In this project, I set out to create a sculpture that addresses the corruption and gambling issues that our country faces. I quickly found out how difficult it was to brainstorm what I wanted to do with the soap. I quickly adapted, by using a thinner blade to carve out my soap and using a template, both quick improvements in the quality and similarity of my soap sculptures. My creative and original styles that I carved on my second and third poker chip really looked much nicer than more traditional designs of chips. In the future, I need to be more careful with my tools and materials. I think I can build off of some of the techniques and ideas I learned from this project towards the next couple sculptures. If I did this project again, I’d have better skills going into it, which would help me complete it faster, and and more efficiently. Being malleable like it is, soap presents difficulties with how soft and breakable it is. The ability to be firm enough to get done what is needed, but not so much that it damages the piece was a big challenge. This project definitely helped teach me more of an artist’s touch; which, I think is going to put me in a place to succeed in upcoming projects. I felt that this issue, corruption and gambling, is a big problem. I have a friend who had started to develop a bit of a gambling problem, on sports games. As a his friend, I’ve been helping him out, and he’s gotten a little better. The thing is, I don’t want anyone else to have to deal with the same thing. I could see the problems it was presenting him, but he couldn’t stop. Corruption is also a pretty big issue to me. Our state has also historically had a pretty apparent and bad corruption. It has really costed us as a state in the whole of the economy. I know a man who lives two blocks away from my house who the most recent Blagojevich corruption issues caused him to lose his house, his family, and his way of life. It really does have direct consequences that can even be seen around our city. For these reasons, I chose to have my sculpture represent corruption and gambling.
As a young person who is supported by her parents, it has been easy for me to take for granted the privilege of having easy-access to healthcare. However, as I have grown older, I have become more in-tune to the fact that accessible healthcare is not a reality for many people. In fact, it is estimated that more than 400 million people around the world (about 18.5% of the world’s population) do not have access to basic healthcare (http://www.oneillinstituteblog.org). I believe that healthcare is a human right, so the issue of how unavailable it is to a large percentage of the world’s population is important to me. Thus, my goal for this project was to create a stethoscope, an object that is representative of healthcare, in hopes of bringing this issue to light within our community.
In order to create the stethoscope I used one bar of soap to sculpt the earpiece and the head, as well as plastic tubing to connect these two pieces. I then molded my hand as well as my ear in order to stage the stethoscope, with the molding of my ear being the point at which I felt the farthest out of my comfort-zone during this project.
I feel that I was successful in creating a detailed vision for this project through my reference photos and sketches, however bringing this vision to life ended up being a bit more difficult than I had imagined — teaching me that it is important to see the project all the way through before starting-in on a specific idea.
The composition of this instrument for the final photo proved to be the biggest challenge for me given that the soap was fragile and there was a fair amount of tension in the tubing. However, I was able to work through this challenge with the help of others.
In my piece I wanted to convey the conflict of deforestation using the hard hat made of soap, as well as show, with the nose, how appreciating nature will become harder in time. The 8.5 x 11 is the dimensions of regular copy paper which is a prime cause of deforestation and is easily relatable to the viewer. I feel the nose was a big accomplishment as it was outside my comfort zone and turned out quite nice. I also carved out the inside of the hardhat cleanly without making it too thin. The biggest challenge was the lid as it needed to be thin but also connect properly with the outside of the hat. If I were to this again I would plan out the soap better before hand in order to keep the dimensions realistic.
Here is where we took a mold of my nose
I set out to create a visual representation of my family from an emotional perspective. I wanted to capture the randomness of my parent’s mood on any given day with metaphorical dice in an open hand. Any random roll can give way to numbers of possibilities, just like their emotions can be anything on any day. I found the layout of a standard six-sided die and, over the course of several days and bars of soap, carved the most intricate indented cubes I could. The creation of the cubes was the most difficult aspect of the project. Trying to create identical sides of a cube by slowly shaving away at the soap was very challenging. Whether the soap just crumpled under the force of the knife or my cube was noticeably lopsided, I found myself restarting over and over to perfect my dice. With my cubes finished I molded my hand into a position that was best to accommodate the space taken up by both dice. I felt that my final product and photographic representation of my work are very well done however something I need to work on moving forward is my patience. I often found myself rushing into various aspects of the project, often ruining them and needing to restart. I felt like I definitely could’ve executed this project more smoothly and maybe even better if I took my time more on the sculpting and molding process. Overall as my first piece I am very pleased and it has given me the experience to approach my future projects with knowledge of certain materials and sculpting tools.