James Ellingboe • Phytebral , 2017
As an artist, I am constantly looking at shapes in nature, be they plant, animal, or mineral, and their relationships to our world as inspiration for my form-giving.
Phytebral, my largest sculpture to date, brings together multiple elements and techniques that constitute my body of work thus far. In addition, Phytebral also embodies joinery techniques drawn from my extensive experience in woodworking. This piece is a chimerical marriage of plant, realized by the awn and shield shaped components, and animal, expressed through the vertebral nature of the assemblage, hence the title Phytebral is a mash-up of the Greek phyton (meaning “plant”) and vertebral (meaning of or relating to a vertebra or the vertebrae; spinal).
Usually, I produce a study maquette for each sculpture I make to verify scale and proportion, but in this case, I moved directly from sketch to full-scale by producing 1:1 drawings of the piece in order to work out the joinery/assemblage details as I confirmed proportion. These drawings were then used to generate the patterns needed for the fabrication of the awn/shield shaped components.
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