A fragile and intricate modern sculpture

I created the sculpture from water-soaked wooden twigs and a large mirrored surface for a Fine Art project. It shows an intricate network of very thin, fragile wooden twigs that have been carefully drilled into the brittle, mirrored base. I had to work very carefully when creating this project as I knew all of the materials could break, snap or shatter very easily. 


water soaking

Before making the actual sculpture I created a smaller prototype (pictured above). The prototype was made  from the same wooden twigs that I planned to use in the finished version, however they were drilled into a wooden base instead of a mirror. The wooden twigs are very brittle, so to stop them snapping I soaked them in water for 24 hours before bending them into shape. The twigs absorbed the water which weakened the internal structure of the wood allowing them to be easily bent and manipulated into any shape or curve. I then shaped the wooden twigs, and when they dried they set into the position they were in.


Instead of lots of twigs randomly placed on the wooden board, I wanted them to have a relationship with each other which meant they had to intertwine and intersect in someway. When water soaking the twigs, I took into consideration how they would bend around each other to create dynamic curves and shapes. To add another element of connection between the wooden twigs, I used a very fine and precise electric drill to create small holes in certain twigs. I then fed the thinnest end of other twigs through the holes creating what led to be a self supporting structure with no adhesive. 


After the prototype I used the same technique of drilling small holes in the wooden twigs to create a self supporting structure, however this time instead of on a wooden base it was on a mirror. This creates and interesting illusion which would loop some of the wooden pieces around in a symmetrical shape. It also gave a greater sense of scale, giving an impression that the sculpture was much bigger than it actually was. It also looked like part of it was sinking into a water-like or transparent glass surface. When drilling holes in the mirror, I had to start off slowly to avoid in shattering or scratching. Underneath the thin mirror was a 2cm thick block of wood which the wooden twigs were planted into. This helped to support them better and avoid the whole structure collapsing.


The final sculpture turned out great, and I was really pleased with the result. It was self-supporting which meant it required much more thinking and consideration to the structural properties rather than relying on glue and adhesive. Watch below two short videos showing the prototype that I created and the finished sculpture with the mirrored surface. 

ArtAdam Marshart, sculpture, 1