairly straightforward. I was inspired by the coyote's tendency to inhabit urban areas, while remaining a watchful but elusive creature. I was also inspired by oral stories of Coyote as a trickster and how he was always where he shouldn’t be, so I decided to position my sculpture on the outskirts of our area. I drew up an initial, then simplified sketch, which I used to create a prototype out of pipe cleaners to better understand joints and connections. Then I drew out a 1:1 reference which I used in the shop when bending and cutting metal rods. I worked in batches, and once I had a handful of pieces, I went into the welding shop to MIG weld them together until the sculpture was assembled. Then I finished by sanding down any rough spots.


I completed the shoulder/neck piece by manipulating the cardboard to generate a range of textures for visual variety. I was inspired by a butterfly to be a centerpiece design. I made a basic display out of cardboard so it had something to rest on.
Once the wooden roulette wheel was complete, numbers were drawn on the centerpiece and the team generated a number of deceptive or negative outcomes. The class was able to spin the ball around the wheel and interact with it freely.
I positioned my metal sculpture in my planned location, by the bike racks, and the class visited each location for critique. One piece of feedback I got was that it was a good decision to leave the eyes abstract, because it conveyed that watchful gaze very well.


Unfortunately I did not have enough time to fabricate the accompanying piece, the veiled hat. I was disappointed by this, but I don’t think I could’ve managed my time any better, as we had a pretty quick turnaround time. If I had an extra week, I think the hat would have also made it for the critique.
I think the wooden project struggled in its execution of the game itself. However, I think our fabrication ended up being much better than what I expected, especially in how visually interesting it was.
The only issue I have with this project is that the pieces were slightly shifted around in the welding process (this was my first time welding after one practice with scrap metal). Because of this, it isn’t an exact copy of what I had drawn and looks a little more wolf-like in my opinion.

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