Exploring Sculpture Through a Variety of Media by Hallie Cirino

We were learning the phoneme for “qu”, and thought that we could introduce the idea of “quadrangles” and do some shape exploration. After a search on the YCBA Collection website, we found Barbara Hepworth’s “Four Rectangles with Four Oblique Circles”, the perfect sculpture for our needs.

B1991.37

We viewed the sculpture “larger than life” on our SmartBoard screen. Here are some of the children’s comments:

“It looks like a family.” -Dutch

“It’s a metal pig.” -Jack

“The circles look like windows.” -Luke

“The rectangles are made out of rock.” -Esme

The children also had questions:

“Who made it?” -William

“What is it made out of?” -Harleaux

“How did she make the holes?” -Cassie

“What’s it called?” -Levi

So, we “asked Google” about it and we were VERY surprised to find a children’s book with the sculpture featured on the front cover! (Amazon Prime, thank you for your prompt delivery!)

Look! Look! Look! at Sculpture

When the book arrived two days later, we eagerly read it, and the children wanted to try the paper sculpture ideas that were inside:

paper sculptures

We decided to explore more media options for sculpture. My co-teacher, Maria, bought some fabulous natural clay. It was the children’s first experience using this material. As Jack was working with it, his finger accidentally poked through the middle of his clay lump. “Hey, that’s what she did,” remarked Jack, pointing at the Hepworth. In a few minutes, Jack had done this:

Jack's sculpture

Maria and I turned to each other and knew that we wanted the kids to sketch the Hepworth as well. We decided to introduce yet another new medium, charcoal. Most of the children started their sketches with pencil, and then added shading and coloring with the charcoal. What a happy mess!

class sketches Hepworth sculpture William sketches sculpture charcoal sketch Lukecharcoal renderings

Naturally, we couldn’t resist trying sculpting (and eating) with chocolate:

Harleaux and Levi sculpt chocolate chocolate sculptures

We also did sand sculpting and even pancake sculpting! The idea of learning about quadrangles organically lead us to so many new, enriching experiences.

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