F3D – Assignment 2B – En Pointe

For this project, i chose the very first video, which was AMA by Julie Gautier.

I chose this video as it caught my attention the most. I felt it was the most captivating and it made me think of waves and the ocean, with swirls. I really loved how the water made it seem as though there was little gravity and thus she was floating around.

The three words i thought about for this dance was Grace, Flow and Empowerment.


I actually did not have much research or references for this project, and it was more of a very experimental experience. I had an idea that involved waves and swirls and went along sketching and trying out different ideas.

I went to search a few sculptures that involved swirls and ended up finding this particular sculpture which i thought was elegant, which fit the idea of Grace.

The ball paired with the swirls made a nice piece, and thus i wanted to incorporate that into my design.



The above are a few sketches i made before searching online and finding references pictures. As shown, all the designs involve flow and swirls. I actually was very interested in the second design from the top. However, i had to think of the material to be used and was hesitant in going for that design.

I also initially wanted to use magnets in my design, allowing it to have a revolving mechanism and thus adding to the idea of flow. I wanted to use magnets also due to the fact that it was gravity defying, which was point i took from the dance video. However, magnets were restricted against for this project and i thus decided to look into other methods such as using balance to hold a whole sculpture on a point, allowing it to spin.



Before my research, these are a few trial designs i did. I made them using paper as i thought paper was the easiest to bend to make delicate curves, due to its soft and thin nature. I also knew i wanted my sculpture to be black and white, and thus the use of white paper also enabled me to envision how it would turn out in the final product. 

After trying out with paper, i attempted to recreate the swirls using transparency sheets.  However, i soon realised that the transparency was unable to retain its shape and thus was hard to work with. Below are a few pictures of my mock ups with the transparency. This time, i included the ball into the design. I really liked the idea of the swirls surrounding the ball and decided to roll with it.

I then decided to work with a new material, bought from Daiso, which was an air dry clay that was extremely light and hand wooden powder.

I played around with the shapes, making strands to curl around a ball. However, i realised this design looked rather fragile (though i later received feedback that this was an interesting composition).

I ended up making more sketches and then drawing the design below. In which it consists of two swirls joined at the top, with a tip coming from one of the swirls to stand on a ball purely with balance on that single needle tip.

The ball was meant to symbolise the dancer’s pain, and her power enveloping it in the form of white swirls. This was the section for empowerment. As for flow, it is evidently the curves of the structure. And the grace was the minimalistic design along with the fact it sat elegantly on a single pivot.

That said, i went along working with the clay, and to my dismay, i realised it was hard to mold the clay to the shape i wanted without it breaking.


And thus, i started to think of a way to ensure the shape of the curves could be retained.

I ended up using wire mesh to cut the shape of the swirls. I really liked the look of the wire mesh (and i was also given feedback that the wire mesh was more beautiful than the final product), but it was not the mood i was going for, as i wanted an elegant white and black sculpture.

I then covered the wire mesh strips with the material i bought, the airdry clay and then joined the pieces together, and painted it white.

This was a learning experience as i had never worked with clay or air dry clay before. Thus, it was rather unfortunate when i realised that the air dry clay would not have a smooth finish, and the one i bought it particular was unable to sand. However, it was light and that was what i required. Using the balancing technique required my structure to be light in general, with weights at the bottom. Thus, i was unable to opt for the normal clay as it would have been too heavy despite being able to have a beautiful smooth finish. My end piece ended up with many bumps and rough edges and it left me greatly dissatisfied.

Nevertheless, due to a time constrain, i had to work with it and continued pushing through.

The above is the ball piece for my design. I realised that the wooden ball i had bought was 1) too heavy and 2) too big. Thus, i opted to make a ball out of wire and truth be told, it is the part of my final piece which i liked the most.


Balancing the swirls on the ball, i then added the normal clay onto the ends such that the swirls would end up upright and not slanting to a side. This took much time and effort as the placement of the clay and the amount had to be specific.

I then paper mache the whole swirl structure but purposely using thicker strips of paper to create a texture, in attempt to guide the eye away from the uneven surface of the swirls.

Below is the final outcome, here supported with a stick, but in reality, it is able to stand on its own.




I personally really liked the design of my final piece, but i feel my execution was greatly lacking, which i felt was very unfortunate. This project in general was a great learning experience for me as i was able to try using clay and other materials like transparency. I think learning about the different types of clay was fun. Despite the rather upsetting final product, i think it was a fulfilling project as i learned much from it, but given the chance, i would most definitely re-create this piece to produce a better piece.



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