I assured students that I wasn't
going to hang their practice draw-
ings or show them to anyone, and
that they would gain skill through
experience. By the end of the period,
the paper-covered tables were filled
with a moving, jumping swarm of
energetically drawn silhouettes. Now
that students were comfortable draw-
ing people, they were ready to tackle
Creating Figure Sculptures
I asked each student to create a pair
of figures that interacted with each
other to tell a story. Each miniature
person was created using three pipe
cleaners wrapped in tin foil. One pipe
cleaner was bent to create the legs,
a second pipe cleaner was wrapped
around to form the body, and a third
was snaked through the shoulders to
create the arms.
Finally, a piece of tin foil was
wrapped around the neck to form the
head and all the joints were wrapped
with masking tape for reinforcement.
I cut pieces of canvas board on my
paper cutter to create the bases and
students secured the figures in place
using low-temperature hot-glue guns.
Students cut and dipped plaster-
coated bandages in water before
using them to wrap their sculptures.
Smaller pieces of bandage were
moistened, crumpled, sculpted, and
smoothed to create details.
Pasting and Painting
Once the sculptures were finished,
students painted them with multiple
coats of modeling paste. We found
that modeling paste worked bet-
ter than gesso to fill in the holes in
the plaster bandages and to create a
smooth painting surface. Students
finished by painting their figures
During the final critique, I showed
students the art of Alberto Giacom-
etti, George Segal, Keith Haring, and
Mark Kostabi. We discussed the ways
that students' work was similar to
and different from the works of these
famous artists. Each student wrote an
artist statement to accompany his or
Middle-school student Eliana
Beauchamps wrote, "George Segal's
work reminds me of my sculpture
because he sculpts realistic people
moving but his [art] is life-sized. I like
how I made the girl in the air. I would
love to try to make the bodies more
Rachel Wintemberg is an art teacher at
Samuel E. Shull School in Perth Amboy,
New Jersey. rachelhw1966 @ gmail.com
N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D
Creating: Conceiving and developing
new artistic ideas and work.
W E B L I N K
After completing a unit on
figure and movement, it
seemed onl atural to ask
m tudents to translate
those skills into sculpture.
Top: Jonathan, grade eight. Bottom: Natalia, grade eight.
Top: Leslie, grade eight. Bottom: Ashley, grade eight.