Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Let's make sculptures!

Here are some photos that document the early stages of an ambitious sculpture project that we are working on.  Students were asked to make careful observations from an art poster of their choice, and then develop a visual plan (a drawing) that featured a combination of several discoveries that they made through their observations and recorded on a worksheet. The drawing was to be of a figure, human or animal, and must include a cone shape for the body.  They would later be asked to translate their two-dimensional drawing into a 3-dimensional "cone figure" sculpture of their character.  This assignment required students to demonstrate a high level of creative problem-solving!

I will explain more details of the lesson plan after these sculptures are finished because it will make more sense to you, my readers, when you can see the students' art and can make connections to the skills I was teaching. In a few posts, you will see some of the amazing drawings, the posters that inspired the students and the resulting sculptures!

The first part of the construction of the sculpture was to form a newspaper head shape.  I demonstrated how to compress the newspaper so that it was as solid as possible.  Each layer had to be held in place with masking tape and then the process was repeated many times until the desired size was achieved.

The next step was to cover all of the newspaper forms with strips of plaster gauze.  Have
you ever had a cast before?  Well, this stuff is exactly like that!  To use it we dipped the strips in a tray of water.  It can be messy, but most of the kids loved working on this step.  It was important to overlap several pieces so that there would be no weak spots once it was dry.
In the picture above, Felicia is working on the head and wings of a bird.  The arms in the background were made by Ashley Z.
Can someone say OMG!  What are we looking at here? Well it's a great pair of bent arms and a man's head made by Kyle O.  Everyone's body parts started to look a little bit creepy at this stage in the studio activity.  I assured the students that it was normal for these parts to look weird and that we would be painting over the plaster to add skin tone and facial features.  In this picuture the hands are made out of a thin cardboard called chipboard.  They will soon be painted to match the rest of the arms, so it will no longer look like the arms are covered with casts.
Some of the students had specific problems that they needed to solve depending on the character that they were making.  Jessica A. was making a horse and she needed to work hard to make the newpaper and plaster take on the shapes that she would need.  In this picture, she has made a set of four legs with hooves and an elongated head with a snout. The facial details such as the ears, eyes and nostrils will be added later with fabric and craft supplies. 

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