Three-Dimensional Design Student Projects


Subtractive Sculpture

The goal of this exercise is to create a form that will pull the viewer around the piece.  Some of these objects started as an oil-clay maquette and were thus enlarged.  Other students benefited more by being required to not think, essentially creating a three-dimensional "doodle".   The material is rigid urethane foam and is carved using Surform files and rifflers.  The larger carvings required some power tools.  A faux finish is required but something as simple as a white eggshell appearance is acceptable.


  1. To experience the physicality of subtractive sculpture (carving).

  2. To create an object that pulls the viewer around the piece.

  3. To investigate the effect of negative space on a three-dimensional form.

  4. To experiment with organic, abstract, or nonobjective imagery.

  5. To design an artwork that is balanced physically as well as visually using symmetry, asymmetry, or radial balance.

  6. To learn the effect surface treatment can have on a finished piece.

 Thanks to a generous donor, General Plastics, the students were able to work larger than usual on these pieces.

Brandon_Brown_1.jpg (894298 bytes)     Catherine_Kussman_1b.jpg (102074 bytes)     Jamie_McDonnell_1b.jpg (94173 bytes)     Katie_Beason_1.jpg (832610 bytes)

Talea_Smith_2.jpg (1352508 bytes)     Fleming_Teandra_A_2.jpg (195036 bytes)      Mallory_Davlin_2.jpg (936662 bytes)     3-D Pics 002.jpg (985855 bytes)

Sub_Org_Shannon_Ozborn (1).jpg (675116 bytes)     Sub_Org_Harold_Sheen.jpg (1125381 bytes)


These pieces are roughly 16" in height

Marti_Deighan_foam2.jpg (571271 bytes)     Justin_Hammons_foam2.jpg (550855 bytes)     Theresa_Wulf_foam2.jpg (583683 bytes)     Ufoam_Micki_Lahr.jpg (606228 bytes)

UfoamKarin_Johnson1.jpg (527709 bytes)     UfoamMark_McClure1.jpg (430943 bytes)     UfoamReed_Yackley1.jpg (728793 bytes)     foam_Kelly_Carter_Allen_1.jpg (171535 bytes)




Additive Sculpture

The Grandiose Mundane

The essence of this Project is taking an ordinary, everyday object and reproducing it in part or in whole on a grand scale.  Homework for this assignment includes looking for appropriate raw materials at hardware and home stores, anything that can be manipulated to recreate the form.  A monochromatic "paint job" is suggested so that the focus is on the form rather than color.  Since I do not require power tool use in this course, students may choose an object and design the reproduction in such a way as to preclude their necessity.  Some of these reproductions are easily recognizable and have a rather Pop Art appeal while others are more abstract.


Grandiose_Mundane_Mary_McCunnins.jpg (3692633 bytes)     Grand_Mundane_Jettie (2).JPG (3591098 bytes)     Grandiose_Mundane_2_Sam_Kresz.jpg (3491030 bytes)     Grandiose_Mundane_Harold_Sheen.jpg (3227718 bytes)

Grandiose_Mundane_Caleigh_Hruska_1.jpg (701072 bytes)     IMG_0023.jpg (600125 bytes)     Grandiose_Mundane_Shannon_Osborn (2).JPG (3165465 bytes)     Grand_Mundane_Mike Rankin.jpg (1217385 bytes)

Grandiose_Mundane_HaleyLeipold.jpg (3485703 bytes)     Grandiose_Mundane_Roxi_Horath.JPG (3540075 bytes)     Grandiose_Mundane_Lexi_Jones (1).JPG (3544723 bytes)     Grandiose_Mundane_Nelisha.jpg (2943750 bytes)





Bass Relief in Paper

Students use ordinary poster board and razor-knives to create a pictorial space through the use of light and shadow.  Each student chooses their own lighting requirements and are allowed only the single piece of poster board. The relief is created by cutting and folding shapes out of the surface  No other material is added and the poster board remains a solid unit, nothing is detached.


  1. To experiment with and understand the effects of light and shadow on 3-D forms.

  2. To effectively organize relief elements and their cast shadows into a composition.

  3. To experience the creative potential of relief sculpture.


Marti_Deighan_relief2.jpg (669046 bytes)     Erin_Atchison_relief.jpg (1005360 bytes)     Relief_Bell.jpg (640285 bytes)     Relief_student1.jpg (724075 bytes)

Relief_Banks.jpg (343056 bytes)     Relief_Connolly.jpg (366078 bytes)     Relief_Welch.jpg (457106 bytes)     Jaron_Huber_relief.jpg (128549 bytes)




Found Object Sculpture

With this project we explore the “psychological realm of the human perception of the exterior world”.  Using chance and “the dislocation of ordinary things”, we create objects that change or distort the meaning of the original objects.  Here we have a unique opportunity to communicate, through art, highly personal or more global feelings about the world in which we live.  Examples shown in class include Man Ray's The Gift and Indestructible Object,  Duchamp's Fountain, and works by Joseph Cornell.


  1. To create a previously nonexistent object using found / recycled materials

  2. To organize design elements into a visually pleasing (or disturbing) composition.

  3. To explore the potential of “ready made” or mass produced materials

  4. To create an artwork from objects which were originally created for a purpose other than art

  5. To solve problems of mechanical joining


Found_Object_Brassalope_Carter_Allen.jpg (223067 bytes)     Found_Object_I_Got_This_In_The_Bag_Katie_Venn_resized.jpg (159477 bytes)     found object Ashley Beavers Poop 2.jpg (82082 bytes)     Found_Object_Bethany_Witzig_Peace_On_Earth.jpg (203587 bytes)     Found_Object_Another_One_Bites_the_Dust__Katy_Beason_resized.jpg (138622 bytes)

Found_Object_Nervous_Fit_of_tension_Josh_Caffrey.jpg (121279 bytes)     found object Catherine Kussman Election Chair.jpg (172884 bytes)     Found_Object_Phil_Robinson.jpg (179815 bytes)     found object Jamie McDonnell Red Die.jpg (131025 bytes)     Found_Object_Calli_Klopfenstein.jpg (119594 bytes)

Found_Object_Tea_with_Milk_Carter_allen.jpg (337429 bytes)     Found_Object_Starving_Artist_Brandon_Brown_resized.jpg (110646 bytes)     Found_Object_Untitled_Katie_Beason_resized.jpg (78148 bytes)     Found_Object_Untitled_Rose_Johnson_maybe_wIne_Pod.jpg (105079 bytes)




Cast Shadow Sculpture

The shadow cast by a piece of sculpture can, at times, play a significant role in the presentation of the piece.  It is also possible that the cast shadow becomes more visually interesting than the sculpture casting it (although this is not required for this project).  The students are to consider shifting light sources such as the role played by the sun in an outdoor sculpture.


  1. To design and execute a 3-D form within specified limitations.

  2. To design a form with attention to physical, as well as visual, balance.

  3. To create an art object completely from within, with no semblance to an actual object, in other words, non-objective.

  4. To create a sculptural form which casts a shadow that enhances the "presence" of the piece.


William_Owens_freestanding.jpg (586290 bytes)     Marti_Deighan_freestanding.jpg (690672 bytes)     Cut_and_fold_2Welch.jpg (387726 bytes)     Cut_and_fold_student.jpg (488807 bytes)

Cut_and_fold_Welch.jpg (386337 bytes)     Shadow_Kelly_Carter_Allen.jpg (67219 bytes)     Shadow_Kelsey_Troyer_2.jpg (49359 bytes)     Shadow_unknown_student_2.jpg (104494 bytes)




Drawing in 3 Dimensions

This is [usually] the first project of the semester.  Most every person has had some experience drawing, and many art students have had extensive training making 2-Dimensional images.  With this exercise, we try to bridge the gap from 2-D to 3-D by creating wire sculptures.  Just as the pencil makes a line on the paper, we use steel wire to make lines in space.  It's a great introductory project.


  1. To move from two dimensions into the third dimension.
  2. To increase spatial awareness and get the feel for working in the round.
  3. To explore the transformation of an everyday object into a piece of art
  4. To learn basic construction skills


Wire_Victoria_Stoller_2.jpg (175687 bytes)     Wire_Ali_Addicks_1.jpg (129595 bytes)     Wire_Jeff_Ohlendorf.jpg (271484 bytes)     Wire_Levi_Hoeniges_1.jpg (116620 bytes)     Wire_Robert_Collier.jpg (190441 bytes)

Wire_Chelsey_Dohman_1_resized.jpg (53241 bytes)     Wire_Stacey_Garretson_3_resized.jpg (47521 bytes)     Sheri_Kull_Canon2.jpg (71839 bytes)     Greg_Benoit_Hammer1_resized.jpg (61674 bytes)

Wire_Shoe_Amber_Hemmer_2.jpg (69017 bytes)     Wire_Shoe_Danielle_St_Hilaire.jpg (62438 bytes)     Wire_Shoe_Jeff_Holst.jpg (80855 bytes)     Wire_Shoe_Kelly_Carter_Allen2.jpg (64685 bytes)




Form VS. Function

In many creative endeavors , such as automotive design or kite making, function is paramount.  An "automobile" must fulfill certain criteria; it must have wheels, a seat, safety devices, etc. in order to qualify as a car.  For this project, the students receive lectures on aerodynamics as applied to kites, proper materials, and joinery.  The only sure way to receive an "A" on this project is to design and build a kite that is both original and air-worthy (it must fly).  Click on the thumbnail for a random sampling of "kite-day" outings.


  1. To discover, explore, and experiment with elements of design related to the physics of a particular function; the building and flying of a kite.

  2. To design and build a working kite that is unique and creative.

  3. To research and implement the use of materials appropriate for the form as well as the function.

  4. To learn that art is not created in an intellectual vacuum.  Immersing yourself in a wide variety of interests and activities can often inspire artistic ideas.


DSCF0008.jpg (819887 bytes)