Carving Wood Sculptures of Common, Inanimate Objects

Mark E. Elfman

Most people don’t even give a passing glance at a pair of gloves, a towel, a roll of toilet paper, or any number of other everyday objects. You see them every day; they are meant to serve a purpose, so why waste time on them?  I, on the other hand, will spend hours in my studio studying these same objects.  As I’m studying them, I’m also carving their likeness in wood. 

Why do it?  It’s really a no-brainer for me.  I like to make people happy.  I like to see the look on people’s faces when they first discover that my sculptures are in fact not the real object, but are nearly exact wooden replicas.  They will ask if they can touch the sculpture, just to make doubly sure it’s not the real deal object.  They’ll look to their friend and say things like “Did you see this? “or “Look how detailed it is!”  At other times, I like to gently rattle people’s senses with a sculpture that is out of balance, or in a seemingly impossible situation.  I have an entire series of works that depict objects that make people go “What the???” 

How long will I keep doing this kind of “nonsense”?  I may stop by sundown today, and tell myself I’m never doing another.  But as soon as I see another everyday object that looks interesting, you can bet it will become a new sculpture.