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Teacher: Carol Spence
3-D Art and Design
Side table with opening on left side and two suppo
Nostalgia Funk|20.5 x 18.5 x 18 in.
Material(s): Reclaimed oak flooring, plywood Process(es): Cut curved frame and nailed flooring onto it. Used lathe to turn the legs then organically cut door


Student headshot
Leah Henseler
The goal of these pieces is to show transformation and movement in ordinary objects.
I wanted to make the viewer look twice at something that would normally be passed by in the home. My sustained investigation began focused only on the juxtaposition of shapes to expose the interaction between humans and nature. I quickly realized that my work is much more dynamic than a simple contrast. So, my focus shifted to how transformation exposes itself through the juxtaposition of different shapes and textures. Towards the end of my investigation, I was drawn to more functional pieces. I wanted to incorporate the elements of movement, repetition, and texture that I found in natural forms, into pieces that are more utilitarian. I wanted to uncover how natural elements can present themselves in everyday objects.
Both “Seated In Motion '' and “Nostalgia Funk'' took lots of trial and error. For the large lounge chair, I built a huge mold that I used to laminate seven strips of wood for each section of the chair, only after soaking the pieces in my bathtub to make them more malleable. While making the side table, I was able to find interesting uses for materials such as reclaimed oak flooring and old hinges that would have normally gone to waste. All the while, I was able to draw from the amazing support of my art teachers at Ithaca high school, who are always willing to bounce ideas around and push me to experiment with new materials. While making art through the pandemic, I learned that art is one thing that will always be constant in my life and that creating and building helps me understand myself and the world with more intricacy.
Lounge chair made of wooden slabs with flowing rhy
Seated In Motion|7 x 6 x 5 in.
Idea(s): Wanted to convey a sense of constant motion even when seated. Connection between relaxation and flow Material(s): wood Process(es): Used wood mold to laminate strips together to form chair and leg form, after soaking in the bathtub
Detail photograph of chair
Side photograph of chair
Carol Spence
Her sculpture explores the dynamic between humans and nature, woodgrain textures and ocean waves, the form, function, and beauty of everyday objects.
Leah is drawn to the transformation of natural materials and how they morph into something completely new. Inspired by the organic nature of the materials themselves, she began to let her interaction with the media guide the process instead of planning a product. She shifted from a more literal interpretation of human-nature relationships to portraying much more abstract and symbolic concepts. Towards the end of her investigation, she was incorporating movement, repetition, and texture found in natural media into utilitarian pieces.
Leah is an artistic force of nature. She is disciplined, curious, and fearless in her art-making, tackling a wide range of concepts, techniques, materials and equipment to realize her ideas. Her interest in art history offered context to her research, experimentation, and revision. Her art reflects her vision as a scientist, artist, historian, and ecologist, who sees the extraordinary in the ordinary. She will make her mark and make a difference.
Leah Henseler