A basic system for all students.
I spoke recently to a group of interdisciplinary sculpture students who, in addition to conceiving of complex artworks, faced the task of writing project summaries for all their pieces. These summaries, designed to clock-in at 250 words apiece, would take the form of one longish paragraph, or a few short paragraphs. Rather than lecture the class with a standard “blah blah” “resource-room” “rah rah” “concept-heavy” “go get-em” kind of dealie, I presented a model, with examples, that emphasized three steps in effective paragraphing plus some ruminations on the logistics of sitting down to write. While this model may oversimplify the writing process, I think it does offer all students—not just sculptors—the kind of basic pathway that they can emulate. If it did lead to “robotic” sentences or paragraphs, at least these attempts would have muscle and sinew, rather than fluff and fat. It follows:
1. Write Actively
For active sentence writing, keep subject and verb close together—right next to each other if possible. Avoid weak verbs such as “use”, “have”, “be”, and at that, especially “be” and its other forms (were, was, is, been, being, etc.)
I reflected upon monumental landscape paintings when conceiving of this sculpture.
I drew several mock-ups before assembling materials.
I built my sculpture from metal, wood, sand, and fiberglass.
The piece duplicates the soaring lines of trees and mountains.
2. Add Transitional Language
You can’t start every sentence the same exact way. To avoid “sameness” in sentence construction, one can add transitional words or phrases, such as: “moreover”; “in addition”; “afterward”; “as well as”; “all in all”; “furthermore”; “in the end”; “likewise”; “in particular”; and “then”. You can insert a transition at the beginning of a sentence or even in the middle.
I reflected upon monumental landscape paintings when conceiving of this sculpture. I drew several mockups, afterward, before assembling materials. Then, I built my sculpture from metal, wood, sand, and fiberglass. In the end, the piece duplicates the soaring lines of trees and mountains. It rocks.
Of course, some sculpture can be very frisky!
3. Include Specific Detail
These would include items like the appearance of your piece; the cultural references and inspirations that led you to create it; the materials; the techniques of assembly; your aims in conceiving of it; the tools you employed; and the concepts you developed in the process.
4. Logistical Matters