My kids love messy arts and crafts projects. Basically anything that takes exponentially more time to clean up than to create – that’s their thing. My son, though, actually isn’t a big fan of getting his hands messy. No finger painting for him! He does, however, enjoy working with clays and molding silly putty. As long as the material doesn’t stick to his hands and make a gross texture on his fingers, he can have fun.
ARTistic Pursuits Inc. recently came out with a book, Sculpture Technique Model, that looked exactly like something my son would really enjoy, considering the fact that this book is centered around modeling, pottery, and putty! No finger painting. I asked my son if he was interested in reviewing this book with me and he was. We were excited to get started as soon as it arrived!
ARTistic Pursuits is an art curriculum geared towards use in the home, perfect for homeschoolers. Their curriculum covers art history, art techniques, art appreciation, vocabulary, and more.
The Sculpture Technique Model book by ARTistic Pursuits contains 12 polished projects and is designed for students between ages 11-18. This is definitely not a book for little tikes. There’s some difficult and complicated stuff in here!
The book is divided into three units. Unit one is about creating mass with putty, unit two is about creating scale with clay, and unit three is about creating surface with fiber. Throughout the book, students learn about different art terms such as mass, additive, subtractive, modeled, static, form, dynamic mass, scale and so much more. Students also learn about different techniques and methods of creating something from a lump of mass. For example, in unit two, while working with clay, my son learned about the pinch method, the slab method, and the coil method. Lots of neat stuff that we hadn’t ever covered before.
You will need to purchase art supplies in order to complete the projects in this curriculum. A list of the items you’ll need are listed on page three of the book. I found all the items we needed on Amazon. Love my Amazon… I did not purchase the supplies needed for unit three because I didn’t think we would get to that portion during the review and we didn’t.
I purchased Durham’s Rock Hard Water Putty, Amaco Marbelex Grey Clay, and an acrylic paint set. We already owned the paintbrushes, gesso, and other items from other art studies. Some of the items needed for unit two seemed unnecessary and costly, so instead of using fancy clay cutters and serrated scraper tools, I used plastic forks and knives and we made do. Some household items you might also need include masking tape, newspaper, disposable plastic cups and utensils, wax paper, and measuring cups.
Usage and Thoughts
We cracked open our Sculpture Technique Model book to unit one and began our art studies at the beginning of the book, although I think you can actually skip around and do projects in any order you please.
The lessons/projects in this book are pretty involved, so you won’t always be able to complete a project in a day. In fact, I don’t think we ever completed an entire project in one day. Because many projects require drying time, projects can take up to a week or more to complete.
My son, 11, and I worked through this curriculum together. I would read the lesson to my son and then we worked together, step-by-step, on each project. The lessons have rich information on the elements of sculpture. My son was introduced to a variety of artistic concepts throughout the study. I think these concepts stuck a lot better when my son could see the concept come alive through his project!
Since each unit features a different material, we learned about how these different materials work and how they differ from each other. The step-by-step illustrations throughout each lesson were very helpful as we progressed through each project.
My son loves hands-on activities and this curriculum was no exception. He enjoyed working with the different materials and learning about each one. The only part he really didn’t care for was the putty projects in the first unit. He was bothered by the smell, although I really didn’t notice anything, and the texture, hence the latex gloves in the photos.
Honestly, I have to say I wasn’t a fan of the projects in unit one either. I like art to be safe for my kids. I don’t want to deal with hazardous materials. The book did state that caution should be used when working with Durham’s Rock Hard water putty but not to the extent of the cautions on the can. The book said to be careful not to injest the putty, avoid rubbing the eyes, and not to let the powder get into the air. The warnings on the container were different in that they advised wearing proper eye protection and a dust respirator when working with the product. The mere act of mixing water into the putty created little poofs of dust to rise in the air, so I took the stuff outside and put on my best hazmat suit, as seen below. Not exactly my cup of tea. We found the putty difficult to work with, too, as it hardened before we could finish forming it.
All this to say…this art curriculum isn’t for the faint of heart. This art curriculum requires a great deal of parental involvement. You definitely can’t present the lesson to your child and then walk away.
Unit two was much more our style. We much preferred working with the clay over the putty and enjoyed those activities so much more. If I use this curriculum again with my daughter I think I’ll just skip unit one altogether and jump into unit two.
Unit three was all about needle felting. We didn’t get to that portion during our review but it does look like so much fun. The projects in unit three include making birds, vases, three-dimensional flowers, and four legged animals. I can’t wait until we get to this section!
We did enjoy the educational projects in this book and as long as you are not opposed to becoming a “hazmat mommy” in unit one, <grins> you’ll probably have a lot of fun with this book and learn a lot along the way.