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Sculpture at some point is a hard art
form for potential clients to want to own. Painting puts less demands on it's
owners. Just put some wire and hooks on the back and it's ready to
hang. With sculpture it is a little different. Most sculpture
needs, nay demands, to be viewed-in-the-round. Viewing sculpture in-the-round
becomes a floor space issue not a wall issue. Now the sculpture
has become furniture/art situation not just a wall issue like
painting. What your new sculpture is placed for display on on can be
How to handle this? The
easiest, least expensive way is to get a carpenter to build a rectangular
box, paint it black and place the new sculpture on the box/pedestal.
Not very satisfying. After black, change the color of the pedestal to
white, magenta, maroon, etc. and still the sculpture and pedestal look out
of place in that perfect
place for sculpture in your home or office.
Lozenge Pedestal by Carl Wright 18"tall x 22" wide x 18"
A better solution would be to have the
sculptor who designed the sculpture to make an appropriate wood pedestal
the interior sculpture that was purchased. Or maybe even better, have
the sculptor design a pedestal and have
a cabinetmaker make it from the
sculptors plans. With this approach, you would be getting what you were looking
originally when you fell in love with the sculpture. It would also
make sure that there was continuity of thought
between the sculpture and the
pedestal. With a cabinetmaker fabricating the pedestal for you,
there would be
many practical considerations that he could make you aware of
to make the pedestal more functional, more stable,
a longer lasting finish,
etc. The cabinetmaker could also suggest different woods that would carry the color or
theme of the sculpture through to the pedestal.
Design considerations for a pedestal are
pretty open with just a few things to look out for. These would
include: importance of pedestal, height of pedestal, use of color and wood
Importance of the Pedestal
The importance of the pedestal is an
underrated item. The pedestal is subordinate to the sculpture but at the
same time it's purpose is to make the sculpture glow. The pedestal
should be unobtrusively pointing to the sculpture - particularly if the
sculpture is of a low-key or taciturn disposition. If the sculpture
has a more active character, the pedestal could have a bit more flair to it
but not much. The pedestal's job is to display and hold up the
sculpture so the sculpture can shine. The sculpture's job is not to
hold the pedestal down to the ground because of it's wild design or color.
Red Post Pedestal
by Carl Wright 33" tall x 13" dia
The height of the pedestal is pretty
important. The pedestal has to have the sculpture at the right viewing
it's audience. This was brought home to me by a DC gallery
owner who was approximately 5'4" tall. She wanted
the main part or
focus of the sculpture to meet her between mid chest and eye height.
That way she would not
have to look down or crane her neck to see a detail
on the sculpture. In the event of a taller sculpture with a
she did not want it to tower over her and run the chance of being menacing.
Determining a good height for the
sculpture can be achieved two ways. First ask the sculptor. Get his input
and see how his vision works with you. The second way is
to place the sculpture on a table (tables are
normally 30" tall) and see how
you like the sculpture. Take out some dictionaries or other
large, thick books and gradually increase the height under the sculpture to
where it moves you. That is the right height. This is an
instinctive thing. If it feels right it usually is. Remember that the
higher the pedestal the more important that it is
level. Make sure that the pedestal has adjustable feet to compensate
for uneven floors.
Color in a pedestal should be used
judiciously. Too much or too loud a mix of color and the pedestal
becomes the center of attention not the sculpture. That said, pedestals should be of a darker
tone, most of the time, but not black. Black is a tyrant of a color
and will show any nicks and scratches quickly. If you are
slightly finicky this will ensure many nights repainting the black pedestal.
Muted wood stains with a good urethane top coat to paint are preferred. I find it adds a touch of
to the pedestal without going overboard. Also avoid white. White
is a color that your eye goes to immediately - not the sculpture.
Serpentine Pedestal by Carl Wright 36" tall x 20" dia.
A pedestal's job is to
hold up the sculpture and be a pointing device to show off the sculpture.
Avoid using woods with pronounced grains woods like oak and ash. Even though
oak and ash are hard and will put up with abuse
their grain can be a problem. Woods like maple, birch, purpleheart,
and mahogany make excellent woods for pedestals. Maple, birch and
purpleheart are hard and have no distracting grain. Mahogany and
beautiful woods to use but are a tad soft and can dent if you set a
sculpture down hard on them. Oak, ash,
birch, and mahogany also take stain well. Cherry does not stain evenly
unless you have worked with it before and know how to accommodate it's
shortcomings. At all costs avoid any pine, sycamore, and other
softwoods. They dent very easily and do not take stain well at all.
Getting a sculpture is great, demonstrates sophistication, and is always
appreciated by the artist. But think about
not only where to put the sculpture but on what. A table is a good
choice, but make sure that it is stable and does not rock back and forth.
The important thing is to love your new sculpture and where it is placed.