How to Make a Thumb

How to Make a Thumb


Carved and turned English boxwood, brass.

5” x 15” x 1.5”

Case size including plexiglass cover: 10” x 24” x 31.5”.

This piece may be purchased through the District Clay Gallery Collectors Program.

Add To Cart

“How to Make a Thumb” is one of King’s iconic works where she demonstrates the meticulous steps she takes as a sculptor to make a single digit, a thumb, for one of her sculptures. The process unfolds over seven days as King slowly and painstakingly creates the thumb and its pivot points out of a piece of English boxwood. King talks about the piece in the award winning film, Double Take: the Art of Elizabeth King by Olympia Stone.


Elizabeth King combines figurative sculpture with stop-frame animation in works that blur the boundary between actual and virtual object. Intimate in scale and made to solicit close looking, her work reflects her interest in the history of the puppet, the automaton, and literature’s host of legends in which the artificial figure comes to life. She asks, “What is the figure in sculpture now? The representation of the body and its life: can I absorb the news from biotechnology and artificial intelligence but keep art’s ancient pact with theater?”  Her work touches on the mind/body riddle, the science of emotion, the human/machine interface, and what the direct gaze means in an increasingly mediated world.  Her most recent solo show, "Radical Small" at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), was on view from February 2017 through January 2018. 

For more see