1st Wire Sculpture

I made my first sculpture!
Made completely out of wire, with clay to support the feet and stuck to a board.
This is the first time I have worked with wire like this in a couple years, I am not very familiar with having to think about a work in 3D.

Reasons for making it

Based on this sketch in my sketchbook, which was inspired by trees I painted outside with the same curly ink shapes. This shape is neither symmetrical or precise, however I thought it would be a good starting place. because the shape has lots of freedom and was a chance for me to become familiar with the materials.

Also, the shape is such a contrast to the angular, precise and symmetrical sculptures I want to make next, I thought this piece would serve as an interesting comparison, and to make sure these free structures aren’t what I want to make more of.

What works

The thinness of the wire gives the structure a really delicate touch, which suits the curly shapes it makes. The thin wire also means that this sculpture would be easily paintable in the way I have done – white thin lines. The shape doesn’t take up too much space so painting underneath it wouldn’t be too covered up.

The dome shape works really well (instead of a flat roof or pointy one). They nod to cathedral domes.

The curly shapes look as good in the sketch as it does in the sculpture from the side. It suits the material very well.

The sculpture is separated into three bits, each with two legs that support each other. This means once the clay bases are stuck down the sculpture wobbles but is in no danger of collapsing.

What doesn’t work so well

The wire was so thin and delicate it has been hard to manipulate one part of the wire without disrupting the whole thing. I assume with thicker wire this would be less of a problem. But this was the first time I have worked with wire in aages so that’s worth baring in mind as well.

Linking with the above comment, not being able to isolate one part of the wire and manipulate it, meant it was really hard to get the wire to define an exact dome for the ceiling. There was one curl that I would manipulate into the right place, but then the rest of the wire would then be out of place, and it went on and on! HMM.

The lines are a bit wobbly. This is again down to the thickness of the wire I think. Thin wire is easier to move around and a slight move makes the legs of the structure not straight.

Taking a photo underneath of the structure and looking up reveals the shape if it were to be just a drawing. The curls are interesting; they look organic, but the shape from this angle is I think too abstract and not structured enough to even slightly resemble a cathedral interior. This proves that symmetry and more cleaner shapes will probably suit these sculptures more for my purposes.

Improvements if I were to work like this again

Try with thicker wire. This I assume would mean you could isolate parts of the wire without disturbing the whole shape more easily. This could mean straighter legs and smoother curves.

I could try soldering part of the wire together. This might make it self supportive, and join the three pieces together.

Better ‘feet’ – less ugly! Perhaps having the base made out of wood and making small holes in the wood for the wire to sit in, then glue filled so that the legs just appear out of the wood instead of being obviously secured down with clay.


This was a good starting point! I feel more confident moving forwards now, onto designing a second sculpture, this time with a design more relevant to cathedral interior roof and column shapes.

I want to try painting this sculpture into a sketchbook painting. Since this is the idea of these sculptures – that they are pieces in their own right but also tools for me to add better shapes into my paintings.

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