To express yourself needs a reason but expressing yourself is the reason.
Before we get into the juicy part, here is the backstory for anyone that hasn’t yet seen the wire tree sculpture ‘LOVE NEVER DIES…’
This wire tree sculpture is filled with raw emotion and detail. I know for some people this might be a little bit cheesy, but you know what who doesn’t love a bit of cheese when it comes to love lol.
When you are in love and married with the person you chose to live with for the rest of your life, all you want is to make them happy no matter what. The idea of expressing and making a sculpture tree that explains all the layers that a marriage holds in an elegant and discreet way was the best example I had in my head at the time. It’s simple.
I wanted to explain to my husband and everyone who’s in a relationship that love has a million meanings. That it isn’t all roses and rainbows. That even when things get tough, love conquers all, because love is trust, love is respect, love is teamwork, love is belief, and love is everything.
I could blab on for hours or write pages upon pages about the meaning of marriage and love, but even then, someone will end up having a totally different outlook to mine.
So that’s why I decided to express all these deep emotions in one simple tree design that everyone including my husband can instantly get touched by it. No matter who you are, this sculpture ‘LOVE NEVER DIES’ will speak to you in your own language.
Final wire tree sculpture design… not bad from a good old tin of beans and a scouring sponge 😉.
Initial doodle sketch…
Right… now we are all on the same page, let me begin by saying…
I tried my best to capture as many stages as possible, but I was having too much fun and wiping my tears now and then when things didn’t go to plan… so apologies in advance. The photos in my journal aren’t for photography purposes. I took them solely to show you my entire sculpturing process, from start to finish.
I found it challenging to take photos and draw beautiful sketches whilst I was working. It was ruining my damn groove lol. When it comes down to making its very frustrating to go in and out of the zone. Its like stopping a singer in the middle of a belter.
Although it was tricky, at the end I discovered ways to snap key moments of my full designing process. My husband bless him took a few photos of me after work (he was absolutely knackered), I created short videos then snapshot what I thought was informative and not feel embarrassed of sharing all my raw personal notes to you guys.
However, when I did complete my sculpture in the end, I had more time to focus on creating quality and detailed photographs of my final piece. You’ll see the difference yourselves and understand what I mean.
You see, things don’t always have to be ‘perfect’. The important thing is to understand what you want to achieve. You need to ask yourself, “What is the point of it all? What do I want people to take from this?” and “Is my heart completely in this?”
I didn’t hold back at all… It’s all there! The good, the bad, and the ugly.
For me, this journal is all about inspiring and teaching people.
Showing everyone that sculpturing junk isn’t just sticking bits and bobs together, it involves a lot of skill and time… And to help artists/designers avoid the mistakes I made and push themselves to do even better.
Despite all the odds that could have made me give up at any time such as not having a workshop, on a budget, limited space, and tools… I realised that with a little bit of creativity and a can-do attitude, you can also create beautiful things just like me. And if you don’t see yourself as a ‘creative person’ then at least you will be inspired.
Here’s me looking sooooo hot during the making of my wire tree sculpture. I went from collecting bits of junk to making an elegant sculpture… I tell you, It was an effortless process 😜
Drum roll please… (take notes if you want)
1. CREATE A PERSONAL BRIEF
I know that the word ‘brief’ is formal, and it’s used in the art and design industry a lot and right now you’re saying to yourself… what is Weaam on about? I thought this was supposed to be light-hearted not an art and design lecture. And it is, promise! Let me explain…
No matter what we plan to make whether it’s a sculpture, a painting or even a cake for your neighbours. We always find yourselves planning and doodling on a scrap paper before making anything.
Those doodles are our initial notes. Our raw ideas. Our solid foundation.
Everyone has different methods, but I know for a fact that too much planning can kill the magic sometimes. So, try to avoid this, because expressing real emotion comes from the heart not from a pen and paper.
I always tend to scribble what I’m going to make, what is the story behind my idea to allow me to express from the heart to connect with people, and finally what junk materials I need to collect to build my sculpture from scratch.
The whole ‘before and after pic’ that some artists create doesn’t work with me. You know what I’m on about, the fancy photos that many people do as if the process was so straightforward. Well, we all know that that’s full of BS.
I always find new fascinating junk materials every day. I can’t keep up and things always change, because junk isn’t reliable.
At some point in your making process, you will find yourself having waaaaaaaaay too much fun or crying, because something just broke. Either way, you will have your personal brief (your doodles) that you can always count on to swerve you back in the right direction.
It acts as a reminder to help you refocus and remind yourself why you are sculpturing in the first place.
Here’s my personal brief for my wire tree sculpture: Nothing complicated, just straight to the point…
When you have a plan, and know your purpose of what you want to make… Take a deep breath, believe in yourself, and just get stuck in…
2. LET YOUR IDEAS FLOW…
One day on a winters morning I was walking home, and I don’t know why I couldn’t take my eyes off this tree. Something was drawing me in, and I couldn’t put my finger on it.
I can remember walking and deeply reflecting on my marriage and how far me and my husband have come. They weren’t easy. So many sh!t has happened to us and yet we still remain one. Hand by hand.
I ran back to my desk and started sketching quickly. I thought to myself wow this tree is exactly what I need right now. I can express what I’m feeling…
So, I sketched and couldn’t wait to sculpture. Since the concept was based on love, I wanted to feel and experience the process with all its emotions. Just like a musician. Writing music and playing it are two different experiences.
3. WRAP, SNIP, AND TWIST SOME SOLDERING WIRE TOGETHER
(Just keep twisting… just keep twisting…)
I wrapped some soldering wire that my husband didn’t want around an acrylic sheet. You don’t have to be specific with what you use to wrap your wire around. It can even be a book.
On one side, I snipped every fold. It doesn’t matter which end to cut. As soon as I started cutting each wire things got a bit crazy. They all moved in different directions, so I hugged them closer to the sheet.
I then grabbed the bottom and slowly twisted all the wires together to create the stem. It’s up to you how far you want to twist the wires as this all comes down to your design. Bear in mind, the more you twist the longer your stem design will be, which will leave you with shorter branches.
Also, having a rigid stem can help with the making of your branch design. For control, I locked my stem into a small vice and kept twisting 3 wires together to create thin branches. Just like a hair plat.
I wanted the centre of my tree design to have all the wires tangled within each other. Where possible I twisted the furthest wires together to create this.
As easy as twisting wire sounds, I made a few mistakes at the beginning. I learnt to understand when to stop… twisting, tightening, and where to end the branch pattern. Some branches broke off, some were in awkward positions, and some where simply just being annoying.
At this point your tree will begin to come to life, and this will be the right time to find a scrap wooden block. I drilled a hole to glue the bottom of my tree in it. Hot glue will do the job! I hid the visible glue around the hole by designing cool thin grass bits from a beans tin lid. Yes, a Heinze tin of beans from Tesco!
4. BURN, CUT, AND FORM A TIN OF BEANS
(Ow that hurts! Be careful darling these little devils are all over the living room floor…)
This was an exciting stage for me, because I loved all the different colours and textures that came through from burning tin. To achieve this stunning effect there was a lot of trial and error. It wasn’t as easy as lighting up a cigarette, but the results were worth it in the end.
By this point it was cut, cut, and more cutting.
On my breaks, I went to many parks and watched fire to help me study fluidity, movement, and the form that I wanted to capture through tin.
I sketched and planned my grass design for days, but I’ll tell you this… nothing made a difference. At first the idea of creating tin strips sounded awesome and harmless but making them was frustrating as hell.
They cut my fingers, they sprung out of place when glued, and even disappeared on me when I literally just cut them. (Weaam breathe… in… and out your sculpture is finished now) But you know what, in the end with a lot of patience and praying they kept still (HA! Take that tin bits hahahahaha).
Anyway, on a serious note though, when making sculptures things can get frustrating at times, but you must be patient. Eventually things will fall into place and the victory will taste even better. And that’s what happened to me… my wire tree sculpture was coming together elegantly.
(Annnnnnnnd stay still… stay there you little #$@&%*!..)
I felt like I was a surgeon operating. I even broke a sweat hahahaha.
Some drops of glue showed, and I had the idea of covering them with wood and metal dust leftovers. That was a great idea but didn’t work when I tried it.
I stepped back and started burning the wooden block. I noticed that the hot glue within the grass tin bits created a shine and melted in a fascinating way that complemented the grass tin beautifully.
To keep the theme flowing through out the design, I used the same technique on the top half of the tree as well.
5. CHOP, SCRUNCH, AND BURN AN OLD SCOURING SPONGE (MAKE SURE ITS CLEAN THOUGH!)
(1,2,3,4,5,6,7…. Hang on a minute I’m sure I just made 10…)
After pulling my hair out from the challenges I faced in making the grass bits, it was lovely to make these cute soft balls. I’ll be honest, it did become a little bit repetitive, but at this point it felt therapeutic.
To avoid making just cute soft balls on the end of every branch, I designed each scouring sponge ball to hold its own physical language. By experimenting with different forms and size, applying different pressure when scrunching, and finally applying the burning technique… this will allow you to push your creativity to a whole new level.
You see, its all about asking yourselves ‘how far can I go with this material?’. I could have stopped at cutting and scrunching but I didn’t.
I experimented with an open mind, I designed ingeniously, and pushed myself to create something simple yet exciting.
With that confidence and love lingering in the air, and I felt like I was on a roll… it was time to engrave the words ‘I LOVE YOU’ into the wooden block.
6. ENGRAVE YOUR MESSAGE
(Don’t you dare blink or breathe Weaam…)
I was practising for hours with my electrical hand engraver that my parents bought me for my birthday years back. (Tip- Birthday gifts are a great way to expand your tool collection when you’re on a budget). I didn’t like the way the letters looked. They were in my face and overpowering. So instead of just seeing the words, I wanted to add another sense.
I engraved the words ‘I LOVE YOU’ with tiny dots to create a sense of feel. When I closed my eyes not only could I read with my fingers but also, I could feel the words. Now that was a special moment. This stage of the making process really embraced the concept of love. That love is shown in many ways but most importantly it is felt.
By this point you’ll feel so loved up and wanting to listen to a bit of Louis Armstrong, so whilst you’re at it, you might as well…
7. DO YOUR FINAL TOUCHES
(Keep going Weaam, even though I have a banging headache…)
It’s a simple task yet many of us forget and underestimate this stage… The end of my making process, I realised that I had to do a full spring clean. Each day went by; I had to keep dusting off, and even retouching a few areas before packaging.
(Tip- when your gut feeling is telling you to call it a day… STOP AND LISTEN TO IT! Because as creators we always love to retouch endlessly and that can ruin all your hard work.)
Keep your sculpture in a safe place.
Trust me, I know this sounds like common sense, but things can hide in your sculpture without you being aware. So, before packaging make sure your attention to detail is tip top.
8. WRAP UP… BELIEVE YOU CAN DO IT
Now you’ve seen my entire making process… I bet you’re surprised about how much work goes into junk sculpturing. The process thrives from creativity, technicality, design, effective skills and working from the heart.
You see, anyone can create things and learn a new skill. But what makes you different is your life experiences, your perspective of the world, and your unique character. No one is you.
I have a product design first class degree and I am a self-taught artist and yet I failed numerous times. Every day I learnt something new and every day I surprised myself. As Theodore Roosevelt said…
‘Believe you can and you’re halfway there.’
And this is true!
Making this sculpture has taught me two important values:
You must believe you can do it well before you start anything
You must believe in yourself
If you don’t. Well, all the challenges and issues you’ll face will be twice as hard. Just like life. Sure, I didn’t have a workshop, quality materials, design resources, and the list goes forever.
But why would you let negativity stop you from doing what you love, when you can deal with it with an open mind. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it in the end.
It’s going to be your story. Your achievement.
For artist/designers you’ll look back and say to yourself… ‘Yes, I designed this. Yes me. I did it’. And for art lovers you will also learn how to keep your sculpture alive by putting your own personal touch when things begin to deteriorate.
Let me tell you this, it will feel damn good, because most would have given up and miss the magic at the first hurdle. But not you.
You will see solutions, just like what I did. I’m just saying if I can do it so can you.
Be positive, be persistent, be determined. Trust me the challenges that you’ll face in your sculpturing process will feel like a problem-solving game.
So, the next time you think ‘I haven’t got the right resources bla bla bla’
Well now you know that you have more than enough.
Just enjoy the making experience and remember work with whatever you have! And if you need help, I’m just a call away.
If you are an artist/designer you’re probably thinking to yourself right now…
Hang on a minute, how did she end up taking quality photographs of her sculpture when she was on a budget? And for art lovers who are excited and wondering if this sculpture is for sale…
Well, all is revealed soon my my articles… and in the gallery there is a sculpture information page about ‘LOVE NEVER DIES’ wire tree sculpture.