Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Light Sculptures Made From Dogwood

In my previous post,  From Reeds to Dogwood, I introduced my newest harvest straight from my garden - dogwood. I've started experimenting with this new material as a substitute for reed to form the skeleton of my paper light sculptures. Below are the first three of my latest art lamps, handmade with dogwood:

Creeping - handmade light sculpture art lamp by Simcoe artist Joanne Rich
Creeping, 2014

Creeping was the first light sculpture lamp I made with dogwood. Dogwood may not be as flexible as reed, but it still has some good flex to it. This sculpture started out as several circles in various sizes, later joined together by three dogwood branches. Getting it to balance was not as easy as I thought it would be, but after hours of fine tuning, I finally got the piece to balance. The sculpture is covered with several layers of tissues with paste. As the paste dries, it shrinks and pulls the tissues, giving Creeping it's unique shape. Once lit, my husband said "I feel like it's creeping towards me". So I named this sculpture, Creeping.

Light in the Woods - handmade light sculpture art lamp by Simcoe artist Joanne Rich
Light In The Woods, 2014

Light In The Woods was the second sculpture I made using dogwood. For this sculpture, dogwood is bent just like how I would with reeds, except I didn't cut off any twigs that branched off the dogwood. The result? Once lit, intricate "branching" details hidden inside the sculpture, are finely visible.

Echo - handmade light sculpture art lamp by Simcoe artist Joanne Rich
Echo, 2014

For Echo, I wanted to see if I can imitate the "free-flowing" sculptures I made using reed. I gathered all the dogwood similar in size, and snipped off all the branches. The result is a sculpture that is "free-flowing", but in it's own special dogwood kind of way.

My next project will be making tissues from the milkweeds I collected earlier in Fall 2013. Currently the weather outside is a bit chilly to start my papermaking project, but at the first sign of spring, I'll be out there!


  1. Hi, Thanks for your blog. Your light-sculptures look amazing. I never heard of Dogwood but I will see if we have them here. I wonder if you tried Willow or Weeping-willow, we have a lot of them in Holland en Germany. And I was wondering if you dry the wood first and if that is necessary. Hope to hear from you, Love Rob

  2. I haven't tried willows yet, but am looking forward to. Currently, I'm an looking into grape vines. If you start with fresh, form the skeleton first...and then let it dry. During the drying process, the branches will shrink, then just go back and tighten all the joints before adding paper.