For anyone interested in learning to make abstract sculpture, if your medium is wood, get a pile of it, all different shapes and sizes. Try different pieces together. Cut or alter them if you feel it’s right, and attach them. When you have a piece that feels like a unified whole, and it is visual interesting from a number of angles, congratulations – you’ve made an abstract sculpture. You might also want to refine it further, sand it, and paint it – but not everyone does.
Here are some examples of sculptures I made in abstract sculpture class at the University of Alberta:
This is, by far, my favorite. I feel it works at all angles and has some emotional resonance to it.
Small Sky Object
I tend to prefer working with small objects. This one strongly reminds me of wooden children’s toys.
Small sky object was made as part of a project to create one object that feels it’s size and then to create either a small scale or a large scale version of it. The larger one clearly feels like it’s a larger version of something small.
Experimenting with scale, and understanding what makes an object feel it’s at it’s correct size, will give you a useful bit of knowledge/experience. Just ask: How does this object relate to the human form? How would a human interact with it? Does that feel right? The loss of human scale is why all those new glass and metal buildings feel very uninviting, while the older brick building feel better to walk beside (bricks are at human scale).
In this image you can also see the pile of wood we had to work from:
Not every project turns out to be a masterpiece, and don’t worry about it. By creating a larger volume of work you will learn better what works and what doesn’t. This will allow you to make more quality pieces than you would if you just focused on making one amazing piece.