Year 1 Visual Arts

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Sculpture: Make Your Own

hedgehog sculpture

After learning about Sculpture: All Around Art, try your hand at making a sculpture of your own!

As you saw in the last activity, Le Sueur made his statue of King Charles I out of metal and Gormley made his very, very large sculpture of The Angel of the North out of wood and other materials. Chihuly made his brilliant chandelier out of many twisty, fragile curls of glass while working with molten (very hot!) liquid glass that hardened into each separate glass curl.

Another sculptor whose work you can see in What Your Year 1 Child Needs to Know is Edgar Degas. He was a French artist who turned to sculpture as an older man when his eyesight weakened. Can you think of another sculptor who does not see as well as he used to? (If you can't remember, see more here.) It suited Degas to be able to use his hands to feel his art, so he started modeling figures in wax or clay. He liked to make figures by building up his sculpture and adding these materials to a simple wooden skeleton.

Degas is known for his beautiful sculptures of the Little Dancer. Degas modeled his Little Dancer after a real dancer he knew called Marie van Goethen. He made many sculptures of her because a sculpture in wax or clay can then be 'cast' (or copied) in bronze, which is a strong and attractive metal. Many bronze casts have been made of Degas' original Little Dancer, and you can see one at the Tate in Liverpool.

Do you want to make your own sculpture? Yes? Great! You can make a hedgehog like the one in the picture, or you could make a sculpture of someone, either a person or an animal, whom you know. To make a hedgehog, you can use clay, a few cocktail sticks, string and clove spices from your kitchen (or small pebbles from outside). You can mold the clay with your hands to form the base, or the central part, of the body you are making into a three-dimensional oval shape. If you are making a hedgehog, you can then add the cocktail sticks into the figure to make his spiny back, poke the string into each side of his mouth (you can use a cocktail stick as a tool to get them to stick deeper into the clay) and then add the small cloves or pebbles to make the hedgehog's nose and eyes. By adding everyday materials to bring your sculpture to life, you are showing the influence of Degas and his Little Dancer. At the end, you can use your hands, fingernails or cocktail stick tool to add details and make your sculpture unique.

This activity is adapted from pages 167 - 168 of What Your Year 1 Child Needs to Know, which can be purchased here.

Click below to see related activity.

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