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.
Category Archives: sculpture
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.
“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.
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.
Humans have been stacking stones for an awfully long time. England’s Stonehenge was thought to be used as a burial site, and created as early as 2500BC. Inuksuks, made by the inhabitants of the Arctic region, were used as markers for travel routes and hunting grounds. Cairns have been found in Scandinavia as trail and sea marks, and in Somalia, to indicate tombs of former kings. Modern cairns are commonly used to indicate hiking trails, biking trails, or areas of possible danger. And some very patient people have even transformed rock balancing into performance art. These man-made stacks of stones and delicately balanced sculptures are truly fascinating things of beauty.
“If people did not sometimes do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.” Ludwig Wittgenstein.
He’s got a point, and that’s what this project is all about. Making a silly creature means letting your imagination go wild and the sillier, the better. Think wings, multiple eyeballs, crooked and disjointed parts, anything goes. Then we can move onto something more intelligent.
Earlier this summer, I suggested spending some time hunting and gathering outdoors to collect items for future arts and crafts projects. This is one of those projects where you’ll be able to make use of your treasures. Many of your gathered items are typically found on the ground, only to be stepped on or tossed in the compost pile, so you may be surprised to see how this blending of nature and imagination can create some really interesting garden art.