Class 1's Adventures in Sculpting

As part of a yearlong investigation of abstract forms, Class 1 students are creating one-of-a-kind mixed media sculptures in the art studio through an exercise known as “Sculpture Playground.”  

During a recent class, the students used recycled pieces of cardboard to build uniquely shaped tabletop structures that would serve as their sculpture bases. As they worked, Lower School Art teacher Lauren McCarty demonstrated the importance of structural support by asking a student to hold out her arms. “Her arms will get tired after a while, but if I help to hold them up it makes it easier,” she explained.

After cutting their cardboard into various shapes, the young artists fit each piece together using slits. “Make sure every connection is strong, or your sculpture will collapse,” Ms. McCarty urged. Each student’s sculpture was completely different from the next, but all were tested for stability and strength before moving onto the next step… adding a plaster coating.

“Now it’s time to cover up the bones with a plaster skin!” Ms. McCarty exclaimed, carrying out trays of plaster strips and bowls of water and placing them on each table.

The students gathered around as their teacher demonstrated how to carefully pick up a plaster strip, dip it in a bowl of water, and wick the excess water off before gently wrapping it around the cardboard base. “After you place the plaster onto your sculpture, make sure it’s nice and smooth,” Ms. McCarty explained.

The artists got to work, each carefully ensuring every inch of her cardboard sculpture was covered evenly in plaster, creating a smooth base to be painted during later classes. “Take your time – there’s no rush here,” the teacher gently reminded her students. “You are plastering machines! We’ve got a bunch of professionals in this zone!”

As the class came to an end, the students proudly admired their art before cleaning up their workspaces. “When you come back next time your sculptures will be dry and strong!” Ms. McCarty shared. One enthusiastic student replied, “I wish I could be in art class all day!”

Browse photos from the class below: