crayon wildfire sculptures by herb williams
crayon wildfire sculptures by herb williams crayon wildfire sculptures by herb williams
oct 14, 2011

crayon wildfire sculptures by herb williams

crayon wildfire sculptures by herb williams ‘unwanted visitor: portrait of wildfire’ by herb williams




making three dimensional sculptural works from hundreds of thousands of individual crayons, american artist herb williams is one of the few individuals who has an account with crayola. he orders each color of crayon necessary for a piece, all individually packed (3000 to a case). williams is interested in identifying objects that society perceives to associate with one role, and reintroduces them into different subtexts. with a desire to produce pieces on a grand scale,  his most recent work is ‘unwanted visitor: portrait of wildfire‘, an outdoor installation on display at the  national ranching heritage centre in lubbock, texas. the five free standing sculptures which are meant to emulate fires and flames – reminiscent of a wildfire. they have been created to raise awareness of wildfires in an area that has been severely affected by drought, each of the pieces is composed of crayola crayons. because of their wax content, they begin to melt and change shape in the unpredictable outdoor conditions in which they stand. their transformation is affected by blowing wind and dry conditions, much like those that affect the intensity and duration of real wildfire.  through the construction process, williams bonds the paper – not the wax – to the internal structure he has carved or cast to completely envelope the shape. the structures range in height from three feet to eight feet.

alternative view of the sculpture installed at the national ranching heritage centre in lubbock, texas

image © ashton thornhill

artist herb williams constructing one of the sculptures image © ashton thornhill

attaching crayons to the internal structural form image © ashton thornhill

hard at work images © ashton thornhill

image © ashton thornhill

image © ashton thornhill

transporting the finished works to the site of installation image © ashton thornhill

installation in progress image © ashton thornhill



one of the finished sculptures image © ashton thornhill

comparison of maquette #1 melting over the course of a month

melting of maquette #2

sand base adds interesting visual affect and change of how the wax dries


study models


sketch of the five wildfire shapes installed

via colossal

  • VERY interesting and esthetically pleasing shapes and COLORS

    STARTIST says:
  • L – O -V – E – L – Y —-

    navarrobello says:
  • like worms in computer games. Very interesting and impressive. But what a waste of crayons!!!

    Tom says:
  • Tisk. One can always melt and re-cast the the wax from the “Fire” series, creating the next event in the natural sequence- “Mud”. Or if this were California, “Mud Slides”.

    surlysal says:
  • what type of glue did you use to affix them?

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

art news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
502,379 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample