This semester, we’ve had another opportunity to use an ARTistic Pursuits Inc. curriculum for our art lessons!
Via the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we received Sculpture Technique Model from ARTistic Pursuits Inc. to use and review. With the different ARTistic Pursuits books we’ve used over the years, Jackson and I have been constantly exposed to new art media and projects, many of which were completely unfamiliar to us when we started the various curricula. This time was no exception!
What is ARTistic Pursuits Inc.?
ARTistic Pursuits Inc. produces art lessons which any homeschooler (whether she thinks she’s artistically inclined or not) can use to teach art to her children. Their books cover a variety of artists, art techniques, and projects for students from preschool age through high school. We’ve actually used their books before, and reviewed their Middle School 6-8, Volume 2: Color and Composition and Sculpture Technique: Construct for the Crew. This time, Jackson was most interested in trying out the Sculpture Technique Model, and we were quite thrilled to be selected to review it!
Sculpture Technique Model is designed to be taught over the course of a year to homeschool students of varying ages, working with a parent. Students learn and experience the techniques of modeling in art, in the following three units:
- “Creating Mass with Putty”
- “Creating Scale with Clay”
- “Creating Surface with Fiber”
Units first define the subject matter covered in them, and show some real-life examples of that type of art. Then, author Brenda Ellis describes the materials (the art medium and tools) used as well as necessary safety instructions. Directions on how to work with the medium are then covered. Then, the fun begins! In each unit, numerous project ideas and plans are offered, with materials lists, step-by-step instructions, and photos of various steps and finished projects. (You do have to purchase materials separately for each of the manuals.)
Jackson selected “Unit 3: Creating Surface with Fiber” to work on. It was completely unlike any art projects we’ve ever done. And we loved it!
In “Creating Surface with Fiber,” students create a number of different sculptures (both 2D and 3D) with wool roving by “felting.” Wool roving is wool from a sheep (or alpaca, etc.) that has been “cleaned, carded, dyed, and gathered into long strips (p. 50, Sculpture Technique Model).” The strips are then either sold in a roll or in a small package (you can see examples of those rolls in the banner at the top of this post). The wool roving is ideal for felting, because you’re able to use it to make sheets of felt, or sculptures, with it.
And what is “felting”? Felting is simply when you take wool roving (while the wool is still in the long strips) and turn it into felt or felt shapes. You can do this with sharp barbed needles especially made for felting, which is called “needle felting.” Or, you can do what’s called “wet felting,” where you use hot soapy water, bubble wrap, and friction to create design and shape with the felt. We have a needle set for felting, but we stuck with wet felting for now just because neither of us had any experience whatsoever with felting, and I wanted us to gain some good practice and skills with wet felting before we progressed to using tiny sharp objects! 🙂
And gain experience we did! Jackson selected the projects we worked on. I did the shopping for the materials. Then, we did the work together to create the various projects. Each one took about an hour to complete. We’d leave them out overnight to dry, then the next morning they would be completely dry and ready to display.
We both found the process completely enjoyable! The wool texture was pleasant to work with. Because each piece took about an hour of rolling, pressing, and squeezing, Jackson and I took turns (for example, we’d each work on the wool for about 5 minutes at a time, then we’d trade off). That was great because neither of us got tired of doing it. It provided time for pleasant conversation, and we really enjoyed working together. Jackson particularly enjoyed it; he said it was “awesome!”
Each project had very clear step-by-step instructions and photos or drawings, which was so helpful since we’d never done any felting. The stocking was a bit easier to complete, simply because it was a flat creation and the vase was 3D. We’ll probably make another vase in the future, just because now we’ve done it once and know a little more experientially about how to make it.
I also appreciated that Brenda Ellis included several color wheels in this unit. It’s so helpful to know which colors might work well together in a sculpture, and why.
We definitely recommend Sculpture Technique Model to you! In fact, I think that of all the ARTistic Pursuits books we’ve used, this one is my favorite. It introduced us beautifully to the world of fabric sculpture. And, it has much more in the book (like the units on putty and clay creations) that we still can do! (Not to mention the extra projects when I’m brave enough to try the needle felting!)
You may purchase Sculpture Technique Model from ARTistic Pursuits Inc.. Definitely take a moment to look at all the other ARTistic Pursuits books available at the company website. And, you can also learn more of those books which were reviewed by other Schoolhouse Review Crew members by clicking on the banner below!