Perfecting the Pour

This award-winning artist experiments with his working process to develop new designs

Arthur Harmath, 18, started buying woodworking tools two months into his first shop class. “I love taking a random chunk of wood and turning it into something awesome,” he says. Arthur, who plans to join the military, hopes to someday start a small business selling his sculptures.

What inspired this sculpture?

I wanted to show a flowing motion. I thought sculpting honey flowing out of a mug would capture this idea best, instead of water, milk, or some other liquid.


What materials did you use?

The mug and the honey are cherry wood. The base is black walnut. Cherry is my favorite wood. It’s very forgiving—not too hard, not too soft—so it’s easy to work with, and it has a nice golden color.  


What was your working process?

First, I cut out the base and the pouring honey. Then I used Dremel bits—small woodcarving tools—to shape the honey as I turned it on a spindle. I sanded it by hand. The mug is fragmented, so I had to find the correct angles for each piece. Then I glued them all together. I cut a handle, sanded it, and glued it on. Finally, I added an oil finish to the mug and base, and a polymer finish to the honey to make it slick and shiny.

How did you figure out how to make the work balanced?

I experimented with what looked the best. I think I could have done a better job, because it does tip a little bit. But that’s a mistake I wouldn’t make again.


Did you have to modify your design as you worked?

The honey was supposed to wrap all the way around the corner of the base. But when I tried to attach it, a piece of the honey broke off. I sanded it down enough that most people don’t notice.


Were you satisfied with your work?

Sometimes the wood can look dull. I was amazed at how the finish brightens it and brings out the wood’s golden color.


Do you have advice for aspiring artists like yourself? 

Stick to what you love. What’s life if you’re not happy?

Arthur won a Gold Medal for his sculpture in the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

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