Tried & True Tips for Art Teachers: Three-Dimensional Art

By Greenman, Geri | Arts & Activities, May 2008 | Go to article overview

Tried & True Tips for Art Teachers: Three-Dimensional Art


Greenman, Geri, Arts & Activities


In the round, all around, sculpture is wonderful! Its use of space in space is a treat for the viewer, and can give art students a challenge. There are so many opportunities to view sculpture and practically as many materials in which to create sculpture. There are bas-relief * sculptures that are often mounted on walls or doors, like Lorenzo Ghiberti's "Gates of Paradise" bronze doors, which depict scenes from the Old Testament. Freestanding sculptures, such as Constantin Brancusi's works, look sleek and modernistic though they were created early in the 20th century.

There are boxes staged by Joseph Cornell, creative, interesting assemblages full of found objects that are intriguing to view and can be so much fun for students of all ages to create. These are often one of the best ways to get kids interested in sculpture. Some people might call assemblages junk sculptures, but the fact that kids can create a piece themselves with "stuff," whether the piece is titled or has a theme, is immaterial!

Speaking of materials, there's clay, ceramic, bronze, silver, aluminum, glass, wire, steel, ** fiberglass, cement (with or without mosaics), plaster, found objects and wood.

Wood might be carved, assembled or just might look like wood, such as some of Debra Butterfield's horses, where each part of the horse is cast in metal to look as if branches and heavy twigs were used to create it.

The study of art offers myriad choices: choosing what materials to use, whether or not to use color, where to place one object in juxtaposition to another. Artists are challenged to make critical decisions hundreds of times during the creation of any particular work. These are some of the gifts we bring our students. There aren't any pat answers in art, nor are there wrong answers, so give your students the opportunity to make those independent choices as you open their world to sculpture and the third dimension, while using two-dimensional sketches for planning!

tip #1

SHOES OF CLAY This tip is from Laurel Winters of Akron, Ohio. One of her favorite sculptural projects is to have her students design a shoe out of clay. There can be specific themes such as art movements or even "in the manner of" in a particular artist's style, but this year Lauren allowed her fifth-graders to choose their own theme. She and her students were very happy with the themes they chose for themselves, which included sports, the beach, the moon and stars.

Laurel found some great examples on the Web from Discovery Education streaming, in particular a video on shoes (www.streaming.discovery education.com/index.cfm).

Princeton's incredible art department's Web site (www.princetonol. com/group/iad/) is also one of her favorite resources. She uses this site frequently for any type of research she needs to do. She's already looking into a kimono exhibit in Canton, Ohio, and from there she's found lots of related information on Japan, including details of kimonos, art lessons, origami and more. …

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