Found Objects: Group-Bind


Group and bind a selection of objects and materials together. Wire, string, or other linear materials may be used to bind your selection into a dynamic form. Do whatever it takes to make your form hold together. By wrapping, screwing, and tying the objects together, the forms will become one non-objective or abstract armature. The form may reveal the selection of objects or you may take it to the next level.  Encapsulate the form in the binding material. 

Tools and Materials: 

Found Objects

Binding Materials

Option: Skin Material: Obsessive Binding

Project Objectives:

Objective 0: Set up a folder for this Project:

Objective 1: Find Objects:

Objective 2: Grouping/ Composition

Objective 3: Binding, Assemblage, Fabrication, Structural Integrity, Stability 

Objective 4: Documentation: Format: Jpegs
Objective  5: Image List: Google Doc.:


Article: Link: Fiber Artist: Judith Scott 

Video Assignment: Art 21 Video: Link: Creative Growth Art Center in “San Francisco Bay Area” 


Elements and Principles of Design and other terms: The Elements of Design: line, texture, shape, light, form, space, time… The Principles of Design: balance, proportion, rhythm, emphasis, and unity Exterior vs. Interior, Primary and Secondary Contours, Positive & Negative Forms, Static and Dynamic forms and surfaces 

YouTube Demonstrations:

The following Demos are from a previous project, Armature Skin. It has many similar components that use additional objectives. You are welcome to use any of these additions to create your form. Sometimes forms need more and sometimes the artist will have to determine when the form is complete. Take in-process photos at times when you make major shifts to your forms. Record this in your project folder as process images.

Demo: Armature and Skin: Objective 2: Grouping

Demo: Armature and Skin Objective 3: Skin

Demo: Armature and Skin: Objective 4: Bind

Demo: Objective 5: Finish

Project Objectives: Expanded Process:

Objective 0:

Set up a folder for this Project: Name the folder: Project 1_your last name. Note: This folder should be within the folder you shared with the instructor of this course. 

Objective 1: Found Objects: 

Find enough objects to create a grouping. The dynamics and size of the objects will define your finished form. Choose or create an extreme variety of forms, shapes, and sizes. Minimum of five objects. 

Scale: Your finished sculpture scale will be in the ballpark of 864 square inches minimum. Example: 12 x 12 x 6 in. 

Objective 2: Grouping:

Your goal is to create a dynamic singular form by grouping the objects. Use screws, string, twine, wire, clothes hangers, or other sturdy linear material to “group” and hold your objects together. Use chaos as your tool; make things project or push out from the form. Bend, tangle, wrap, and tie, the forms together. Introduce more found objects if needed or desired to develop your aesthetic. Make sure that parts of the objects expose themselves outside the chaos. Note: These objects will stay within the form. Don’t allow it to be too precious. Don’t marry yourself to the “work”. Have Fun!!! 

Objective 3: Bind:

Use string, twine, nylon, or wire to bind the form further. The goal here is to create an area of tension by pinching and hiding components of the form together. Generally, this will strengthen the integrity of the form. 

Objective 4: Documentation: Read further 

Photographing your work: As an artist, a good portfolio will always set you apart from the rest of the crowd. When it comes to artist portfolios, pictures of your artwork are usually the first time a person may be introduced to your work. The images you provide are usually what make the biggest first impression. Therefore, it makes sense to practice photographing your art at the beginning and throughout your art career. 

Photographing 3 Dimensional works:

Create a neutral setting for your photography

Eliminate unnecessary objects or clutter around your form. 

There should be no visual relationship to other objects. 

One should not be able to determine the size of your finished form except the relationships of forms found within the whole form itself. 

Good Lightning.

The best representation of your object is the goal. For good lighting, one trick is to use multiple light sources on either side of your form. Minimize unnecessary shadows and highlights. Do not use filters that change the colors, saturation, and contrasts of your subject. The idea is to capture a true likeness of your art. 

Setting up your camera and composition:

A good strategy is to position your camera in one place to photograph directly at the object and background of your composition. Adjust your lighting. Balance your composition. Crop in to eliminate the negative space around your form. Take your photograph. Your camera should stay in this position or as close to this position as possible. A good idea is to have a tripod to hold the camera. When you want to photograph another side of the piece simply turn the piece in the environment. Do not move the camera. This allows you to have a constant similar background and lighting for your three-dimensional work. 

Take many shots of several sides of the piece. View them all on a computer screen before editing down to your best image. 

Objective 5: Documentation: Format: Jpegs (3 Images)

Mission: Photograph your final work using a gray screen or an appropriate neutral backdrop for your work. A minimum of three views of the form should be photographed. I recommend more.

Place the photos in the folder created for this course in the corresponding project folder:
Use the naming convention below.

Naming Convention: Examples

Project 1_Image 1_Your last name

Project 1_Image 2_Your last name

Project 1_Image 3_Your last name

Part 6: Image List: Google Doc.: Three Images and Information

Within the folder for this project, create a Google Doc. 

Name the document like so “Marquez_Project 1_Image list” and place it in your image folder.

Example: Marquez_Project 1_Image list

Place the three images of your work in this doc.

Click the images and select the wrap text icon.

Size the image to about 1.5 to 2 inches wide. 

Type this information beside each of the images:

Your name

Image Filename: example: “Project 1_Image 1_Your last name” etc.


Materials used

Year Complete


Cardboard Portrait

15MarquezStudent_2013smIn this project reclaimed cardboard is used to construct self portraits. The cardboard image and structure emphasize the importance of reusing and recycling materials and should provide an inspiring example of creative thought and innovation through repurposing materials.

Mission: Self Portrait

Develop a self portrait using an image of yourself, a word that reflects who you are, and cardboard. Any photo that shows a true likeness of your face can be used. A sheet of cardboard will be your canvas. The goal is to use a subtractive and additive method to develop a portrait using the layers of corrugated cardboard. The finished portrait should be a minimum of 11 x 17  inches. You may go larger.

Project Description/Outline:

  1. Begin with a photograph: A digital file will allow you to enlarge the image to fit your canvas. It will also allow you to add and compose text digitally.
  2. Prepare cardboard canvas. Sized to be fit with the chosen image. It is critical to have all image corners at 90º if you intend for the frame to be a true rectangle or square. Note: I usually refer to 90º corners as “square”.
  3. The image should be altered to black and white. This should be done to a point where the image is made up of positive and negative fields (areas). The average rendering can be made up of very little to no gray areas. This can be done by drawing or tracing the image paying close attention to these areas. You may expand the pallet to include multiple layers in accord with varying degrees of grey. Note: the image above has Three layers to develop the image: black, white and an exposed corrugated layer. Explore the possibilities.
*An alternative to this “hand and eye” design strategy is to put the image in photoshop and alter it to black and white and then the “Threshold” settings can be altered to get the image to your preference.
  4. Choose a word and font that best represents your personality. Develop them into your composition. The word or words must be at least seven characters.
  5. You will need to enlarge the image dimensions to the appropriate size.
  6. After a paper composition has been produced the image will need to be transferred to cardboard. Lightly mark the areas that separate positive and negative sections of the image. If you plan to strengthen the image quality with your own aesthetic this would be a good time to do so.
  7. Once transferred to the cardboard the image is ready to be developed by cutting, tearing and sanding away either the negative or positive areas. It may be necessary to darken the negative areas or pencil marks so they can be seen better in production. Your final image should have no pencil marks.Tearing and cutting away dark areas usually works best. What other methods can you explore and develop?
  8. Finally: Create a a frame of cardboard around your cardboard Portrait. 2 inch thick minimum. This can be done by layering strips of cardboard to create a thicker board. It is a good idea to experiment and create these strips/boards well in advance so they are ready when you are ready to complete the project. Be creative, What can be done to make the frame more interesting? Note: Exposed corrugated layers should be used as the face of the frame structure. The method demonstrated in class functions more structurally and can create an unexpected aesthetic to the project as a whole.
  9. Craft is important: Cuts and joints well executed. Clean up glue and pencil marks.

NOTE: Please refrain from cutting on table surfaces. Use a matt of cardboard or other material if you use the table. The floor works well to give one space to work and cut without damaging the table surfaces.


  • Low Relief
  • Rubber Stamps
  • Negative and Positive imagery
  • Cardboard: Material Properties
  • Texture by Exposing layers
  • Stencils
  • Screen Printing

Tools and Materials:

  • Utility Knife
  • Exacto or Hobby Knife
  • Cardboard
  • Card board paper
  • Pencils
  • Graphite
  • Adhesive (wood glue)
  • Masking tape
  • Transfer paper (optional)


Materials Characteristics:

  • Cardboard: Flat surfaces
  • Card board: Lamination
  • Laminated Layers
  • Skin
  • Corrugation (plains and patterns)


  • Elements of Design
  • Principles of Design
  • Composition
  • Texture
  • Pattern
  • Unity
  • Balance
  • Relief
  • Sensibility to form:
  • Representational Forms
  • Abstract Forms
  • Non-Objective Forms


  • Technique
  • Cutting Safely
  • Thinking from 2-d to 3-d, layers
  • Organizing the surfaces of a corrugated cardboard plane to alternate between textures.
  • Developing Craftsmanship

Note: Use only Cardboard and Glue. No crayons, paints, chalks or inks. Factory pre-printed or pre-colored papers are fair game.

Create a label for your project with these specifics:

  • Name:
  • Dimensions: HWD
  • Materials:
  • Year Complete:
  • Course:
  • Tape your label in upper right corner of the back of your project.


Project Gallery

Texture Switch


Mission: (Project Description)

Within this project, we will bring into question the “skin” of an object, and how alterations to it, alters our own perceptions of the object.  Many artists, such as, Meret Oppenheim, Lucas Samaras, and Joseph Beuys, have pursued this concept creating works that question or negate an objects original function.  The simple manipulation of a surface can allow strong conceptual narratives to develop, speaking to a greater importance beyond the original object.

Transform: v.  1 make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance, character, etc.


  • Bring to class three (3 dimensional) objects.
  • Object should not be smaller than 12 inches or larger than 24 inches.
  • A class discussion of objects will occur.
  • Consider the objects conceptual importance relative to its potential transformation.
  • Select one object from the initial three. Select the object with a strong visual presence.
  • Students should select one material in which to cover the chosen object.  This material should be an antithesis to the original object, or draw into question the function or accepted meaning of the object.
  • Repetition and a obsessive development of the surface is a critical component of developing this project. Choose a material that will draw emphasis to this concept.
  • Objects must be completely covered by the chosen material. Students should focus on the obsessive nature involved in covering the objects.

Project Vocabulary: 

Natural Texture
Visual Texture
Worked Texture

Writing Assignment:

Use the vocabulary on the previous list along with other elements and Principles of Design to describe and interpret your work. The writing assignment should include your critique on the content and context and how these factors contribute to the concept of the work you have created. A general description of formal qualities should be addressed as they pertain to the concept, yet a stronger focus on content, context, and of course the idea (Concept) will foster a stronger discussion.

  • Look at the work analytically.
  • Remove yourself from the work to create new perspectives.
  • Be attentive to your gut reactions to the work.
  • Make notes of your observations” as reference. (In your sketch book)
  • Insert an image or sketch of your work within the word or pages document.
  • Content: Three to four paragraphs of text should be written before adding images.
  • Note: A paragraph is made up of three to five sentences.

Tools and Materials:

  • Eye Protection/Safety Glasses
  • Sketch Book
  • Utility Knife
  • Hobby knife
  • Dust Mask/Particulate Respirator
  • Safety Glasses
  • Focus Object
  • Materials for skin
  • Mixed media
  • Adhesives or other fastening materials
  • Rubber or Latex gloves (optional)

Create a label for your project with these specifics:

  • Name:
  • Dimensions: HWD
  • Materials:
  • Year Complete:
  • Course:

Tape your label to your project. Use masking tape so that it will not harm your project.


  • Method: Planning, Cutting Safely, Building techniques and strategies
  • Material Characteristics:
  • Three-Dimensional surfaces and skin transformations
  • Aesthetic qualities
  • Sensibility to form: Good design, clean aesthetics
  • Integrity of the artist to their craft
  • Concept from objects


  • Work ethic: Participation in and out of class
  • Scheduling: Students stay on task, project finished by deadline, critique.
  • Craftsmanship and aesthetics.
  • Attention to detail and craft involved in the development of the object’s “skin” will be taken into consideration during grading and critique.  Therefore, ample time should be devoted to the completion of the project.


This process may use chemicals and materials that might be dangerous for some people. Read the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for questionable materials. A respirator should be used when materials off gas or fume. A dust mask may be used rather than a respirator. The respirator will provide better protection.


Project Gallery

Plaster Carving Non Objective Form: Abstraction Morphing/Transformation

Wheatly_MMission: (Project Description)

Using two forms build one, morphing the forms together to become a non-objective or abstract formal composition. The original forms are to be used as inspiration to assist in guiding the form. Use elements from each, yet develop your sculpture as a unique entity with an elegant form and a clean aesthetic. Original chosen objects may be mechanical (man-made) or natural.

  • Bring a wire cloth hanger and nylon stocking. This will be used to build a non objective form to base your carving to. The wire will be an armature for the nylon which will become a surface and skin.
  • Bring two interesting objects from home, which are approximately the size of your hand. Objects may be mechanical or organic.
  • Bring a container to build a blank. (1 gal. container.)
  • Create a blank from plaster.
  • Brain storm and Sketch ideas.
  • Plaster Carving: Create an abstract form from objects and sketches.

Sketchbook Assignments: (Five pages)

  • Assignment 1: Sketch original objects in your sketchbook. (3 views of each, 2 pgs)
  • Assignment 2: Preliminary and in process sketches of plaster form. (3 pages)

Additional Criteria: Strategies, Technique and Composition: (Project Description)

  • Clay may be used as a modeling/sketching tool: Sketches do not always start in the sketch book. Model, in clay an abstract form, drawing characteristics from your two objects. This will assist you in developing the composition. Images of these moquettes may be placed in your sketchbook and are valid sketches.
  • This project relies on the elements of light and shadow. Carve so that light and shadow create the dynamics of the form. No paint, pigments or inks should be used for this project.
  • Use repetition, directional curves and form to create a since of movement.
  • Develop a composition with movement that will draw the viewer around and into the form.
  • Use models, sketches and your own intuitive inspirations to create. Process will play a great part in your exploration as you learn the material, developing carving techniques and sensibilities.
  • Think about how these objects work together to create one form or how one may seem to dominate over the other, seeming to swallow or assimilate.
  • Craftsmanship: Elegant form and a clean aesthetic should be a goal.
  • Pay attention to building a form that has interior definition as well as exterior. Carving and modeling in the interior of the object will challenge your abilities, as always you are encouraged to push beyond the average.
  • Do not leave any indication of the container of your original form. Work the whole form.
  • Remember its okay to go back to sketches drawn or sculpted to alter and redesign your composition as you work through the project. This is a part of the process.

Tools and Materials:

  • Clay for sketching (Plasticine)
  • Plastic or wax Container- Bring your own. Plastic or wax coated.
  • Pottery Plaster No. 1
  • Sanding Screen (Drywall Sanding Screen or sand paper)
  • Sketchbook
  • Plaster Drywall wrasp
  • 8” Rasp- Purchase at art, wood or craft stores
  • Other Scraping Tools: Spoons forks, Files, Knives, Drill
  • Clay trimming tools, spoons, knives, forks, old saw blades (be inventive)
  • Dust Mask

Project Critique:

  • Project should be finished before the beginning of class critique session.
  • Projects will be discussed during the critique.

Think About:

  • The Elements of Design: line, texture, shape, light, form, space, time,
  • The Principles of Design: balance, proportion, rhythm, emphasis, and unity
  • Exterior vs. Interior, Primary and  Secondary Contours, Positive & Negative Forms, Static and Dynamic Forms

Photographing your work:

Photograph your work: A minimum of two types of images of your object should be made and emailed to the instructor of this course.

As an artist, a good portfolio will always set you apart from the rest of the crowd. When it comes to artist portfolios, pictures of your artwork are usually the first time a person may be introduced to your work. The images you provide are usually what make the biggest first impression. There for, it makes sense to practice photographing your art at the beginning and throughout your art career.

Image 1: 3-D portfolio image:

Neutral Setting Studio Shot: Should have no visual relationship to other objects. One should not be able to determine the size of your finished form. Good composition, good lighting and the best representation of your object is the goal. Minimize unnecessary shadows and highlights. A grey screen and lighting is available in room FAC 183. Take many shots of several sides of the piece. View them all on a computer screen before editing to the best.

Image 2: Creative Monumental Composition Using Forced Perspective:

Create the illusion that your sculpture is monumental by using forced perspective. Forced perspective techniques manipulates our human perception with the use of optical illusions to make objects appear larger, smaller, farther, or closer than they actually are. Movie makers sometimes use forced perspective to turn plastic toys and other objects into gigantic forms and characters we see on screen. The use of digital effects today still incorporates this popular way of portraying scenes or objects. A search on the web should gain several hits on strategies for creating a forced perspective image.

Before Critique:

Write a short paragraph about the form.

  • Descriptive, poetic, narrative…..What is or can the piece be about?

During Critique:

Reactions to work done by peers.

  • Use your own dialogue and the following:
  • Reactions to form: Positive reactions-Negative reactions
  • Sensibility to form:
  • Elements of Design:
  • Principles of Design:
  • Concepts: What ideas come to mind when you look at the object?
  • Relax: Keep an open mind.



Project Gallery

Cardboard: Mechanical Objects to Cardboard Objects

11MarquezStudent_2013In this project you are to use reclaimed cardboard to render everyday objects. The cardboard structures emphasize the importance of reusing and recycling materials and should provide an inspiring example of creative thought and innovation through repurposing materials.

Mission: (Project Description)

Your mission is to build a mechanical object from the structural and aesthetic qualities of cardboard. Using cardboard, adhesives and possibly some fasteners (such as string, nails and screws) you will be building a 3 dimensional duplication of a mechanical object/device. The finished form should be at least 18 inches in one dimension. Glues are allowed on this project. Tapes or fasteners may be used as well. Hide them and use them strategically, to develop a consistently crafted object. Think: craftsmanship!. Folding, cutting, de-lamination, lamination methods and strategically placing cardboard in a consistent structural method should be a goal. Conservation of materials should be considered as well. Size and weight of the final object is a usual obstacle for sculptors.

Project Description:

Find and choose a mechanical object to model

Begin by planning and drawing: Experiment with cardboard, illustration board, foam core, or thick papers to learn how structures can be built.

Sketchbook Assignment:

Five pages of notes and drawings for this project is required: Draw at least 5 views; a top, a side, a front, a back, a bottom, and perspective views. Details should be considered, as well. One drawing per page. Printed photos can be added as well. You should consider on each of these drawings, details on how you plan to structure or put your piece together. Measuring and recording your dimensions here will also assists in your mission.


Drawing and measuring is good research and development. The object you chose will be scaled to at least 18 inches in one dimension. Use “Multiplication” to Scale your object. Example: If your original object is six inches in its longest dimension. You will need to scale the object up three times its original size to achieve the 18 inch finished dimension. Ergo each component part’s measurement will be multiplied by three.


Small maquettes with paper or illustration board as a starting point will allow you to work out a lot of unforeseen issues when you get to the building stage of your project.


If you chose to make your form modular, assembles and disassembles for transport and storage, consider the following. While cutting openings for interlocking card board pieces make the openings large enough so that assemblage and break down are easily done without any damage to your piece.


The cutting room floor: Your task is to develop a 3-dimensional solution to this problem, with a clean approach to aesthetics (Good Design), good to excellent craftsmanship and a conservative use of materials. THe finished piece must be 18 inches or greater in one of its dimensions. A major goal is to construct the form entirely of cardboard and glue.

NOTE: Please refrain from cutting on the table surfaces. Use a matt of cardboard or other material if you use the table. The floor works well to give one space to work and cut without damaging the table surfaces.

Tools and Materials:

  • Utility Knife/ Exacto knife
  • Tape
  • Wood glue
  • Cardboard
  • Cardboard paper
  • Pencils
  • Rulers and Measuring tapes
  • The Wood shop


  • Material Characteristics:
  • Cardboard: Structural and Aesthetic qualities
  • Method: Planning, Cutting Safely, Building techniques and strategies
  • Sensibility to form: Good design, clean aesthetics
  • Integrity of the artist to their craft



Project Gallery

Scratch Block Molds – Casting Forms in High Relief

Sheen Square72In this project the student will learn the process of developing a “Relief” metal casting using a Scratch Block, a sand block bonded with resin, to create a the negative or inverse of a final relief sculpture. Metal will be poured in the scratch block to create the finished form. The metal relief sculpture will be finished, chased using metal working tools. Then a dioxide and wax will be applied to the surface. And finally a strategy must be developed to display the relief form.

  1. Carve a relief form/composition into the scratch block. Your composition is open to your imagination. Develop a composition of your own design or from observation. Stay away from trite or cliche logos. Sketch your composition in your sketchbook in advance so that the image will fit the format.
  2. The forms should be developed off the back panel so that the objects are sculptural, three dimensional. This sculptural quality should utilize undercuts to create shadows as well as subtle transitions from dark to light foreground and background. Basically the forms should protrude off the panel or frame creating contrasting values, strong and subtle highlights and shadow.
  3. The relief form/composition in the scratch block is now considered a “Mold”. Metal will be used to fill the mold to create a “Casting”.
  4. Group Engagement: The form will be cast in metal using the foundry. A pour crew will be developed from the class to execute the metal pour.
  5. Chasing the form: Finish the form in its metal state in preparation for surface treatment. You will be using metal finishing tools: electric and pneumatic grinders, files, sand paper, steel wool, and other polishing tools.
  6. Apply a patina to the form by adding a Dye-oxide to color the form. Steel wool can be used to polish highlights on the form. Wax may be used to seal the form from further oxidation.
  7. Develop a mounting strategy to present the piece on the wall or other form of presentation for critique. Try to develop a system that is un-obtrusive or does not overwhelm your composition. Keep It Simple, Less is more.

Note: This process uses chemicals and materials that might be dangerous for some people. Read the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for questionable materials. Please use rubber gloves and a dust mask while using chemicals and chemically treated sand.

This project will incorporate the use of the foundry and “Extremely Hot Metal”. Safety and a disciplined studio etiquette should be followed during metal pours. Wear proper clothing if you intend to assist in the pour. No poly or poly blend clothing. 100 % Cotton clothing, leather covered shoes, safety glasses, Leathers and safety shields are required for this process.

Materials needed for this project:

  • Sand resin scratch block
  • Tools for scratching into sand mold, Metal tools work well.
    Steel wool
  • Foundry gear
  • Metal: Aluminum will be used for this project.
  • Two part adhesive (Epoxy)
  • Materials for mounting or presentation strategy.


If you wish to keep your sculpture, You are required to pay for the metal. Your aluminum piece will cost $4.00, if you wish to keep it.

Note: It is important to remember that to get a right reading image you should create any text and your image in a mirror image format on/in your mold. Be conscious in developing your relief sculpture, forms that you wish to fall back in the finished image area should project forward in your mold. Areas that you desire to protrude forward should fall back in your mold. It might fair you well to build a simple model (clay) of the desired forms to assist in developing these concepts and to have something to work from.

Student Gallery