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Collections Examples

Here are three examples of the Collections Project Blog Posts, both by students in Global Art 2012.

Pimlada Chandaeng - Exchange student from Thailand

Title: Solving LIFE

Medium: Puzzle pieces

Date: April 2012


Life is a puzzle, don’t you think? So chaotic, so many decisions to be made and so many frames that we can’t seem to be fitted in. And that was what my entire project about. Well, maybe what my concept was about.

Above was the completed sculpture piece, conducted for Collections Sculpture project, titled Solving LIFE but also known to me as Puzzled Life. Why? Because, just like its meaning, the piece is varied by the eyes of the viewer thus it can be called differently and for this project, I am not intended to specify what the meaning should be, instead, I will just guide you by providing the explanation on what I’ve done and what were in my mind at the time. What come to your mind afterwards when you look at the piece, however, is all up to you.

And here is the explanation of what this project is all about:

Collections Sculpture project required you to make a sculpture out of the materials you collected. Sounds simple? No, I’m not done here. It then challenged you to compose a message to go with it. No weak connections, no meaningless great sculpture. The material and message needed to go together. “That is really hard”, my friend said “Like a college-level”. I totally agreed.

A few days passed for us to wander around, looking for materials or messages or connections to be resembled together. I did have a couple of ideas out from the awesome, unique materials I somehow ended up having. However, I was cut off by the mind-blowing (okay, a little exaggerated) two-day-one-night trip to state VASE art competition at College Station, Texas. And when I came back, I was already behind and my status change from partnered to DIY. I had to think it all over again as I realized that my previous ideas doesn’t strong enough in connection. I then came up with a new set of ideas, as you can see in the plan sheet, and I came up with 3 plans, convinced that one of them must really work. Well, as it turned out, it didn’t.

Only 2 of 3 were qualified and only one seemed to be doable at the time. However, after a couple days of gathering new materials for this new direction, it turned out once again backslided. I was kind of lost. I didn’t want the materials that were just gathered to be wasted so I went on with it and simplified my idea into the simplest one as I can without losing most of its meaning. The result is the final piece.

As I said before, this piece can mean many things, so I am going to guide you from bottom part up. The pile of puzzles pieces symbolized the society, the world. In the flow of problems and pieces, the decisions and barriers you made and met shaped your life, making unique. The word LIFE, literally, simply means life and is saying that life is a mixture of problems and mysteries. The fact that it was made up from randomly placed puzzles also means that you do need to find the right ‘click’ for yourself. The holes in the letters represent incompleteness, loneliness, and solitary. There is no way that life can be perfectly completed and there will always be that empty space that people do live in the hope of fulfilling it and the that empty space when you find yourself unable to fit in anywhere. The gradients in the letters mean different aspects of life. There is a first time for everything as light first touches the top part of the letters. Things happen in sequences.  And there will always be a silver lighting in every cloud. The letters have a different color scheme because life is also not composed of a single thing.

Here, there were two things that happened during the creative process which surprised me. One was the glue strings that hang everywhere just like a spider’s web. I was tempted to remove it when I was strike by what connection it will has for life. It could mean connections in life; it could represent oldness or overlooked matters like an old abandoned attic of life; it could be just a decoration, but for whatever reason, I left it there. Second was the letter F, I started off intended the theme of this letter to be variety, but as I started it with US flag in the upper corner and put these pieces kind of randomly, the color and patterns allowed the feeling it gave out to reminded me suddenly of what we just learned in Junior class, American dream — the word that popped up in my head every time I looked at this letter, and the only one.

I completed this project with relief. Everybody’s are also very interesting and beautiful. And I really admired them for how great they are to overcome this challenge of the project – the challenge of not only finding a right material to make a sculpture but to find a right connection from it to convey the right message through a sculpture – which I found tough. This would be one of the projects I most proud of, not because of the overall outcome but for completing it, but at the same time it would be the first piece I may not be able to bring it home and that, sure, was sad.

Collections Sculpture

April 27th, 2012 · No Comments · Global ArtSubjectUncategorized · Edit

Artist: Alyssa Lester

Title: Burning Love Full of Secrets

Medium: Paper, calligraphy ink, plastic

Date: April 2012

Artist Statement: Here, the anatomy of the love and emotional attachment are observed.  Love is a passionate, fiery feeling- burning like Sriracha Hot Sauce, which is the bottle used. However, this is only the surface of love. What makes up the fiery feeling is the ardent passion we feel towards others after we get to know them- learning about all of their secrets, quirks, and dreams. Inside of this bottle, the artist’s innermost baggage and characteristics are written and placed inside.


The Collection Sculpture Project brought forth a fun challenge in my Global Art class. As a 2D artist, I tend to draw more traditionally. I like to draw what I see, rather than what I feel. However, this project required me to dig deep inside my emotions and figure out what mattered the most to me right now in my life, and forced me to present it in an appealing, 3D sculpture.

I initially wanted a concept that would be very dear to me, and very personal. I thought about all of the things in my life that were occurring at the moment, and college felt like the most important ‘big event’ coming soon. A part of me feels terribly scared of college, but another part of me feels extremely relieved to finally be saying goodbye to ISA and moving on to grander things in my life. I came up with the idea of gathering some of my favorite photos from high school, pasting them on a shipping box, and tying the box to helium balloons. It was my symbolic way of telling the world that I was ‘letting go of high school, and looking forward to what was going to come’. However, after several days of thinking deeply about my project, I was unhappy with the simplicity of it. For a project that asked for a lot of creativity, my concept seemed too simple. I then thought about the second thing that meant the most to me right now, and that was my relationships with my few good friends. My creative process drastically changed overnight, and I brought in new materials, including a Sriaracha Hot Sauce bottle, my calligraphy pen, and colored paper.

I wanted to show ‘love’ in a physical form- what love consists of, and what love is made of. To me, love is found in our closest relationships where we cherish people for who they are, and what they have shared with us in their lives. Love is passionate and burning- a fire that never truly goes out (which is why there is no cap on the bottle). This is where the basis for the sculpture was formed- with the Sriaracha Hot Sauce bottle representing that burning passion we find in love towards others.

Inside the bottle is the anatomy of love. Using my calligraphy pen, I wrote out over 50 secrets and ‘fun facts’ about myself and what defines me. This was to represent what is inside the fire- secrets shared, memories, and quirks that make someone so special. 

Something I appreciated about this project was that it helped me develop a new way of thinking. Instead of applying such a 2D view on the world, I have now started to view things in a metaphoric 3D sense. I see things as a potential piece of artwork that can share a story. The ‘Collections Sculpture’ project has blown my mind in a sense that it truly shows that everything in this world than a ‘logical’ purpose, it also has an artistic purpose, and it has great potential to pull heartstrings and stun audiences. The world is a lot more vivid than you think, sometimes you just have to look closely at what is generic to understand.


Felt, Beads
April 2012

If you ask an artist about their “creative process”, each one will give you a different answer. Artists have specific ways in which they work, different thought processes as they move through a project. By the time they are done, their concept may have changed and the piece they have created may look completely different from what they expected before.

I decided to work alone on my project. Although I had the option to work with a partner, I had a feeling it would work better if I did it alone. This project is probably the best example, out of my projects this year, of how my sculpture changed as time has progressed. My plan at the beginning was very different from my final result…

“Our modern world is obsessed with objects; our everyday lives center around the use of manufactured goods. However, with our benefit from these objects also comes harm to our Earth. Our cars, our factories, our chemicals—they all contribute to the global pollution occurring every day.

My plan is to create a sculpture of the Earth out of small manufactured items; bottle caps, hair pins, cue tips, ribbon, paperclips, pen caps, shoelaces, etc. The Earth will either rest on a base, hang as a mobile, or be attached so a frame so it looks like a globe you would see in a classroom. The idea is to show how Earth is being rapidly consumed by our need for material items.”

As you can see, my original concept was to create a very literal sort of sculpture. I knew that I wanted to convey humanity’s dependence on manufactured goods, but the only way I could seem to think of showing this message was to cover the Earth with the objects. I was not completely satisfied with this idea; I didn’t think it would be much of a challenge, and I didn’t think it was particularly unique. I continued to think, and eventually came up with a new idea: instead of Earth being made of our waste, I decided to depict Earth being engulfed by it. After all, that’s really what’s happening. It is slowly getting lost, and eventually there will be nothing left of it.

After drawing several sketches, I began my sculpture. I started with the base; a thin, 1′x1′ piece of wood covered in black felt. The Earth was next; I used a styrofoam sphere and carefully covered it in light blue felt, the ocean, followed by additions of green felt on top to create land. I glued the Earth not in the center of the base but in the back right corner, to make it a bit more visually pleasing. I then took my leftover sheets of black felt and glued one of their edges onto the side of the globe, along the line where I wanted the pile of rubble to reach. It created a sort of cape encircling the Earth. I figured this would make it much easier to shape the pile. This way, instead of actually having to accumulate so much stuff to create the mound, I could just shape the black felt like I wanted the pile to look, and glue my objects to the surface.

The image I had in mind continued to evolve.

At this point, my vision for the sculpture was to have the Earth being consumed by a mound of objects; rubber bands, erasers, candy wrappers, etc. But I knew that it would take a lot of tiny little objects to completely cover the black background and make it look like a pile. So I decided to start with a backdrop. I decided to glue colorful beads all over the black surface. Then, when I glued other objects on, it would look even more eclectic; the black felt would not be visible.

However, once I had glued beads all over the black, my thoughts went another way. The beads looked so beautiful. It almost looked like the Earth was protruding from the opening of a volcano of beads. I loved the way it looked just like this. And I realized also that if I decided to leave it as it was, and not add any more, it would still convey my message successfully–maybe even better than it would if I added on.

Our modern world is obsessed with objects; our everyday lives center around the use of manufactured goods. The cars we drive, the makeup we put on, the papers we print out, the lights we flip on and off. Without even realizing it, we rely on so many harmful things. Slowly and surely, Earth is being slowly consumed. It is suffering for our benefit. Pieces of trash are strewn across the street, the chemicals we use slip into our waterways, smog develops because of the factories we use.

But why? Why don’t we see the destruction we cause? The answer is, we do–but we are too blinded by temptation. It is difficult to resist the resources we have, difficult to give up these things that we are so accustomed to using every day, even if it means hurting the Earth. The beads on my sculpture symbolize this temptation. When you see my sculpture, at first glance, the different colors all look very beautiful. However, once you discover the concept lying underneath, it makes an impact on the viewer. Similarly, the harmful things we use every day look so innocent until you realize what they do to the Earth. The beads encompass the Earth to show how our dependence on material items is slowly engulfing away at it, and it is disappearing little by little.

I definitely encountered some challenges throughout this project. Thinking of an idea at the beginning was much harder than I anticipated. It took me a while to come up with my original concept, and once I had it I wound up improving it even more as I went along. Another challenge I had was gluing all the beads on. I have no idea how many total beads are on the sculpture, but it took hours to attach them all. I used a hot glue gun to glue them on, and I had to exercise my patience to complete the sculpture successfully.

Like I mentioned at the beginning of my post, this project is a great example of my concept evolving as I went along. Once I had an idea in mind, more and more came to me as time progressed. In the end, my sculpture wound up looking very different from what I anticipated at the beginning. I am very pleased with my completed sculpture and my improved concept. I believe that the message I wanted to show is apparent, and I think it’s a very visually pleasing piece. I hope that my sculpture will make people a bit more conscious of how they can help Earth, rather than hurt it.

Posted by nbaren