Abstract Wood Sculpture

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Project by MHarper90 posted 10-14-2013 10:59 AM 8731 views 3 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first ever wood sculpture, and it is also the first time I have ever made something out of wood that was purely aesthetic and served no functional purpose.

I was required to take an art elective in college, and I chose wood sculpting so that I could get my feet wet in a new area of woodworking. In an entire semester our only task was to create one sculpture. There were 10 of us in the class, taught by a long-time wood sculptor. I was the only one in the class, besides the professor, with any woodworking experience. We were required to make an “abstraction” and utilize all of the aspects of “gestalt” to create a visually-stimulating piece.

We started off with a nature walk for something to abstract off of. I found a stick, about 8 inches long (pictured above, showing all 4 sides). From this I sat down and made an 8 inch abstract model of my stick with plasticine clay. The professor was amazed at my work and was excited for me to start carving. He supplied us with a 6”x6”x36” green piece of black walnut. I had to purchase 3 Robert Sorby gouges and a round mallet. We were not allowed to use ANY power tools; just our gouges, rasps, and sandpaper.

It was difficult first starting out because I had to remove a lot of initial wood, by hand, and visualize what I was trying to achieve as I went from 4 flat sides to a more rounded rough-out. After nearly 100 hours of work and 3 coats of polyurethane I created the 3 foot tall masterpiece pictured above (the picture shows all 4 angles).

I finished it off with a 1” tall marble base and now it is displayed in my parents’ living room. I got an “A” on it from my professor and he raved that it was possibly the best sculpture he had ever had a student make. I am quite pleased with it, and everyone who sees it at my parents’ house always seem impressed. It does not have a name because I’m not sure I will ever spend that much time making another sculpture again, so therefore it is just “my only wood sculpture”. I am glad that I took the class though. I learned a lot about “gestalt” and got a lot of practice with gouges, a tool I never really played with much before.

6 comments so far

View becikeja's profile


1193 posts in 4276 days

#1 posted 10-14-2013 12:52 PM

Thanks for showing the before and after. This is really cool. You have an eye. Nice job.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View jroot's profile


295 posts in 2685 days

#2 posted 10-14-2013 03:09 PM

When you start selling your sculptures for seven or eight thousand dollars, then you will probably spend the time working on them. My friend spends about a month on one painting, but sells it for $12,000 very quickly. Not a bad living, considering he has a teacher’s pension as well as his Canada Pension etc.

Your work is outstanding! I really like it.

-- jroot

View Woodbridge's profile


3755 posts in 3880 days

#3 posted 10-14-2013 08:57 PM

beautiful work.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Natalie 's profile


369 posts in 3429 days

#4 posted 10-16-2013 05:04 AM

I’m so sorry to hear that you may not be “making another sculpture again. You might want to reconsider that.

-- Natalie - My mind is like a bad neighborhood, I don't like to go there alone.

View LittleCabin's profile


8 posts in 3133 days

#5 posted 10-31-2013 10:11 PM

Very Nice work. I have yet to try something like that.

-- Mark, Washington,

View facecarver's profile


154 posts in 3138 days

#6 posted 10-31-2013 10:18 PM

Beautiful….Love the Black Walnuts natural color…

-- Dennis Stallings; I am what I am,And that's all what I am...

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