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Essential Bunny

Essential Bunny, sculpture by Ellen Woodbury

“Essential Bunny” began as a stone sculpture exploration of the simplest forms I need to communicate the essence of bunny-ness. It became a discovery of the essential aspects of a stone sculpture I want in order to be happy.


The inspiration for “Essential Bunny” came from my recent experience carving the stone horse sculpture “Tazz Like Jazz”. Tazz is a dance of curves, a whirlwind of energy, the sculptural embodiment of joie de vivre. I needed to balance back after so much excitement. I wondered, what is the essence, the minimum, needed to convey an idea?

Why Bunnies?

I am enamored of bunnies and have carved them several times: “Big Feet”(snowshoe hare), “Bunny Whirl”, “Spiral Bunny”. My husband Brian and I garden organically and have built many new gardens on our small property populated with native and drought-tolerant plants. Wild bunnies have lived in our yard now for several years as a result of our efforts. I interpret this bunny approval as success in creating wildlife habitat where none existed before. This is important to me because so much of our planet is being compromised. I am delighted to share our yard with bunnies.


The essence is the simplest forms that describe a bunny: round body and long ears. This translates into more curves and round forms, and less lines and edges. The idea prompted several questions: Can I do an entire sculpture with all curved surfaces? How many incised lines might I need? Do I need any edges at all?


In my process of thinking through the essence of bunny-ness I realized the ideas I find essential in order for me to be happy making a sculpture. “Essential” takes on a new meaning and ideas must be significant if they are to be carved in stone.

Line and Form

Sculptures embody many ideas that mix and collide in the process of making. Some involve content like the subject of bunnies. Others involve design ideas like line and form. “Tazz Like Jazz” has the formal aspects of lines and curves that mirror and echo each other, that circle and spiral through the pose.

Tazz Like Jazz, sculpture by Ellen Woodbury
“Tazz Like Jazz”  Photo by Mel Schockner

“Essential Bunny” has the formal aspect of round forms (surfaces) that flow into and out of each other. Simple shapes take your eye around big curves, sliding up and down the spine, circling around to tiny paws and up to the nose. Line guides the eye in Tazz Like Jazz; form guides the eye in Essential Bunny.

Essential Bunny, back view, sculpture by Ellen Woodbury
“Essential Bunny” back view. Photo by Mel Schockner

More Essentials

Round forms are soothing and soft, but they are not enough to convey the essence of bunny-ness. I include the simple lines of paws and nose to create the delight I feel when I think of bunnies. I enjoy the visual interest when a subtle line interrupts a gentle curve and a simple edge creates a tiny shadow. Small variations can bring significant meaning.

My Essentials

A crisp edge breaks two adjacent planes into one light surface and one dark surface. Vast curves bend light into a fantastic spectrum of increasing and diminishing shadows. Pure white Sivec Marble (sa-VETCH) finishes to a sparkling crystal that adds luminous brilliance to the undulating surfaces. Light moves directly across the crystals’ surfaces catching their edges and reflecting back to us.  

I want to revel in the form, the subject, and the making of the sculpture. Movement in the pose, personal discovery through the creative process, interest in the subject, subtlety in the execution, and the magical manipulation of light and shadow are my essentials, the essence of my sculptures.

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