Lithium [SOLVAY 7512]


This sculpture was my attempt to do "art as therapy". When I was in my mid-20s I had a problem with my thyroid and I was misdiagnosed. Instead of being given the replacement hormone,
synthroid, I was diagnosed as being bipolar and given Lithium. Not good. My symptoms and issues that I had did not go away and the Lithium just compounded those problems. This drug has a way of magnifying and worsening thyroid functions, and did it ever in my case. I developed lumps and they performed surgery to remove my thyroid. Finally, after 3 years, I got taken off Lithium and was prescribed synthroid.

Naturally, I was frustrated and angry about the whole thing. I did this sculpture to deal with those feelings and bring closure to it. I made this deconstructed pillbox involving the Lithium. From Sunday to Saturday, I step by step constructed both the pillbox and the Lithium pill as if I were assembling a bomb.


I used 2-liter Pepsi bottles, moulding plaster, aluminum, styrofoam, ping pong balls, Hawaiian Punch, Dr. Pepper, particle board, plexi glass and other assorted items.
The Hawaiian Punch and Dr. Pepper were used instead of water in mixing the plaster. There was a two-fold purpose for this, one, it tinted the plaster pink and brown and, two, the chemicals, sugar and syrup made it unstable. I wanted the constructed pill to look ominous and foreboding. In the turnaround above you can see the decay and rotting look to the pill. The second turnaround also shows a cutaway view of what is contained in each halve of the pill. I had Dr. Pepper injected in each ping pong ball and when the assembly was lowered into the plastic and filled with plaster, these balls would crack as the plaster expanded. This released even more syrup and chemicals which contributed to the decaying look later on.

The sculpture was 5 feet long and the completed pill in the Saturday compartment of the pillbox was 14 inches long. Probably my most cerebral piece to date
but not as much fun. It was something I had to do, to make peace with it all. Move the cursor over each image to turn the object 360 degrees. For Mobile users tap and swipe with your finger to get the same effect.