BFA Tuesday : a look into the life of an art student pursuing a BFA at the University of West Florida. Namely, this artist. //
It is with an added pleasure that I create this BFA post today. For this update is dedicated to the wood sculpture that I have been in the process of making for some 5 weeks or so, and is thusly finished. The update will span 2 posts so be sure to read on.
Course — Sculpture
Assignment — Deriving inspiration from specific characteristics within two already created objects, create an abstract form out of wood exploring those characteristics.
I began this sculpture by simply making sketches of objects I saw and resonated with. Basically things I found aesthetically pleasing or interesting. The shape of a glass bottle, the form a parachute made when filled with air, etc. I remember sitting in Barnes and Noble with Beth Taylor and just looking around in magazines and drawing things. I really had no idea what I was going to create. We were asked to make two models exploring the concepts we were interested in and bring them to class to discuss our ideas with Gary (Professor Batzloff). I brought two little forms made out of cardboard.
As I was sitting on the floor of my room the night before (always the night before it seems) cutting up cardboard, bending and crumpling the pieces, I found that there were these ripple effects made on the interior space of the cardboard when it was bent a certain way. I liked them so much that I decided that I would explore the relationships between interior and exterior spaces with this wood piece. A couple nights later I made the sketches you see on the right side of my notebook up top, I designed the form and was now off to begin fleshing it out with the actual material.
I’ve always enjoyed working with wood. When I was younger I was continuously building forts and tree houses. Nailing pieces of plywood together, haphazardly drilling screws into trees and fences. My dad, papa, has an affinity with woodworking as well. Most of my enjoyment is probably derived from him. It has become a kind of bond we share now, and I am grateful for that.
Our wood choices for the project were between a 1”x2”x4” piece Select Pine or Popler. But as I was talking out my ideas with Gary he told me there was some scrap material outside I could use if I liked. I went out and found a shoddy looking log that I thought I could work my piece out of. We brought it in and cut it in half using the bandsaw. It turned out to be a beautiful Red Maple. I was pumped. Inspired by this gorgeous material I drove into my work with new found enthusiasm.
I think that the major element I have taken from working on this piece has not been stronger woodworking skills, but a better understanding of the significance of process. The way in which one creates a piece. The methods and inspiration found in the midst of creation. Learning to reflect on my own feelings and efforts while in the middle of a work. After I fleshed out my interior spaces with the angle grinder and began forming my exterior space I realized that the methods of working, though rarely seen in the finished project, can speak a great deal into ones work, and further more into oneself. This is I think where I am beginning to understand that truly being an artist far exceeds the simple act of producing some finished thing.
As I made all those small cuts perpendicular to the log with the bandsaw, forming the general shape of my object, I found an incredibly intriguing aesthetic develop. All those small cuts into the wood were so interesting! All of a sudden whether I worked in an aesthetically pleasing manner or not became an important thought; because these methods speak into a work. As I made the cut moving parallel with the form those small cuts and that interesting aesthetic were gone, and slowly with them went my preconceived notions about what my piece was going to be.
My second post will come tomorrow. Lots more pictures and thoughts to share!