Monthly Archives: August 2015


My final carving to complete level 1:

Inward Looking 5

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Assignment 5: Appraisal of outcomes

Artist Statements


Taking inspiration from looking at works by Isamu Noguchi and Barbara Hepworth, with the design more inspired by the flow of water around obstructions (or holes in this case). I have chosen to emphasise the carving marks around the holes to show how it has been created and to provide contrast with the smooth raised areas. It has been painted to represent the colours that could be achieved if this sculpture was cast in bronze.

‘Inward looking’

This sculpture takes its shape from the lens of an eye with the raised areas depicting retinal blood vessels coming from the optic nerve, with the black colour from the pupil. The retinal blood vessels in an eye form a concave shape going towards the lens of the eye. However, with this sculpture the veins join together at the edges or go into the pupil in the centre, hence the name of this piece ‘Inward looking’. This sculpture also offers the viewer a very restricted view through the optic nerve hole, showing a fragment of the scene behind it. Inspired by Giuseppe Penone, in particular ‘Anatomia / Anatomy’ (2011) where he carved veins in marble, and also Geoff Rushton’s work.

Demonstration of technical and visual skills


Plaster (‘Untitled’)

My plaster could have been better mixed as I got some air bubbles which needed filling in once I’d completed the carving. Apart from that I am pleased with the surface finish I achieved.

Wood (‘Inward looking’)

Cherry seems to be a pretty hard wood, which meant it was difficult to carve, even using power tools which I thought would speed up the process.

Wood (incomplete ‘residency’)

I’m not sure what this wood is (sycamore maybe?) but it was easier to carve than the cherry.


I got on pretty well with plaster carving and already have plans to use it for other sculptures outside of the course.

Learning to power carve properly would take quite a long time, so I don’t think I’ve done too badly with my first attempt. My hands don’t take kindly to it though, so I don’t think I’ll pursue this avenue very far!

Observational Skills:

Both sculptures are well balanced, the colours chosen work well and the eye sculpture closely matches my sketches.

Design and Compositional Skills:

Again, mostly designed in my head and through working with the materials rather than from developing sketches, as this is the way I work best.

Quality of Outcome

I am pleased with the form and finish I have achieved in ‘Untitled’ and have been much more successful with the painting on this sculpture.

I am also pleased with the finish I have managed to achieve on ‘Inward Looking’. It would have been nice to do a much larger version of this sculpture, but that is beyond my abilities in carving (and my hand’s endurance!).

Demonstration of Creativity

‘Untitled’ was developed from working with the materials and playing around with possible shapes, mostly on the initial shape itself.

‘Inward looking’ takes multiple elements of the eye and rearranges them to form an interesting and unusual sculpture.


These works take inspiration from a number of sources, ‘Untitled’ came from looking at Isamu Noguchi and Barbara Hepworth, with the design more inspired by the flow of water around obstructions. The residencies follow on from my previous work, with inspiration from Geoff Rushton’s work. ‘Inward looking’ is inspired by Giuseppe Penone, in particular ‘Anatomia / Anatomy’ (2011) where he carved veins in marble, and also Geoff Rushton’s work.


I would have liked to explore the use of mixed media more in this work, but this is difficult to do when you have never used a material before. It would also have been nice to work on a larger scale, but for ‘Inward looking’ this would have to be done using a different media for me to be able to manage it.

Because I had new techniques to learn again, I kept things simple and didn’t develop some of my ideas as far as I could have done. Hopefully I will have more opportunity for this in sculpture 2 as I build on what I have learnt in this course.

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Assignment 5: Eye

I thought I could do a similar disc to the previous one but in wood – this would probably be best done using a lathe to get perfectly round, but I thought I’d give it a try anyway.

A friend gave me a couple of large logs of cherry, so I cut a slice off one of these to use as my initial shape. This wasn’t really round, so had to be sawed to a roughly round shape before starting to work on it.

The initial round (ish) shape

Wood disk 1

It was at this point that I decided to do something different with this. I explored a few ideas:

S5 Sketchbook p11 S5 Sketchbooka p3 S5 Sketchbooka p4 S5 Sketchbooka p1

Then, after having just had an eye appointment, it struck me that I could sculpt an eye with the veins going to the optic nerve. This was probably also inspired by recently looking at the work of Giuseppe Penone, in particular ‘Anatomia / Anatomy’ (2011) where he carved veins in marble. The veins could be carved to run around the outside of the disc (in reality they are a concave shape) and I could drill straight through where the optic nerve would be to allow viewers to look through it.

S5 Sketchbook p14Eye drawing 1 Eye drawing 2


Eye1 Eye2 Eye3Eye4 Eye5 Eye6

This was finished by painting the flat areas in black acrylic paint and waxing and polishing the raised veins:

Inward Looking 1 Inward Looking 2 Inward Looking 3Inward Looking 4 Inward Looking 5 Inward Looking 6

‘Inward looking’
18 x 20 x 6 cm
Cherry and acrylic

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Assignment 5: Residencies

My thinking on this was to carve the basic shape of ‘Residency 8’ or similar, then carve the bulbous section more like the original inspiration of the thistle root. Depending on how long that takes me, the other possibility is to make it an intermediate stage between ‘residency under construction’ and ‘Residency 8’, i.e. have cut outs in some of the outer section revealing the underlying structure, or an almost complete residency.

The starting point was therefore to cut the initial rough shape. I had two options with the wood I had available, use a couple of firewood logs I have, or cut a section from the large cherry log. I decided to start out trying both and see which was the most successful.

Cherry residency 1 Cherry residency 2Branch residency 1 Residency blanks

I worked on the wood pile wood for longer than the cherry and got to this point:


However, my hands were beginning to suffer from the vibration and pressure, so this is where this one will stop for the time being. I may get it finished for the assessment, but unlikely.

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Assignment 5: Disc

I made up some plaster in a large trug and then just smoothed the surface and left it to set…..

Round plaster

With the edges chiselled off and rounded:

Plaster disk 1

Deciding on the design:

S5 Sketchbook p13

Drawing on the design:

Plaster disk 2

Drilling holes:

Plaster disk 3

Carving the recessed elements on both sides:

Plaster disk 4 Plaster disk 5 Plaster disk 6

Then it was time to put my painting skills to the test again:

Plaster disk final 1 Plaster disk final 2 Plaster disk final 3Plaster disk final 4Plaster disk final 5Plaster disk final 6Plaster disk final 7Plaster disk final 8Plaster disk final 9

35 x 35 x 9 cm
Plaster, acrylic

Future development sketches:

S5 Sketchbook p4042 S5 Sketchbook p4043 S5 Sketchbook p4044P1030593 P1030594

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Assignment 5: Ideas

My initial ideas for this assignment are:

  • A disc shaped sculpture in plaster or wood (or both). Similar to Isamu Noguchi’s ‘Black Sun, 1961-2’ and ‘Study from a mill stone, 1961’, but including Barbara Hepworth holes and textures.
  • Continuing my work on ‘residencies’, I plan to sculpt another one of these in a style similar to Geoff Rushton’s work.
  • Fragment of stone/plaster/wood carved with graffiti – fragment of civilisation.

S5 Sketchbook p2 S5 Sketchbook p3S5 Sketchbook p7S5 Sketchbook p8S5 Sketchbook p9S5 Sketchbook p10S5 Sketchbook p11S5 Sketchbook p12

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A month of plaster carvings:

Plaster carving final 6Plaster disk final 4

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