Self-Portrait Sculpture

By Gorberg, Sharon | Arts & Activities, May 2002 | Go to article overview

Self-Portrait Sculpture


Gorberg, Sharon, Arts & Activities


This self-portrait sculpture project developed out of a desire to create a three-dimensional assignment that the eighth-grade gifts could use to explore issues of personal identity. Discussions about cultural, racial and religious identity led to conversations about the roles we play in the various areas of our lives.

Family relationships, personal talents, interests and ambitions became central to what the gifts wanted to say about themselves. We discussed how these themes could be visually represented using color, texture and shape. From these discussions a list was created and the girls chose three or more aspects of themselves to represent through their sculpture.

After clarifying their ideas, the students begin with a drawing of a figure. Many choose a pose that depicts a favorite activity, and add two or three other images that represent other interests or cultural or ethnic groups to which they belong. Since this assignment follows a short unit on figure drawing, some girls choose to work from previous drawings.

An initial demonstration about how to manipulate, form and attach two pieces of wire was all that was needed to make these figures come alive. We use 16-gauge aluminum wire, as it is easy to bend and produces a light sculpture. Once the pose is completed, the armature is stuffed or wrapped with small pieces of newspaper held in place with masking tape.

Although in past years we have used a variety of materials to build up the figure, old fashioned papier-mache has proven to be the most successful. …

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