Fruit Cart

Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare
Ohio University, 2015

*This was a collaborative project. I completed the wheels and started the box construction while Prop Mastering the show, and then guided fellow artisan Travis Nelson through the rest of the build.*

Blocking during rehearsals demanded that the fruit cart be able to rotate 360°, so the final object differed from the drafting in this regard. Instead, the wheel axle was moved to the back of the cart and a third wheel was added on a central front leg.

The back wheels were made by sandwiching 3 layers of 3/4” plywood, and routing the outer rings to the center. The wheels were fed onto a 1” pipe and tacked into place by custom washers made from 16g. sheet steel to space the wheels on the spoke.

The structure of the box was cut out of 1/2 luan plywood. A groove to indicate planking was cut in using the table saw. Off cuts from other shop projects became the slat details on the front. The wood was all aged using a 4” grinder equipped with a flap wheel.

Fountain Statue

Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare
Ohio University, 2015

Triton Blowing a Conch Shell by Adriaen de Vries (c. 1615)
Designer Research Image

*This was a collaborative and interdepartmental project. I guided a fellow student through the base carve process and then finished the rest of the sculpt. Other artisans created the four fish and the pedestal, and the Scene Shop handled the build of the fountain base and the plumbing.*

fountain-statue-daniel_raderThis production was set in post-WWII Italy. The piazza was restored from wartime destruction to revitalized beauty in several phases. This included a destroyed fountain that was repaired in two segments: pedestal and statue. Additionally, there was a running gag where each time the maintenance man worked on the fountain, he was sprayed in the face with water.

In order to achieve the water effects, two sump pumps were hidden under the stage with hoses that lived in the fountain base. One hose was used to connect to the hard plumbing within the pedestal, which split to run to three fish. The second hose connected to its mate embedded in the body of the statue which was fed through the pedestal. By the end of the play, both the fish and statue worked.

The statue was made of several layers of rigid foam with a hose running through the center of it. Expanding foam, microcell foam, and masking tape were also used to create the body shapes and details. The statue sat on a plywood base to stabilize it. A new foot and a leg were carved separately and attached with a steel rod. The whole form was paper mached before it was coated in epoxy resin and painted by the Scenic crew.

Egyptian Sphinx Sculpture

Advanced Hand Props, with Tom Fiocchi
Ohio University, 2016

Research Image
Research Image


For this class project I challenged myself to be able to not only replicate a particular object, but to be able to duplicate my own work. This meant choosing an object that was essentially a mirror image of itself. The Sphinx’s body was essentially symmetrical except for the placement of the tail. It was also my  intention to challenge myself with carving the human form again. It’s smaller scale (18” L x 10” W x 14” H) added another layer of difficulty for me since all other carving previous to this project were at a life size scale.

I started with 4 layers of rigid insulation foam and carved down from there. I started with a hot knife to take away large chunks of material, and the rest was done with snap knives. I continued to carve the body until I realized I needed more information about the wings. I chose to carve the wings in poplar so they would be more durable. Each wing had a visible front and back side. I used a dremel with a sanding drum to lay in the feathers.

When it came time to insert the wings, I dug two slots into the foam and adhered them with expanding foam. Shrink wrap kept the wings in place until it cured. I also used the expanding foam to add material back where I had carved too much away. Masking tape took care of any additional imperfections. Upholstery tacks created the eyeballs, a bundle of twine was used for the tail, and microcell foam pierced with wires established the flourish in front. The statue was attached to the wooden base with contact adhesive and a thin bead of caulk for security. Sculpt or Coat unified all the surfaces before being painted.

Stylized Birdbath

The Thieving Magpie, by Gioachino Rossini
The Glimmerglass Festival, 2016
Scene & Costume Design by: Myung Hee Cho


 The basin for this birdbath was a fairly large 3’0″ x almost 2’0″ oval with  a depth of around 4.” Luckily, we did not need to carve out the entire depth because a lauan insert wrapped in painted mylar would be placed close to the rim to reflect the light.

The stylized stand for the birdbath was already constructed by the scenic carpenters, so I traced the curves of where the basin was to sit as a starting point. I created an axis of the curves with 1/2″ plywood and adhered rigid foam to each of the quadrants. Using the ply curves as guides, I cut, surformed, and sanded my way to a smooth basin that fit within perfectly within the stand.

The depth of the basin was created by plotting the oval on a piece of 1/2″ ply and stapling 2 layers of bendy ply around the perimeter. The oval was attached by gluing and stapling the crossbar to the top of the ply curve. The surface was unified by paper mâchéing the foam and bendy ply and sent to Paints for finishing.