Monthly Archives: December 2016

DIY sculpture stand made from a wood stool, some plumbing parts, part of a laminated shelf, and a hex wrench.

I want to sculpt more but I didn't really have a good spot to do it. Based on the sculpture stands I've seen I created my own.

I wanted something with adjustable height, fairly lightweight, easy to move, stable, and something I could make myself. I can't weld but can handle power tools so the idea of using a wood stool came to mind.

I showed one of the guys at the hardware store what I wanted to do and he suggested a flange from the plumbing section. From there I just poked around the plumbing isle to see what else I could put together. I bounced some ideas off my husband too. He suggested alternating sides when drilling holes for the height adjustment, and found the old hex wrench to use as the peg. He also suggested the coupling to insert into the main hole to create stability for the stand's neck. (Kids you're going to need an adult if you decide to make one of these things).

Items used:
  • a wood stool
  • metal plumbing flange with 1.5" hole
  • 4 bolts with wingnuts, washers
  • 2' section of 1.5" diameter pvc pipe
  • 1.5" diameter pvc coupling (I believe this is what it's called. Basically it looks like a pvc collar without any threading)
  • 1.5" diameter pvc trap adapter
  • PVC Primer and PVC Cement (Read the directions if you decide to use these things. Definitely not for kids.)
  • Gorilla Glue (again, read the directions if you decide to use these things. Also definitely not for kids.)
  • laminated particle board
  • an old hex wrench
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • drill
  • file (to even out the hole I cut in the stool)
  • various drill bits (to make holes in the board for the bolts to fit through, to gouge out the top of the holes a bit so the bolt heads would sink below the board surface, and to drill holes in the pipe for the height adjustment peg)
  • circular saw
  • saw horses
  • hole saw with arbor
  • level
  • rubber mallet
Top of the stand with countersunk bolts.
Top of the stand with countersunk bolts.

I had to cut down the board to a balanced square. Then I measured, and aligned marks for the bolt holes. I countersunk the bolts so when I put an armature on the stand, it'll sit flat. Next I attached the flange to the board with the bolts, washers, and wing nuts.

Next I carefully drilled holes through the pvc pipe, alternating sides.

Underside of the stand where the flange is attached to the board.
Underside of the stand where the flange is attached to the board.

Then we used the PVC Primer, and PVC Cement to attach the trap adapter to the pipe. We let that set up. Then the PVC trap adapter/pipe combo screwed nicely into the flange.

I measured for center, and then cut a hole in the stool seat with the hole saw. We couldn't find a blade the exact size I needed so I had to file down some of the wood to make the hole large enough for the pipe.

The collar, some of the adjustment holes, and the hex wrench used as the adjustment peg.
The collar, some of the adjustment holes, and the hex wrench used as the adjustment peg.

This is where I discovered that the pipe and platform weren't very stable just sitting in the hole. My husband had the brilliant idea to get a pvc collar (turned out what we needed was a pvc coupling) to set into the hole. I sanded a bit more out of the hole in the stool so the coupling could fit in it. Then I prepped the interior of the wood hole and applied the glue to set the coupling. Working quickly I made sure it was level, making adjustments with gentle taps of the rubber mallet. I added a little more glue around the outer seam to make sure that the collar was nice and secure.

And done.

Now I just need to rejigger my studio a bit to make room for it. I'm excited! I wonder what I'll make first...


cover of "A Technique for Producing Ideas", by James Webb Young, published by The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2003In continuing to follow my curiosity about creativity, I read "A Technique for Producing Ideas" by James Webb Young, published by The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2003.

It's a very thin book but he gets to the point rather quickly: how to create ideas. His thoughts on the process of creating seems to stem mostly from his experience in advertising but I think it translates well to the general idea making process.

A lot of it has to do with finding new relationships of old bits of information.

He proposes 5 steps.

  • information gathering, both specific and general, and sorting the information.
  • think through the problem and the information you gathered
  • let it all "incubate" in the back of your mind while you go do something else
  • appearance of the idea
  • work with the idea so it becomes practical to the problem at hand

He goes into greater detail in the book about the various steps as well as some interesting thoughts about how to get ideas in general.

Personally, I think I need to do a bit more gathering of general raw material by just following my curiosity on whatever I want. I also think I need to do a bit more of step 3. I tend to chew on a problem and work at it till something happens. Maybe setting it aside and letting the information and my thoughts settle would be beneficial.

This book is a pretty quick read (about 47 pages). If I remember correctly, I found my copy used because I wasn't so sure it was worth the full cover price of $10. I'm still not so sure about that so I'll let you decide. However, I do think it was worth taking the time to read it.

I couldn't find reference for the low angle view of the coral and other underwater objects. Flexible thinking was required. I asked myself, what else do I have access to that would have an approximate shape and structure of the things I wanted to draw? Oyster mushrooms!

hand holding up cluster of oyster mushrooms under a bright light
Oyster Mushrooms

I lit them in a similar fashion to what I was imagining the light in the picture to be. This gave me enough information to better understand the low angle, and overlapping shelves. Then I had to imagine how the light and objects would work together underwater. It came together the more I worked with the image and pushed the pencil around (butt in chair time).

mermaid water elemental drawing by Christine mitzuk graphite pencil drawing plus a little Creatacolor NERO Extrasoft for some of the very dark accents and a little white Conté for the accent highlights on Canson Vidalon Vellum

Letting my mind, and eyes, wander while looking at random textures or patterns is something I really enjoy doing. Growing up, my bedroom had both textured walls and ceiling so I had all sorts of creatures and scenes to look at.

James Gurney did a great post on this in 2008 titled Pareidolia and Apophenia:

According to
1. the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features"

I enjoy finding things in old concrete, wood panels, anything with some sort of texture, or strange shaped vegetables long lost in the potato drawer.

I've tried making random scribbles and then making something from them but for some reason I find that particularly challenging and it seems to work better for me if someone else makes the scribble. Just closing my eyes while scribbling helps a some but not much if I'm holding the pencil in a regular writing or drawing grip.

I've been experimenting with ways to lessen my control of the scribble and mentally detach from it more. Holding the pencil loosely by the end, then closing my eyes and scribbling with a fully extended arm helps some. So does using my non-dominant hand with closing my eyes. Lately I've been experimenting with another way. I drop or drag thin threads on a piece of plexiglass spritzed with water. The water catches the string at random points so helps create a less controlled scribble.

Here's the latest one. What do you see?

thin thread or string dragged over a wet piece of plexiglass

pencil doodle drawn from random string