Reed & Wire Sculptures

Reed & wire are quick and easy materials to get started with 3D. See a demo on how to use these materials to construct a lively, dynamic sculpture.

82 min. video

Demo by Art Prof Clara Lieu & Mia Rozear. Thank you to Cobalt Counseling for sponsoring this video!!

Video Walkthrough

  • For a 3D material, reed is extremely light weight, especially compared to 3D materials like clay.
  • You don’t have to worry about your reed sculpture toppling over!
  • You can work with the reed at a fairly large scale and not worry about structural issues like with other 3D materials.
  • The reed has an inherent curve to it which creates really dynamic shapes.
  • If you are new to the reed, it’s best to start out without a specific end result.
  • Start by making some circles so that you can see how the reed functions, and learn how to wrap the wire.
  • Reed is typically used by basket weavers, who usually soak the reed for more malleability.
  • Soaking the reed is not necessary for this project, and in fact can create a mess which is a pain.
  • Armature wire is the best fit for this project, if your wire is too thin, it won’t support the reed very well.
  • Be sure to wrap the armature wire as tight as you can, if the wire is loose it will not be structurally strong.
  • Wrap the wire so the wire is flush against the other wire.
  • Use needle nose pliers to push down the ends of the armature wire which tend to stick out. (don’t use your fingers!)
  • A wire cutter is great for trimming the reed, especially if you want to even out the lengths of pieces.
  • The wire can become a decorative element if you want it to!
  • Consider shapes that you can create with the wire that can then be attached to the reed.
  • Wrapping the wire around a pencil and then removing it can create beautiful twists.
3D: Reed & Wire Sculptures

Prof Lieu’s Tips

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I’ve talked to a bunch of you recently about worrying about being “legit” as an artist, whether it’s in the process, selling, etc. any facet I think can create that reaction to ourselves as artists.

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You don’t have to struggle to be an artist! Think about everything you went through to get to a point where you have found your joy in your work, those were the struggles that got you to where you are.

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