Notebook, 1993-

MATERIALS & METHODS - A Perspective on Art Education - Activities for Children - Themes & Topics

Drawing & Painting -- Modeling & Sculpting

Fingerpainting -- Mural Making -- Paper-Mâché -- Puppets -- Mask-Making -- Crayon Encaustics -- Crayon Resist Drawing -- Crayon Sgraffito -- Collage -- Mobiles -- Watercolor -- Common Earth Clay -- Salt Ceramic [recipe] -- Clay / plasticene Non-hardening -- Carving in the Round -- Newspaper Modeling -- Paraffin or Wax Sculpture -- Plaster Plaques or Reliefs -- Relief in Plaster -- Relief in Soft Wood -- Repoussé -- Sandcasting -- Working With the Coping Saw or Jigsaw -- Straw/Toothpick Sculpting -- Painting on Window Glass -- Diorama -- Peep Shows -- Whittling -- Wire Sculpture

[From: [Meaning in Crafts. Mattil,, Edward L. Chairman, Dept. of Art, North Texas State University. Third Edition, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1971.]

Modeling and Sculpting

In the broadest sense, sculpture includes all representations in the round and in relief, achieved by modeling, carving, or constructing in materials. More specifically, sculpture implies mainly the carving of a solid material with sharp tools such as chisels, drills, burrs, or axes. Modeling is generally thought of as working with malleable or plastic materials using the hand or simple tools such as spatulas or modeling tools. There are almost no limits to the choice of materials for either of these processes.

Modeling and sculpting are among the oldest forms of man's expression. As early as prehistoric man found flat surfaces on which to scratch and draw, he found pliable clay with which to model figures. It was probably later when he first fashioned tools capable of carving wood or stone, but his first three-dimensional efforts are related to today's efforts, for the primary subjects of art have not changed much throughout the years. Only man's relation to his subject, his materials, and his techniques have changed.

Man was first inspired by the forms of nature that made up his environment --animals, birds, trees, and people. Only later, when he became interested in the mysteries of life, such as fertility, birth, and death, and became involved in mystical relationships to his environment, did he begin to develop abstract symbolism to express his feelings, desires, and beliefs. In many ways the traditional concept of sculpture is rapidly changing. The media for the adult sculptor now include all the materials and processes of modern production. There are sculptures of concrete, steel, glass, aluminum, and plastic. Sculptors use welding equipment, mechanical drills and presses, and many other kinds of construction equipment as legitimately as they use mallets and chisels. Color as in ancient Egypt is once again an integral component of many sculptures. Use of these newer media has, of course, resulted in sculptures that are less dependent on natural sources for their inspiration. The child approaches modeling and sculpture in ways similar to those of all artists. He interprets his visual and tactile impressions of his environment, or he expresses in personal symbols his thoughts and feelings.

No art program can be complete unless it provides some opportunity for three-dimensional activities, such as modeling and sculpture. It is one thing to draw or paint one's experiences on flat surface, but it is a far different experience to create three-dimensionally. Many children have great difficulty with two-dimensional media. The teacher may watch a child struggling indefinitely to draw a figure with legs crossed; the child might solve this problem immediately when working in clay, simply by lifting one leg and crossing it over the other. To work in new and different materials can itself be stimulating, and the limitations imposed by each new material cause the child to develop new ideas and to vary his mode of expression, experimenting, and inventing as he goes. Working in three dimensions can also provide opportunities for the child who is more interested in tactile than in visual sensations.

Because we stress the importance of being individual, we ought to recognize the fact that each person has his own way of working and can develop a technique only through his work. Some teachers hold a mistaken notion that, given the materials, the child will create freely by himself. This is a beautiful thought, but unfortunately it is not often true. In most cases it is up to the teacher to provide adequate stimulation or motivation based upon the child's own experiences. For example, the teacher might ask how to prepare a hot dog for eating. How is it held? How wide must the mouth be opened? How do you chew? Does it drip catsup or mustard on your face? Can you model yourself eating a hot dog? Some other stimulations for working in clay or plasticene might include: "I am catching a ball," "I am eating corn on the cob," "I am taking a nap after lunch," "I am petting my cat."

NOTE: There are many common materials for modeling and sculpting, as well as many fine local materials available to teachers in different parts of the country. In some areas, lava-type stones that are very satisfactory for carving can be found. In other areas, where scrap materials are readily available, teachers may find sizable scraps of foam glass used in large construction projects. Older children can make excellent sculptures from fire brick or sand cores from foundries where material of this sort is available. It is important that teachers be alert to find and use the materials available in their own localities. The most imaginative and creative programs begin at home, not in the art supply catalogs.

[Meaning in Crafts. Mattil,, Edward L. Chairman, Dept. of Art, North Texas State University. Third Edition, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1971.]



The contents of this site, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, non-commercial use only. The contents of this site may not be reproduced in any form without proper reference to Text, Author, Publisher, and Date of Publication [and page #s when suitable].