“Nannette Clapman Blinchikoff takes a simple material, painted cardboard, and makes a geometrically intricate sculpture out of it.” 

This quote, from one reviewer’s article, moves recyclable cardboard into the realm of Fine Art. 

2000 | Carnival #5 | Mobile |  4′ x 10′ | Media: corrugated cardboard, wire, acrylic paint | Theme: geometric shapes | Series: Dad

Morris A. Mechanic Theatre  |  2001-2002 concert season  |  Baltimore City, MD
Photo captures the Bromo Seltzer Clock Tower.  |  Directing the mobile’s installation was a Happening.

This cross-section of recyclable-corrugated cardboard reveals a continuous center-wavy line.  |  My wavy-line of life.*

History  |  1994 – 2005 

A new avenue of expression. 

In 1994, I was searching for a new medium to create a series of lightweight abstract-sculptures. I experimented with several materials before deciding upon corrugated cardboard. It seemed to have the potential to mimic abstracted carnival-like ferris-wheels and roller coasters.

* As I sliced recyclable-cardboard boxes into thin strips, I found special meaning in its three components; 2 flat-planes pressing in on one vulnerable thin wavy strip. Together they give the cardboard its strength.

I immediately internalized the 3 components. To me, the center-wavy line was my line of life, a constantly moving entity, symbolizing my satisfying and challenging moments. The two compressing planes represent the “stuff” that continually interrupt my daily routine.

In 2004, I incorporated wire into the cardboard’s construction, because on their own, these thin slices of cardboard are very fragile. Since my background is in metal, I am constantly seeking new ways to make fragile materials more resilient

Corrugated cardboard continues to fascinate me; it symbolizes my struggles with time-management, priorities, and never-ending responsibilities.



  Sculpture Series

Dad  |  The Carnival Series 

1997 | Carnival #4 | cardboard | geometric shapes

Cardboard to Bronze

1999 | Dad | bronze

Mom  |  The Healing Proess  

2003 | cardboard-wire spirals

Mom, Dad and Me

2005 | geometric and spiral mix


1994 – 1999

The Carnival Series mirrors the brightly colored amusement-park images of ferris wheels and roller coasters.
These abstracted sculptures are adventures in whimsy, color, light, and form. They were fun to create.

1994-1996 | Experimenting with geometric shapes
More experimentation
1997 | Carnival #4 | mobile | reinforced corrugated-cardboard


      Cardboard  –  Wax  –  Bronze

In 1999, I wondered if the indents of the  cardboard could be captured in bronze.

  • Since I was no longer casting images on my own,  I took two cardboard sculptures, Dad and Spider, to the foundry (a factory that produces metal objects) asking: “Would a casting from cardboard to bronze be possible?”
  • The foundry was also curious if my experiment had merit. It was an expensive endeavor, but one worth trying.
  • To protect the original sculptures, I was instructed to cover every inch of cardboard with multiple layers of wax.  The experiment was a success as the indented details from the cardboard could be seen in the bronze sculptures below.
  • Step 1.  Cardboard – Wax:  The wax strengthens the cardboard so sprues can be applied to create a wax unit.
  • Step 2.  Wax unit – Mold: The ceramic-shell mold protects the wax unit during the lost-wax process.
  • Step 3. The Burn-out:  Because cardboard is a combustible material it burns with the layers of wax.
  • Steps 4-8.  The final stages of the lost-wax casting.

CARDBOARD | Stuffing wax into the tiny holes was extremely time-consuming. 

WAX | Layering melted wax to Dad and Spider’s flat-surface areas was quick and easy.

1999 | Dad | bronze | 12"x11"x10"

MOLD | A thin fireproof ceramic-shell protects the wax-unit while it is heated. The wax melts, leaving negative space.

1999 | Spider | bronze | 19"x15"x9"

BRONZE | The negative space is filled with liquid bronze. | The metal cools to a solid and the refining process begins.


 2003  |  The Healing Process  |  3 Phases

Creating this 3-dimensional series helped me understand and deal with my own process of healing after a loved has passed.

My three healing phases and sculptural images share the same titles:
In the Beginning, Slowly Healing and In the End. They exemplify the bonding between a patient and caregiver. After the patient has passed the caregiver and family struggle to cope with the loss. 

  • The elements of each sculpture and phase are a long stem, a graduating center, and dangling spirals. Each phase tells its own story through my art. 
  • The long stems are twisted and wound tightly to show the closeness of the patient and caregiver.
  • The center openings and spirals grow larger with each phase. 
  • The patient and caretaker’s spirals both end with yellow tips, to continue their bond as they celebrate the patient’s life. 
    • The patient’s color palette morphs from red to orange to yellow.
    • The caretaker’s color palette morphs from blue to green to yellow.


In the Beginning  |  Phase One

  • A single red to yellow spiral floats upwards, freeing the soul.
  • The sculpture’s center is filled with closed spirals, representing the caretaker in an embryonic state of mourning…trying to find a way out of the sadness. 
In the Beginning | wall hanging | 50"x18"x12"


Slowly Healing  |  Phase Two

Because the patient is no longer in pain, the caretaker can take solace in knowing that while alive all was done, that could be done.

The caretaker slowly starts to put to rest the turmoil of the patient’s illness; the sculpture’s interior slowly opens and a few cascading spirals appear. 

2003 | Slowly Healing | wall hanging | 18"x48"x12" 
2006 exhibit | mobile | 1050 Washington Square | Dupont Circle, Washington, DC
2003 | In the End | wall hanging | 31"x48"x12"

In the End  |  Phase Three 

Though the patient and caretaker may be physically separated they will be together forever.

    • The spirals burst from its tightly-woven stem…leaving an open center to symbolize a sense of freedom.
    • The caretaker is satisfied that the patient’s transition was as dignified as possible and that it may be time to move-on and explore life again.
    • The 5-yellow tipped spirals are now the same length. All have finally equalized.  


2005 | Mom & Dad Together Again  |  Celebrating 58 years of marriage

My father died in 1997; my mother passed in 2002. 

This Mom & Dad sculpture combines the geometric and spiral shapes of my earlier Carnival and Healing Series. I wanted to bring my parents “Together Again” to continue their endless love story.

  • The sculpture’s interior space is stabilized by Dad’s sharp-angled geometric shapes.  In contrast, Mom’s whimsical nature is embodied by the exterior’s tendrils that are intertwined throughout the piece.
  • I incorporated myself at the sculpture’s base and the interior, with thin-yellow-cardboard strips; illustrating my never-ending interaction with my parents.

I find solace and aesthetic satisfaction knowing that my parents still inspire me.

The spirals continue into my next series of clay, called Candyland.

2005 | Mom & Dad Together Again | mixing geometric shapes and spirals | 19"x23"x19"


Detail | wheel spokes | purple dots
Detail | magenta dots
Detail | Nannette's thin-yellow strips
Detail | Mom, Dad, and Me | interior
Detail | geometric and spiral mix
Detail | orange dots