Many may ask, “Why toothpicks?" To that I say because they are lines, because they are uniform, because they are everyday objects that we are already familiar with, and probably have certain prejudices against (as an art media), because they are small and require finesse, because they test one’s ability to focus, because there is a certain naïve quality to the finished pieces, because it is not what you have to work with that is important, it is what you do with what you have.
Then there is the glue. I only allow slow drying wood glue. No hot glue, no epoxy, just wood glue. This generally frustrates students, and sends some into a “is it possible for me to survive this class or should I drop now” thought process.
These small-scale sculptures were meant as a format for students to explore individual ideas on their own, leading up to a large-scale collaborative sculpture. The finished piece will stand around 16 feet tall and will grace the courtyard of Miller Fine Arts at the end of Jan term. That is until we burn it in the spring.
Yes, the real name of this course during Jan term is the “Built to Burn” project. In the spring, late April or early May, we will change the location of the larger sculpture in the field to the west of Miller Fine Arts, and burn it to the ground, one fine evening. We have all kinds of reasons for this as well, but the best way to understand is to experience it. If you have not been to the burn yet, what are you waiting for? That will be the true culmination of this class, and I believe a bonding experience for all who attend. Toothpicks are only the beginning!
Adjunct Professor of 3D Design