As promised yesterday, I am writing today about the next step in a sculpture lesson sequence I led on a couple occasions last year, for 7th, 8th and 9th grade art students. Again, I must mention that these activities are based upon a totally genius lesson sequence developed by a friend and fellow art educator, who now teaches in a New York City. In my version of the sequence, we began by viewing and discussing artwork by three contemporary artists who make use of found and recycled materials in creating 3D artwork: Tara Donovan, Aurora Robson, and El Anatsui. We then talked about what a sculpture is, and as a group brainstormed some definitions for what can be considered a sculpture.
I had brought in a range of objects to the class, including recycled objects such as toilet paper roles, vitamin bottles, and small cardboard boxes. I also brought in some everyday objects from home such as a cheese grater, running shoes, a wooden spoon, embroidery hoops, and coloured wooden blocks. I spread these objects out randomly on the tables in the classroom. I then led the class through the following sequence activities, reflecting as a group as we finished each step:
1. Choose three objects from the table in front of you. Look carefully at the three objects you picked. Combine them into a single three-dimensional form and give your piece a title.
2. Take the piece apart and re-assemble it in a new way. You can exchange one of the objects for an object at the center of the table if you want.
3. Now pair up with the person beside you. Choose one of the following titles to create a new piece, using at least 4 of your 6 objects: Awkward Beauty, Fragile Balance, Identity Crisis, Exploding Rage, I Want to Break Free.
4. Get together with 2 other groups and create a new sculpture using objects from your 3 sculptures (using at least 3 objects).
5. Work with all groups at your table, using all of your objects, to create as tall a sculpture as you can.
The students pictured above are from the art class of 7th and 8th grade students who I initially led the activities with. As you can see, they were really engaged with the lesson, and enjoyed themselves throughout the process. I’ll write about the final stage in this lesson sequence tomorrow!
(photo credit: Tella Sametz)