SU students display wooden sculptures in Lehman Library

Art students crafted sculptures out of natural wood and milled wood for a class assignment.

Shippensburg University students captured the essence of working with wood to make art in the exhibit “Works in Wood,” which was on display at the Ezra Lehman Memorial Library through Feb. 23.

Students were given the task of combining natural wood that they gathered with milled wood that was obtained from a lumber mill. The students needed to bring the opposing forms together creatively to make a statement. 

Steven Dolbin, an art and design professor at SU, said students had to work with techniques as well as the statement.

“Of course in this process students not only deal with aesthetics and composition, they learn traditional wood working techniques such as fabrication and carving,” Dolbin said.

The students had three weeks to complete the project, and began with field trips into the mountains of the Cumberland Valley to harvest wood, according to Dolbin. 

Students had different approaches in their style, even though they all used the same material. Sophomore Natasha Windom-West enjoyed the fact that not everyone has the same style or ideas with the project. 

“No one has a wood piece that looks similar to another. Most of the pieces had special meanings as well,” Windom-West said. “And what’s unique about working with wood is that it’s a difficult task, but you get the best outcome when you work with the wood and not against it.”

Windom-West chose to do a smaller, more sacred project for the exhibit. 

“I immediately thought of a chest — something that can withhold something special. I was inspired to possibly make a collection of them in the near future,” Windom-West said.

For some students, this was a new way to show their techniques with wood.

Senior Mitch Kline has experience fixing wood into objects such as tables and chairs, but this project allowed him to show different techniques.

“My idea for the project was to achieve a sort of visual balance between the two pieces and allow my craft to shine through, and the techniques applied to the work (sanding, carving, etc.),” Kline said. 

The project, much like the environmental art that the sculpting students created at the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail, is made for viewers to appreciate nature and its beauty. 

“I hope that viewers appreciate the skills of the young sculptors and they become much more sensitive to the beauty of the natural world through this project of contrast,” Dolbin said.

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