Thursday Salute to Originals: When Socks Become Sculpture

What do a block of wood, an old towel, and “The David” all have in common? Well, nothing, really. Unless you look at the work of one contemporary artist who uses the traditional art of sculpture and infuses it with an alternative media and not-so-fancy subjects (think: dirty socks and tennis shoes).


Instead of carving portraits of famous leaders, fearless generals, and celebrated biblical icons in traditional marble, artist Chris Hedrick highlights everyday objects carved from a single block of wood. In a tremendous command of material, his works recall many of the same prized characteristics found in traditional sculpture – masterful manipulation of a rigid material, life-like renditions of the subject, impossibly delicate intricacies, profound craft – but with a more modern (and can we say grungy?) twist.



Though many may not consider Hedrick’s subjects as being “art-worthy” per se, his choice in subject matter certainly does not dilute the beauty of his sculptures; in fact, it seems to enhance it. His works suggest the objects as bending, sagging, stretching, and warping – making us question our basic notion of wood itself. The objects are rendered at their actual scale, further contributing to the double-take (is that really an old towel hanging? And why is it being displayed as art?).


Hedrick’s varied experiences as a sculptor, painter, graphic designer, and outdoorsman are reflected in his work. In elevating the ordinary, such as laundry and tools, the manipulation of material and attention to detail are what truly set his work apart. (Seriously, who would have ever imagined that a sculpture of an old dirty sock could give “The David” a run for his money?!) And for that, we salute this master woodworker!

Image credits: If It’s Hip It’s Here