Johanna Carla B. Pilar

March 2014


University of the Philippines Diliman



Plate 1: “Puno ng Liwanag at Paghilom” (Tree of Light and Healing)

Plate 2: Lifecasting “Go, go over there, then stop.”

Plate 3: Balance, Emphasis & Economy, Proportion “Wired”

Plate 4: “You have a match!” (Final Plate)


        The second semester of sculpture class was a roller coaster ride that brought intense moments of work followed by extended lull periods.   I learned, from finding my way through it, that this cycle of bursts and lulls is not healthy for the creative spirit.  The most critical reality check I got this semester was that managing creative energy is also a skill that one builds up alongside the techniques of art making.  To always be ready and inspired takes as much discipline as it does to paint, draw or sculpt.


Plate 1: “Puno ng Liwanag at Paghilom” (Tree of Light and Healing)

Materials Used                        :        Rattan, wood, GI Wire, Cloth, Paper, Electrical wire,

Light bulbs, black lights, Sinamay, cellophane, paint

Date Finished                        :        December 18, 2013

Process Documentation                :        

This was a collaborative effort between 11 members of Block Z Fine Arts Freshmen Class Manobo Group 1. Please click on this link below for our group’s full documentation of the lantern build: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1v1SBY6LKF9ixzsXXnqI4Khoi0ceFRg9Iw7R5eICImUk/pub

Textual Documentation                :        

It was challenging to work with 10 different artists with their individual visions for the work.  As the oldest member of the group, the task of managing 11 egos, including my own, fell on me.  I didn’t want to think of it as leading or directing the process, but facilitating it.  It entailed a lot of patience and discernment as to when to step back and give way, and when to be enforce rules or a semblance of structure.  

Working with a 12-foot moving sculpture was also a giant task for everyone -- we were all first timers and it was a lovely process to see true collaboration at work.  After the lantern parade, I developed an even higher respect for artists.  They are the best people to work with in a group work, particularly for their devotion to perfection.  We repeated tedious work many times over, just to get it right:  “Art when really understood is the province of every human being.  It is simply a question of doing things, anything, well.”  - Robert Henri

Lessons learned:

Plate 2: Lifecasting

“Go, go over there, then stop.”


Our feet have many stories to tell. Every new story begins with a prodding, a yes, a step — but who tells us where to go? And who tells us when to stop?

Meditation piece on repetition, variety, and rhythm. Still part of the sculpture series on flow.

Flow is a theme I keep coming back to, as a reminder both for myself and others.  For this plate, I chose to do a piece on feet — our body part most associated with movement.  Walking, next to breathing, is one bodily function we do everyday that we can be more mindful about.  The way we walk says so much about our inner state.  How aware (or not) we are about the rhythm of our physical step translates to how aware (or not) we are about our inner rhythm.    I also decided to add in elements of direction — the next step after awareness — shown through the hands, in the positions of go and stop.  More than being in constant motion, to flow is really to vacillate between moments of movement and rest.  We stop and we go.  Everyday.


Material Used                        :        Plaster

Date Finished                        :        January 30, 2014

Process Documentation                :        

All in all I made 6 lifecasting attempts for this plate:

Bulk of the process was experimenting and figuring out what works by just jumping in and doing it.

Attempt#1 at casting my foot using a two-piece mold. Excited to find out if it worked! #plaster #wastemold #foot #cast #wip


Voila, my first foot sculpture. Could be better but with a little more cleaning and sanding will be happy with it. Will try to do my hand next. #plaster #sculpture #foot #body #twopiecemold


Foot casting the left.  Better outcome than the right foot– details of nails preserved. Cracks on sole were filled in with second batch of plaster before the mold was removed.


Trying to salvage the left foot mold with cast#2. Didn’t work– lower mold cracked from weight of my foot and upper mold just altogether crumbled.


Hand casting fail. I still don’t understand what an undercut is :( Wide open to suggestions. #sculpture #plaster #twopiecemold #wastemold


Hand casting attempt#2. Was quite ambitious and wanted to do a pointed finger…so played around with hand positions with the least undercuts (tried to keep the fingers as leveled as possible).


Hand casting attempt #3. Teacher suggested keeping hand in a cupping position for easier casting. Lower mold crumbled. Tried to salvage it with clay to keep it together. Would’ve worked if only we got to lock the two molds properly when we put them together.


Repairing broken fingers using white PVA glue and tissue. Soaked the castings in water, then primed with diluted glue before applying thick glue. Worked for repairing thin parts that got chipped off, but not for whole fingers. Need to redo with wire and plaster.


Textual Documentation                :        

Lessons learned:

Plate 3: Balance, Emphasis & Economy, Proportion

What do we consume? Does it nourish us?


Materials Used                        :        Plaster and GI wire

Date Finished                        :        March 20, 2014

Process Documentation                :        

This was the first time that I intentionally thought of putting 3D elements together to compose a visual essay.

I started with two everyday objects — the spoon and fork, chosen for their familiarity and because they were universal enough to “economize” or simplify using wire.

Below is look at my creative process at every step:

Step#1: Incubating an idea for a wire-plaster sculpture on paradox. #food #eating #spoon #fork #wire


Step#2: Adding the object of our consumption.

I just saw the documentary ‘The Mystery of Picasso.’ Got wild over the idea of the visual arts communicating things that escape the language of music, words. What is it that goes on in the mind of a painter that cannot be expressed in any other way, except through a painting? It’s the impulse that I’m carrying with me now…working on this piece.

I want to ask, boldly and without hesitation, “What do YOU consume, friend? Does it nourish?”


I played around with different objects I already had on hand: plaster balls, plaster tub…rearranging and looking for a eureka moment.


Step#3: Deciding on the basic lay out.

I wanted to incorporate a human aspect to the piece, so took out an old cast I made to see if it would work. By this time it was becoming clear to me that I wanted the piece to be about consuming information and technology.


The blue face cast was nice, but it was beyond the limits of this plate (we couldn’t introduce another material, i.e. paint).   Good thing I still had my face mold from last year, so I played with it using wires and plaster.



I liked the rough surface of the face -- it furthered the lined look I wanted for the human element of the piece: that we have become tied down, wired, and also worn out.  We consume with our eyes closed.

Step#4: Last step was to finalize the back part — what will the fork be diving into?


I found myself checking my phone even while mixing plaster, so I put that in the piece: the battery symbol while the phone is plugged and charging. We consume technology like the plague, but the nourishing part of tech or information is lost on us. Maybe we are the ones being consumed.


Finished piece:

Textual Documentation                :        

Lessons learned:

Plate 4: “You have a match!” (Final Plate)

Online dating is a whole new world I’ve recently explored, and it’s both exciting and scary. There are some hilarious days, some dull ones, but mostly it gives me a unique insight into men and women interacting in a free space…no physical, even geographic boundaries. Does it level the playing field, reverse roles, objectify? It’s so fascinating.

I like working with economy, using minimal lines and forms, especially for a subject that is normally warm and abundant: love and relationships. Online dating is a push and pull between male-female, truth-ideal, real-virtual. It zooms in on the tensions we already encounter in boy-girl relating, because everything is pared down to the modern day chat: a conversation without voice, gesture, eye contact.

Does it make it easier to impress, to tug at the heart, to connect? Or is the efficiency it promises its own undoing?

#wire #sculpture #dating #men #women

Materials Used                        :        Plaster, GI Wire, flower

Date Finished                        :        March 31, 2014

Process Documentation                :        

I wanted to do a piece that was streamlined and simple -- to give that feeling of starkness, efficiency, straightforwardness.  It was a modern piece so it naturally fell in with the minimalist sensibility of wires.  

I used just three pieces of wire in total:  one continuous line for the faces (to show union), and one each for the bodies of the man and woman (to show two separate individuals that compose the union).

I decided to add in a plastered base and focal point for the Yes-No button (Heart and X), to show that with one click, the connection either comes to life or isn’t even given a chance to exist.

The final element is the organic or living component -- literally a fresh flower.  It’s a commentary on the real-virtual aspect of online dating:  that at the end of the day, the vitality of relating with another person happens in real life, in face-to-face encounters.

First step:  To create the faces using one continuous wire.

Step#2: Add in the bodies. Basic lines done.

Carving out the X and the heart.

Adding the final element:

I played around with different materials to add to the piece: paper hearts and flowers.

Textual Documentation                :        

Lessons learned:

Additional sketches/References:

Inspiration for the wire portraits were the works of Gavin Worth: