This Spud’s for You

By: Amy Beck, marketing and communications manager on November 6th, 2019

Prepping for student art projects doesn’t usually require bushels and boxes of potatoes. This week’s artist residency, though, is shaping up to be extraordinary.

Artist Tom Hill’s residency, “Produced in Produce & Worked with Wire,” November 5-10, focuses on wire sculpture, incorporating root vegetables into the mix.

Who knew that potatoes, coupled with a bit of creativity, could pack such a punch of personality?

Tom Hill, as it turns out, knows quite well that adding a bit of twisted wire can transform a spud from a dud into a memorable character filled with flair. Inspired by sweet potatoes, Hill uses the bulbous, yet perishable, forms to create bird bodies – later replicated in wood or another stable material – brimming with individuality and wit.

This week, with a nod to the playful design potential of Mr. Potato Head and thanks to a Community Arts Grant from the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin, Tom is guiding hundreds of area students in creating distinct avian sculptures. Utilizing the wonky potato shapes as each subject’s body, students twist wire into legs and feet and fashion eyes, beaks, and feather embellishments from paper.

At the Woodson Art Museum, the shelf life of the students’ produce-based creations will be extended via photographs on view following Tom’s residency.

Visit on Thursday evening, November 7, during Art 101: Formed, Found & Fanciful Sculpture, 5:30-6:30 pm, when Tom describes his creative process of translating dynamic, minimal line drawings into three-dimensional wire sculptures.

Snap up the few remaining spots for his two-day workshop, Mixed-Media Sculpture, on Saturday and Sunday, November 9 & 10, 10am- 4pm. Working with wire, wood, metal, and paint, teen and adult participants design and create original mixed-media sculptures with Tom’s guidance. Get details via this PDF and to register, call the Museum at 715-845-7010.

Stop by in the coming weeks to see photographs of the students’ creations. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be inspired to look at root vegetables in a whole new way, seeing personality potential in rutabagas and turning turnips and squash into delectable designs.


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