New project introduced to Advanced Sculpture class

Students learn to create low-relief sculptures through wood carving


By Nick Precht

Senior Nicole Stoneburner works on her wood-carving project – a new addition to the Advanced Sculpture class.

Sarah Myers, JagWire editor-in-chief

Advanced Sculpture students created low-relief wood sculptures using a subtractive carving process as part of a new project, replacing a carving project that used a textured sculpture or casting material called Crea-Stone.

Personal experience and student request both played into art teacher Jerry Howard’s decision to bring a wood-carving project into the class. Howard, who does wood-carving projects in his free time, believes the challenge that working with wood poses stretches advanced students to improve sculpting skills and work with new tools.

“I think the wood carving is a little more challenging than the Crea-Stone, so I wanted to introduce it just so I could see how students would react to the new tools and the new medium,” Howard said. “I think the end result is just a lot nicer project.”

While Howard believes carving wood is more difficult for students than carving into Crea-Stone, some, like junior Gabby Kornis, enjoy this aspect of the project and find ease in wood carving.

“I like this a lot better than the Crea-Stone,” Kornis said. “The Crea-Stone was hard to carve into, rather than the wood, where you just shave it off.”

Senior Sydney Humphrey chose to create a sculpture featuring the character Stitch, from “Lilo & Stitch,” for her project. While working on the assignment, she found some difficulty in the carving process and had to learn how to adjust her technique to be successful.

“[It requires] lots of patience. You have to be very steady and calm,” Humphrey said. “If you just go crazy, you mess up your entire project, and that’s not fun.”

With this being his first time teaching the project, Howard also had to adjust in his own teaching style.

“It’s challenging [to teach],” Howard said. “It’s not a project that I’ve ever done in class before. It’s certainly a project that I do myself. I do wood carving at my house, so I’m very familiar with the tools. It’s just breaking it down to the instruction.”

Though he has experience in wood carving already, this poses as an obstacle for Howard when it comes to teaching the unit. Still, Howard is learning along with students and is already planning adjustments to implement next year.

“There’s a lot of prior knowledge that I have, so when I sit down to do something … sometimes I forget about breaking it down to the simplest instruction,” Howard said. “To me, that’s the challenge — making sure I remember that they have no prior knowledge.

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