Incorporating Sculpture in Your Art Collection

Have you ever met a piece of 3D art that you loved but didn’t take it home because you didn’t know how to display it? You're not alone. 

Incorporating sculpture into the home is overwhelming for many. We caught up with assemblage artist Robin Howard to get her take on why sculpture is an integral part of any collection. Read on to learn how to harmoniously display art in your creative spaces. 


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Q: Robin, as a 3D artist, can you give us some tips on displaying sculpture? Do you have sculpture in your home?

A: I do now, but I didn’t for a long time because I didn’t know what to do with it. For years I had a beautiful, textural ceramic sculpture made by a friend just sitting on the floor. One day I built a simple pedestal for it, and my entire life changed. The pedestal elevated the piece literally, but it also elevated it by making it feel important. Suddenly my whole house seemed more luxurious and interesting. Art is the storyteller in your home, and I’ve fallen in love with how sculpture can amp up the drama. 


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Q: Where are some no-fail places to place 3D work?

A: The entryway is my favorite. If it doesn’t have to be a hardworking space in terms of functionality, then the entry is a prime spot for a large vertical sculpture, smaller works on pedestals, or 3D wall art. I also like to use tall sculptures to round out corners on stairway landings or round out corners instead of a random plant or floor lamp. The fireplace mantle, bookshelves, and side tables are great for smaller works. We have open shelving in our kitchen, and I like to work in sculpture there too. It’s cozy.  

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Q: How do you balance 2D and 3D art in a room?

A: Framed art, sofas, chairs, and beds usually read as a horizontal line. Sculpture usually reads as a vertical line. Use a tall floor sculpture or a sculpture on a pedestal to break up too much horizontal. Or, if you have a big piece of 2D art in a room, use floating shelves on another wall to display a series of small works from one artist, or works that have a theme or material in common. 

Grouping is one of my favorite tricks. We have a spare, minimal aesthetic in our house, but we have a lot of sculpture. It doesn’t feel too busy because I use repetition to keep it soothing.

Just in case it needs to be said, people shouldn’t be afraid to buy a body of work the way it’s displayed in a gallery or buy multiples and place them together in a grouping. Restaurants and hotels do it all the time. For example, the more Liv Antonecchia ceramic 3D donuts in a group, the better the story. Imagine having an entire wall of donuts in your kitchen or filling floating shelves with Olivia Bonilla’s cupcake sculptures in your breakfast nook. One is fun, but nine are something to talk about. That’s how you make your house come alive. 

I collect ceramic pots, and I am addicted to small pinch pots. I don’t have a huge art budget, but I’ve been known to buy a body of work from a ceramicist because repetition adds depth. It also keeps my collection of small works from feeling like tchotchkes. If you want to make your art budget stretch, buy studies or small works in multiples from one body of work and group them. It will read as a much more substantial piece of art but will cost a fraction of what a large work would cost.