UW School of Dentistry

Orthodontics residents show their artistry with wire sculptures

Continuing a 54-year-old tradition, five first-year residents in the UW School of Dentistry’s Department of Orthodontics have crafted wire sculptures for the department’s exhibition.

The sculptures range from a portrayal of the Seattle skyline to a portrait of a resident’s Samoyed dog. As always, the sculptures must use primarily orthodontic materials – wire, rubber bands, and dental acrylic. In previous years, residents have created everything from a model town to the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Lion King.

The annual sculpture event was inspired by Dr. Ben Moffett, a School of Dentistry professor emeritus of orthodontics who passed away in 2008 after three decades on the faculty. After taking a UW art class in form and function in the 1960s, he invited a lecturer on the subject to the School of Dentistry for weekly talks. They drew strong interest, which led to the creation of the annual display.

This year’s entries came from the following entrants, who each furnished a description of their work.

My Neighbor Totoro, by Dr. Ellen Hoang

Dr. Ellen Hoang
My Neighbor Totoro

This was inspired by the Studio Ghibli film of the same name, which is about two young sisters who explore their new home and befriend some cuddly, cute, playful spirits (one of which is Totoro). Growing up with Studio Ghibli films, I always admired the creative storylines and artistic attention to detail. As I pursue orthodontics, I hope to continue to celebrate imagination and artistry with my patients.

From Tahoe to Ortho, by Dr. Ameen Shahnam

Dr. Ameen Shahnam
From Tahoe to Ortho

This is a cartographically accurate depiction of Lake Tahoe with abstract Sierra Nevadas bordering it. I grew up near Lake Tahoe and have yet to find rival to its natural splendor. Lake Tahoe is 2 million years old and amongst the 20 oldest lakes in the world. It sits at 6,225 feet above sea level, making it the largest alpine lake in North America. It is the sixth-largest lake by volume in the United States, coming after only the five Great Lakes. It is also the second-deepest lake in the United States. It has some of the purest water of any lake in the world with a visibility of 70.3 feet, which is readily apparent to any visitor, as the lake enjoys sunshine 75 percent of the year on average. It is home for me and where my mind wanders on a rainy Seattle day.

Giant Pacific Octopus, by Dr. Kaitlyn Tom

Dr. Kaitlyn Tom
Giant Pacific Octopus

Having grown up near water, I’ve always been fascinated by marine life. At the Seattle Aquarium, my favorite exhibit is the Giant Pacific Octopus. Found on the western coast of North America, it is the largest and longest living octopus species. The biggest ever recorded was 600 pounds and 30 feet in length! With nine brains, thousands of powerful suckers, and perhaps the greatest disappearing act ever seen, the Giant Pacific Octopus is one of the stealthiest and most formidable aquatic hunters on the planet.

Monty, by Dr. Sherry Wan

Dr. Sherry Wan
Monty

This sculpture is of my Samoyed puppy, Monty, who is an Instagram pupfluencer (@teddy.and.monty). Samoyeds are known for their “Sammy Smile,” as they are good-natured sled dogs originating from Siberia. Even when they don’t smile with their tongues out, the corners of their lips naturally curl up to prevent icicle formation (although not much of a concern in the Seattle climate).

See-It-All Skyline, by Dr. Erin Yoshida

Dr. Erin Yoshida
See-It-All Skyline

The Seattle skyline is among the most distinctive in the United States, with the iconic Space Needle looming above architectural buildings. The view can’t be complete without the Seattle Great Wheel and a little sailboat!

Orthodontics wire sculpture entries recognized

Five students have shared recognition in the annual wire sculpture competition conducted by the School of Dentistry’s Department of Orthodontics.

Held since 1966, the popular contest for first-year residents requires entrants to use primarily orthodontic materials, such as wire, rubber bands, and dental acrylic. The resulting sculptures have included everything from a model town to the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Lion King.

This year’s entries included:

First Tracks by Dr. Lauren Hagel Blanchard. Her comment: “I have been skiing since I was 3 years old and as a child, most Sundays from November until late March included waking up before sunrise on Sunday mornings, jumping in the car, and driving to Alpental or Stevens Pass so that we could get ‘first tracks’ in the fresh powder.”

First Tracks by Dr. Lauren Hagel Blanchard
First Tracks by Dr. Lauren Hagel Blanchard

Fresh Balsam by Dr. Jessica Collins. Her comment: “I decided to make a balsam tree because it reminds me of the joys of the holiday season. One of my favorite things to do around the holidays is burn tree-scented candles. My favorite candle at Christmastime is called Fresh Balsam.”

Fresh Balsam by Dr. Jessica Collins
Fresh Balsam by Dr. Jessica Collins

Bailey by Dr. Sara Finkleman. Her comment: “For my wire-bending project, I wanted to make an abstract representation of something commonplace: man’s (or woman’s) best friend. The name ‘basset’ is derived from the French word bas, which means low, and the suffix -et, which means rather. I chose a basset hound because of this breed’s distinctive appearance, which is characterized by their short stature and long, floppy ears. Basset hounds are known to be docile and friendly, but can also be stubborn at times.”

Bailey by Dr. Sara Finkleman
Bailey by Dr. Sara Finkleman

Tooth with Orthodontic Bracket by Dr. Erica Frenkel. Her comment: “I wanted to be an orthodontist since I was 12 years old, so I made a wire sculpture representing how grateful I am to be a part of the University of Washington Ortho program!”

Tooth with Orthodontic Bracket by Dr. Erica Frenkel
Tooth with Orthodontic Bracket by Dr. Erica Frenkel

The Beauty of Nature by Dr. Anna Morrow. Her comment: “The orchid is a great example of stunning beauty that was created by nature. It is an elegant and almost perfect flower with many colors and shapes. No other flower looks quite like an orchid. It combines both genteel and wild at the same time. Everyone can find something to love about the orchid.”

The Beauty of Nature by Dr. Anna Morrow
The Beauty of Nature by Dr. Anna Morrow

The late Dr. Ben Moffett, a School of Dentistry professor emeritus of orthodontics, is credited with inspiring the competition. In the 1960s, he took a UW art class in form and function and found the material so helpful that he arranged for weekly lectures on the subject at the School of Dentistry. These struck a special chord with the orthodontics department, and eventually led to the contest.

 

Orthodontics students show off their artistic side

Competitors in the School of Dentistry’s annual orthodontics wire sculpture contest have come up with breathtaking creations year after year since the contest’s inception in 1966. The intricate, delicately fashioned entries have included everything from a geisha figure to the Eiffel Tower to the Lion King.

This year was something else, however. With one of the strongest groups of entries in memory, the  Department of Orthodontics declined to pick a winner. Instead, it chose to honor each of the five entrants in the contest, which is open to first-year orthodontics residents. Entrants must use predominantly orthodontic materials, such as wire, rubber bands and dental acrylic, and their work is judged for esthetic quality, innovative design and technical competence.

“Crazy Plant Lady” by Dr. Lauren Lewandowski. She says that these are “wire sculptures representing three plants in my collection: aloe vera, sempervivum (succulent), and astrophytum (cactus).”

This year’s field included:

“La Catrina” by Dr. Gabriela Aragon-Meyer, a depiction of an iconic figure in Mexico’s Day of the Dead observance.

“Transitions” by Dr. Leigh Armijo, which shows three yoga poses.

“Off to the Races!” by Dr. Emily Knott, showing a racehorse and rider in full sprint.

“Crazy Plant Lady” by Dr. Lauren Lewandowski, who fashioned representations of three of her own plants.

“Wired Wired West” by Dr. Sarah McMartin, showing a bucking bronco and its rider.

The contest was inspired by Dr. Ben Moffett, a School of Dentistry professor emeritus of orthodontics who passed away in 2008 after serving as a faculty member for three decades. In the 1960s, he took a UW art class in form and function, and was inspired to bring a lecturer on the subject to the School of Dentistry for weekly talks. Continuing interest in the subject soon led to the creation of the contest.

“Off to the Races” by Dr. Emily Knott. She says: “Moving from Kentucky, I wanted to create some Southern flair paying homage to my beloved horse races. Saturdays cheering on the thoroughbreds is a treasured Kentucky tradition!”
yoga wire sculpture

“Transitions” by Dr. Leigh Armijo. She says: ‘I have been taking yoga classes for the past several years, and a main focus of the practice is on mind and body wellness. Smooth transitioning between poses is geared toward improving core strength and preventing injury. I have depicted a transition between three common poses: Warrior 2, Reverse Warrior and Side Angle, in which the lower body stays static while the torso and arms are the moving parts.”

head wire sculpture

“La Catrina” by Dr. Gabriela Aragon-Meyer. She says: “The Catrina was invented by lithographer José Guadalupe Posada in 1910, during the first rumblings of discontent that led to the Mexican Revolution. She initially served as a satirical comment on the Mexican aristocracy that was desperately trying to emulate the European fashion and was thus denying its own cultural heritage. She was further popularized by the muralist Diego Rivera, and portrayed as an elegantly dressed female skeleton. Over the last century, The Catrina has evolved beyond a means of social commentary into an icon in the Mexican Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos. “La Catrina” embodies the perspective the Mexican people have toward death, which is not only viewed as an equalizing force, but is embraced as a part of life.”

rodeo rider

“Wired Wired West” by Dr. Sarah McMartin. She says: “As a horse-crazy girl from Eastern Washington, I decided to create a bucking bronco for my sculpture. I really love the energy and movement the image invokes and hoped to create the same feeling with my sculpture.”