Sculpture composed of three "arms" coming up from a triangular base. They twist around each other in a helix pattern. The sculpture is painted black and covered in gold ridges forming triangular patterns.

Primary materials: Papier-mache, plywood, armature wire, newspaper, tape, acrylic paint.

I made this while I was transitioning away from using store-bought papier-mache for masks. I had a dry bag of it left over and wanted to do something with it.

I’ve found that papier-mache has a tendency to become heavy and static looking. A sculpture can begin with swirls and spontaneous lines, but by the time they are ground, sanded, patched, reinforced, made symmetrical, painted, and sealed, they’ve become stultified. So my main object here was to capture a sense of movement and dynamism. Three twisting arms seemed like a cool shape that could accomplish this.

Alternate view of sculpture, rotated slightly.
I have slightly rotated the sculpture in this picture.
Detail view of the black and gold arms of the sculpture.

The base is made out of plywood. I used armature wire for the arms, wrapping the wire in newspaper to bulk it out. Then I covered it in papier-mache. I didn’t have a master plan for the ridge pattern, but built them up by laying down some design principles for myself to follow. I like these sorts of complicated organic-looking shapes and patterns. For this reason each arm is unique and everything is slightly asymmetrical. They are a little too uneven for this to be flipped over and used as a side table, but that would be a pretty neat piece of furniture, so I might do something like that in the future.

Creating all these ridges, then grinding them smooth, then painting them, was a lot work. But I didn’t run into any major surprises during the process.

Overall I’m quite happy with how it turned out. I think it does have a sense of movement to it and is different and interesting to look at from every angle. The arms are reminiscent of a lot of different animals and structures without being any one of them in particular.