Archive for the ‘sculpture’ Category


This creative project is a resource from Access Art. My art students really enjoyed making these. We began by experimenting with drawing inks, seeing what efffects could be achieved by creating washes, blending and mixing colours. Since we did this project just before the summer holidays, we kept to the same Access Art theme, which was ‘The Seaside’.

Students had fun practising drawing beach and seaside related things with the inks, creating some beautiful illustrations.

This project really engaged the children, we had an interesting discussion about what a bowl is, and for this particular art activity, a bowl didn’t have to be a traditional food recepticle. The wave bowls were constructed using equilateral triangles, and grew organically as the were glued together.



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Brilliant Makers Club

Student with her ant eater sculpture inspired by the Roald Dahl poem The Ant Eater


September 13th 2016 saw the celebration of 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl, so I thought it would be a nice idea to create a project based around his poetry book ‘Dirty Beasts’ and a great opportunity to look at the illustrations by Quentin Blake.


Plasticine modelmaking inspired by Roald Dahl poems

Sharon Gale reading Dirty Beasts by Roald Dahl to her art club students


The finished artwork would be a sculpture inspired by the ghastly beasts mentioned in the poems, positioned on a plinth decorated with marbled paper and mixed media.

This particular project incorporates observational drawing, illustration, modelling with Newplast, marbling inks and mixed media. It was carried out over seven, one hour sessions.

Accessart have a wonderful resource titled ‘Quentin Blake’s Drawing as Inspiration!’. I began my first session with this resource introducing my students to the work of Quentin Blake and how he captures the quirkiness of so many of Roald’s characters. I acted as the model whilst the children had to draw me first as a continuous line drawing, and secondly as a series of straight lines (drawn in time to me slapping the floor).


Plasticine models inspired by the book ‘Dirty Beasts’ by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake

Illustration of Sharon Gale by a student, using lines drawn in time to a beat


This exercise was quite tough for some children, who found it difficult to draw using a technique that was taking them out of their comfort zone. Even so, the children enjoyed the experience of being in the school hall, choosing where would be a good angle to draw the me (the model) from.

Over the next couple of sessions the students studied Quentin Blake illustrations from books and created their own characters which they were able to paint.



Next we had a session using marbling inks. These decorated papers were to be used to part decorate the cardboard plinths. Using shallow trays filled with water, small amounts of marbling ink was dropped on the water; a toothpick dragged through the water allows the ink to separate and form pretty patterns. Too much ink made for a muddy messy saturated print, so less is more with marbling inks! Paper (pre-cut to fit inside the tray) was placed on the floating inks, you can see the ink soak into the paper, so, after a few seconds it was lifted to reveal the marbling effect. The prints were left to one side to dry. This activity can be messy, so it’s worth covering the work area with newspaper and make sure you have a separate area for drying prints.


Plasticine models inspired by the book ‘Dirty Beasts’ by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake

Marbling ink patterns being made by dragging a toothpick through the oily ink

Plasticine models inspired by the book ‘Dirty Beasts’ by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake

Marbling ink papers for use with decorating the plinths


In the following lesson the children modelled their illustrated characters with Newplast, this is the superb modelling plasticine used by Aardman Animations. Once the students had chosen their colours, I handed out a palm sized amount for them to soften. It’s important to warm up the plasticine in your hands first before trying to sculpt from it.

Another tip is to make sure you have plenty of wet wipes to hand. Whenever you handle a different colour, it’s important to have clean hands as the strong colours can transfer onto each other. For example, if you modelled black plasticine then modelled yellow without clean hands, the black would make the yellow go a dirty yellow colour.


Plasticine models inspired by the book ‘Dirty Beasts’ by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake

Student adding texture to his model


At this point I tried to remind the children about exploring the character of their model, remembering how Quentin Blake exaggerated the features of his characters in his illustrations.


Plasticine models inspired by the book ‘Dirty Beasts’ by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake

Sharon Gale advising a young art club student


For the final part of the project, the children had to decorate a plinth/base suitable for their character to be displayed on. I had pre-cut thick corrugated card into circles approximately 15cms diameter.  Using their marbling paper, construction materials (such as wooden sticks, pipe cleaners, cardboard tubes etc) and their imaginations the students could create an environment fit for their plasticine models. The children really enjoyed this activity of creating little habitats. Some students engaged problem solving skills when their ideas were too complicated or big and need to be simplified.



This was an interesting project incorporating lots of different techniques and materials, the variety made it exciting but also challenging. The age range in my group is 5-11 years, it is evident that the older children were aware of the Quentin Blake link to their sculptures whereas this was soon forgotten with the younger ones.  Most importantly, fun was had by all!

Many thanks to Nux Photography who visited the Art Cabin and took a few snaps for me.



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Gromit model making day

Jim from Aardman Studios holding Gromit

Last Wednesday I was invited by my local primary school (where the Art Cabin is based) to be part of a very special day.

Aardman Studios, the creators of Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run, Morph and Timmy Time to name a few, sent over one of their highly skilled model makers (Jim) to show us how Gromit is made.

After a talk about model making, we were all given the correct amount of Newplast to make our very own Gromit. Jim took us through the making process stage by stage, so we were all making our models at the same time. Since I was making one too, I don’t have photos of the step by step stage (perhaps something to blog about in the future).

Part way through the day we also had an unexpected visit from ‘Wallace & Gromit’, as you can imagine the children were thrilled!

The nursery children didn’t miss out either, they made Morph’s friend Chas (which was less complicated than Gromit).

Each and every Gromit that was made developed it’s own personality & character; by the end of the day there were many wonderful & fun dogs to admire.

Oh, and if you’re wondering why Aardman Studios paid a visit to this little Hertfordshire village school, it’s because they won a Herts Catering competition!

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Miro project

Getting the arrangement just right


This super Miro project incorporated a game, drawing, collage, construction, modroc, painting and composition. We worked on it over a period of nine 1 hour sessions.

Miro project

A lovely book to introduce children to the art of Miro.


After an introduction and discussion about Miro and his work, we played the ‘Roll A Miro’ game, you can find many print-outs on Pinterest. I used the ones from Once Upon an Art Room and Pinterest. Children roll the dice and the number rolled tallies up with a shape, the students eventually build up their Miro image. I have to say this game went down really well.

Miro project

Playing the ‘Roll A Miro’ game.


Next the students cut coloured card to create a large collage of shapes, this activity is credited to AccessArt. Once the collages were complete, I read a nonsensical poem pitched at different sound levels (that was interesting!). The children had to draw over their collage in response to the words and sounds with a black felt tip pen.

Miro project

Creating the Miro inspired collages


To show the children how the same set of painting directions could lead to many variations, I devised a quick painting session. I read out half a dozen actions, for instance:-

  1. Paint two yellow circles.
  2. Paint two red lines from one side of your paper to the other.
  3. Paint three blue wavey lines touching the red lines etc….

The students loved this activity and the enthusiam for painting did lead to some children painting more shapes/lines than necessary. But hey, we were having a good time!

Miro project

A Miro inspired painting.


After a talk on shapes (regular & irregular). It was time to plan the sculptures.

The brief was to create two large shapes from cardboard. One shape from clay (although some children made more as it would be asthetically pleasing to their design idea). Up to six small wooden sticks or two cut lengths 1cm x 1cm wood.

Each child had a white mountboard plinth to arrange their sculpture on.

To make the large sculptural elements, the students cut two pairs of different shaped card. To create depth, two small pieces of bubble wrap were sandwiched between the cardboard and taped in place. The cardboard shape was completedly covered in masking tape, ready for modroc-ing.


The Modroc was cut into small strips, a single piece of Modroc was then dipped in water and carefully placed onto the cardboard shape. To activate the plaster and cover the bandage, the Modroc had to be gently smoothed with a finger.


Once the Modroc had dried and the students had made their small clay sculptures, the painting could begin.


It was great fun getting the students to think about how their final sculpture’s elements should be arranged. Trying different placements to create a pleasing balance. I was very impressed how the students approached this part of the project, all their hard work was coming together and they wanted to get it right. All the elements were glued in position using either PVA or a hot glue gun (which I was in charge of for safety reasons).


Here are the finished sculptures. As a last minute thought, I asked the students to title their sculptures.

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Student creating a cardboard sculpture

A Place To Put All These Things – A spontaneously growing piece of cardboard architecture.

Last half term I visited the University of Hertfordshire to take part in a free workshop open to the public. Called ‘Participatory Interventions’, the event was organised and facilitated by artist Aaron Head. The idea was that you created structures with cardboard, glue & tape to form an ever evolving art installation. Whether you stayed 10 minutes or 4 hours (like I did), your creative cardboard sculpture was part of a growing piece of architecture. Aaron had also sourced & printed off many images that could be cut up and applied to your own sculpture to add a personal narrative. I couldn’t stay to the very end, but apparently the printed images were preloaded onto a DVD, then projected onto the cardboard art installation for all to see.

I thouroughly enjoyed my few hours of making, I got totally engrossed constructing my sculpture, hopefully the Uni will commission some more free art days in the near future.

For more info about upcoming events at the Gallery and Campus click here.


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Normally my art clubs are tailored towards children, but when the ‘Transformation Project’ appeared on AccessArt, I decided to facilitate a workshop for adults in my local community based in Hertfordshire. I received a mixed box of One Button and LouLouFrou.com buttons and jewellery from AccessArt with the aim of incorporating them into mixed media sculptures.
Luckily I have quite a lot of ‘matter’, ‘stuff’, ‘rubbish’ that I keep in stock for collage and sculpture projects, along with tools like pliers, wire cutters, glue gun & craft knives.
When setting up for the workshop, I decided to arrange the studio in to three different areas, one for selecting materials, one for cutting/glueing and one for making (the jewellery/beads & buttons were set up in the centre of the making table to make it easy for picking & choosing).
To help my students get started I printed out a list of key words that would help them think about shape, size and texture. I also showed them the examples on the Accessart website. Students had to overcome problems such keeping sculptures upright, keeping things in place and making something aesthetically pleasing.
I’m pleased to say that the students were happy with their creations and feedback suggests that everyone enjoyed the challenge.

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Paper maché bowls

This project is quite a long one, it has many different stages but is really worth while. Firstly I made a large amount of paper pulp (mixing torn up bits of paper with water and blending it to a fine mush). I did demonstrate to the children how to do this but since you need a food blender this was strictly adults work.

The work stations were set up with the paper-making equipment (vat of water, deckle, couching cloths & bowl for the armature).

The children made a sheet of paper which they moulded over the bowl. Once dried the children could decide whether to trim the edges down. The bowls were painted bright colours and influenced by Mexican bowl designs (well most of them!) A varnish of PVA glue was added for protection and 2 holes drilled either side at the top of the bowl with a Dremmel.

At this stage the children set aside the bowls to concentrate on making polymer clay beads. They learnt about making ‘canes’ with 3 different clay colours which were sliced thinly to cover a small ball of clay (we used Fimo). Holes were poked through the beads with a toothpick, onced baked, they were threaded onto the bowls and fixed in place with crimps (jewellery findings). Any left over beads were made into bracelets using stretchy jewellery elastic.

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