Lately, I’ve been drawn to Sculptural Modern Art, maybe it’s because my mind is so cluttered that I’m craving simplicity, calm, and order. In any case, I especially love art with a limited palette with a focus on texture and pattern. Some of my favorite sculptural artworks are by Hasegawa Yoshio. Check out his amazing modern art paper sculptures, they are super intricate and lovely.
Yoshio’s artwork made me think of how I could inspire my students to create their own modern art paper sculptures. With simple materials and a limited color palette, I think we achieved the right aesthetic.
- white construction paper (any size)
- kids’ scalloped or wavy scissors (regular scissors work too)
- white foam core (cut down to 10″x10″)
- Elmer’s glue
Have children cut strips of paper using their “funny scissors,” or scalloped and wavy scissors. You can also use regular scissors too. The strips can be any thickness. I found that younger kids had a hard time with this, but we just went with it. The strips turned into all sorts of interesting shapes.
Take a strip and show how they can create a circle. Take a dab of glue and hold the two ends tightly. I always tell students to “Count to ten in your head, then the ends will stick tight.” (Art tip: put Elmer’s glue in a baby food jar and have children apply with a craft stick. This avoids any extra frustration using a glue bottle. Also keep a wet paper towel handy for any sticky fingers).
Demonstrate how a circle can turn into any shape. Pinch three times to turn into a triangle, pinch four times to turn into a square, etc. Next, practice folding and rolling pieces of paper. There are no rules here!
Finally, glue all the shapes onto the white piece of foam core. Children can add shapes on top of shapes, or they can add folded pieces as well. The goal is to create a balanced piece of artwork that is sculptural or pops out.
One of the key elements of this project was to teach children about the concept of creating a balanced sculpture. We discussed how a sculpture is different from a drawing in that a sculpture is 3-D or it pops out. We could see, feel, and touch a sculpture from every angle. Further we identified objects we thought were sculptures. For instance, their LEGO toys, or piggy banks. Next, we discussed how they could create balance in their artwork. I demonstrated how each of their shapes needed to be supported by another shape or folded strip of paper. In the end, each child felt super confident with their modern paper sculpture masterpiece.
Exploring sculpture with kids is probably one of my all time favorite art activities. It provides kids with all sorts of open ended opportunities to explore their creativity and problem solve. We used simple everyday materials to create a simple modern piece of art. What interesting materials could you use to create an interesting sculpture? Let me know in the comment section below!
If you are looking for another easy sculpture project check out Kids’ Toothpick Sculptures – A Modern Craft.
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