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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

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!