Category Archives: sculpture

Talking Trees


The power of the almighty googly eye does not cease to amaze me. My plans to make a kind and wise looking tree were thwarted by those eyes, turning said tree into a purveyor of nightmares. It began innocently enough, with the new season of Game of Thrones inspiring me to think of a project about enchanted forests and trees, and the role they’ve played in so many wonderful books and movies. Think of the Ents in Lord of The Rings, the grumpy apple trees in The Wizard of Oz, Grandmother Willow in Pocahontas, and the troll trees in Bridge To Terabithia…which brings us to talking trees. Just remember, when making your own, the use of googly eyes is optional.

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Filed under clay, sculpture

Button Art

Some interesting art has been made using buttons. Ran Hwang creates beautiful wall installations with them; Lisa Kokin makes pixilated compositions by stitching them together; Jane Perkins likes to transform found objects like buttons into something new; and Shishua Vang works them into her paintings. We’ll also be making some cool button art, filled with bright colours and interesting textures. Continue reading


Filed under buttons, plaster, sculpture

Rainbow Sand Casting

Rainbow Sand Casting

Sand casting is such a great idea, and has become a popular beach activity for kids. Tons of blogs have been showing great examples of hands, feet, shells, you name it. But what really caught my eye was a YouTube video by Gary Einloth. I liked his idea of using tools to prod deeply into the sand, and thought some interesting miniature landscapes could be created using this method.

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Filed under plaster, sand, sculpture

Sculpting In Plaster

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”   Michelangelo

Plaster of Paris makes it easy to create small blocks of “stone” that little sculptors can carve. It’s also a wonderful way to have children imagine a three dimensional shape inside a block, and bring it to life. As they carve and scratch away at the plaster, they’ll see their idea slowly emerge and evolve.

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Filed under sculpture

Gargoyles and Grotesques

Long before we invented downspouts, the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks were worrying their pretty heads off about water damage. I’m guessing it was during a night of serious debauchery, that someone had the idea of strategically placing sculpted lion heads with spouts on the sides of buildings, thereby redirecting the flow of water from rooftops to prevent erosion. Brilliant, n’est ce pas? And so began the idea of adorning buildings with human and animal stone carvings, to protect masonry and mortar from water. They became highly popular during Medieval times, and graced the facades of many cathedrals like Notre Dame de Paris. It was believed the more grotesque looking ones served as a reminder of the evil that lurked about, while others served to protect from evil.

I have loved the troubling little faces of gargoyles and grotesques ever since I can remember, but only recently learned the difference between them. A spout. When it rains, water flows through the gargoyle’s elongated body, shoots out of its mouth through the spout, earning it the charming nickname “water vomiter.” If a stone sculpture lacks the unique ability to vomit water, it is called a grotesque. Today, however, the terms seem to be interchangeable.

When making your gargoyle/grotesque, keep in mind that a variety of human and animal forms were used. Animals were chosen for their symbolic meanings, and common ones were dogs, lions, eagles, wolves, monkeys, goats, and snakes. Some were fantasy creatures like dragons, griffins and chimeras (imaginary creature composed of body parts from different animals), while human gargoyles were often strange and humorous looking, perhaps like your Uncle Freddy.

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Filed under clay, sculpture

Wire Mobiles

Alexander Calder was born into a family of artists, and while he initially began painting and drawing, he developed a keen interest in mechanics and engineering which he incorporated into his work. His innovative way of thinking and wonderful sense of play lead to explorations in kinetic art, where sculptures were moved about by air currents or motor power. He became famous for inventing these mobiles, as they became known. They showed us a new way of looking at sculpture, which was now shown to move freely and interact with the environment. This project will allow children to experience making this kind of mobile, by using wire to create 3 dimensional portraits.

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Filed under Alexander Calder, Artists, mobiles, sculpture

Found Object Robots

Using found objects to make art is a great way to stretch your imagination. It involves taking materials designed for one purpose and using them for another. One of the most famous examples is Pablo Picasso’s Bull’s Head,  made from a bicycle saddle and handlebars. It’s such a simple and humorous idea, but someone had to think of it. The challenge here is to make a robot sculpture using only found objects in metal. Let the games begin!

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Filed under Pablo Picasso, recycling, sculpture