Sculptures at Home: #4 John Baldessari

Sculptures at Home: #4 John Baldessari

 

For this recreation we move away from the “sculpture” of the title in true Baldessari style. John Baldessari is considered a forerunner of conceptual art in the 1960s, his work spanned across the latter decades of the 20th Century and into the early part of the 21st Century. The majority of his long life was spent in California were he taught at CalArts.

This project takes inspiration from his 1970s photo based works, which are seen as key in the development of appropriation art and other practises that address the social and cultural impact of mass media. His work explores language, both written and visual, questioning the very nature of communication. Using humour to disarm the viewer, Baldessari seeks to challenge the way which we receive and interpret information. There’s always variations within each series of his works, he wasn’t concerned with creating a singular masterpiece but exploring an idea in multiple ways. 

The work were recreating is Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line (Best of Thirty-Six Attempts) (1973), the works plays with the medium that captures it. They allude the lexical promise of the work’s title, instead the images themselves have a musical quality, like points of notation, or some kind of graphic score set in the Californian blue skies. An improvisation that’s been selected and edited by the photographer. The seemingly absurd and random acts of throwing balls into the air uses the comedic to point to the tragic absurdities of life’s accumulations. 

You’ll need: 

  • 3 balls, any type will do
  • A public park, your street, your garden, anywhere with a little space and a view of the sky. 
  • Something to take the photos with.

 

  1. Find a good spot where you can capture the balls in flight. 
  2. Throw the balls in the air. 
  3. Take the photo … 36 times.

Sculptures at Home: #3 Andy Goldsworthy

Sculptures at Home: #3 Andy Goldsworthy

Sculptures at Home give you a chance to make your own artworks with materials that are commonly found at home. You can make them on your own, or with your family, pals, kids, pets, neighbours or anyone else you might be sharing your home with during these unprecedented times.

Andy Goldsworthy is a British artist known for his site-specific installations involving natural materials and the passage of time. Working as both sculptor and photographer, Goldsworthy crafts his installations out of rocks, ice, leaves, or branches, cognizant that the landscape will change, then carefully documents the ephemeral collaborations with nature through photography. “It’s not about art,” he has explained. “It’s just about life and the need to understand that a lot of things in life do not last.”

The materials used in Andy Goldsworthy’s art often include brightly coloured flowers, icicles, leaves, mud, pinecones, snow, stone, twigs, and thorns. He has been quoted as saying, “I think it’s incredibly brave to be working with flowers and leaves and petals. But I have to: I can’t edit the materials I work with. My remit is to work with nature as a whole.”

How To:

Use natural materials found in your garden, out on your daily walk, or leftovers from fruit/vegetables. Use these to make a simple pattern, shape or arrangement. Think about the repetition of shapes or the sorting into types or colours.

Like Goldsworthy, your pieces can be as simple or as complicated as you like. Check out our attempts below!

Photograph your finished piece – as it might not last! #sculpturesathome #spgathome

Sculptures at Home: #2 Louise Nevelson

Sculptures at Home: #2 Louise Nevelson

Photos (l-r) by G. R. Christmas, © ADAGP, Paris. and Lynn Gilbert.

 

Sculptures at Home give you a chance to make your own artworks with materials that are commonly found at home. You can make them on your own, or with your family, pals, kids, pets, neighbours or anyone else you might be sharing your home with during these unprecedented times.

For our second sculpture, we’re going to look at an artist who used a method called assemblage to make her artwork. Assemblage is a form of sculpture that’s created by collecting together found objects and arranging them in such a way that they produce a new meaning and become a new object. These objects can be made from anything you find around you, even items that are in the bin. For example, artists from the arte povera movement, made amazing artworks from everyday materials including, dirt, rags and sticks. They wanted to challenge and disrupt the commercial contemporary gallery system by creating art from the debris of contemporary life.

About the artist:

Louise Nevelson is an important figure in 20th-century sculpture, she’s known for her monumental, monochromatic wooden wall pieces. Nevelson grew up playing with scraps and offcuts from a timber yard near her home and later used wooden objects that she gathered from urban debris piles to create her monumental installations.

Nevelson carefully arranged objects in order to use the discarded to create new narratives. The stories told by them are the result of her life and experiences – as a Jewish child relocated to America from Ukraine, as an artist in the USA and Germany, and as a successful female artist working within the male-dominated realm of the New York gallery system.

Photo by Alabama Chanin

 

 

When you make your sculptures, use materials that you find in your surroundings. For our sculpture we looked in our bins. Helping us think about how much we discard and the transformational role that art can have. 

How to:

Can you find beauty in your bin? Time to rummage around and find your objects to use. You’ll need something like a shoe box or a cereal box to use as your frame. Nevelson often stacked these frames or boxes on top of each other, so these sculptures are ideal for making with other people or doing multiple times by yourself. You could also use something circular to hang as a wall piece when completed

You’ll need: 
  • Box/frame – shoe box, cereal box, or another type of box.
  • Bits and bobs – items from the bin or around the house that no longer have any use. Look for interesting shapes. We used some egg shells, cans, nails, and other odds and ends. 
  • Papier mache
    • Flour
    • Water
    • Mixing bowl
    • Spoon
  • Paint – the thicker the better.

 

  1. Collect your items together. Cut open your box to make a frame to place your other objects into. 

 

2. Make the papier mache. 

Mix one part flour with one part of water (eg, 1 cup flour  and 1 cup water, or 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water) until you get a thick glue-like consistency. Add a bit more water if it’s too thick.

Mix well with a spoon to get rid of all the lumps.  If you find you are getting lumps in your glue, you can use a small kitchen electric mixer to whizz them out. Add a few tablespoons of salt to the final mixture to help prevent mold.

Notes:
  • You need to use strips of newspaper only, or even paper tissues or towels.
  • Let the newspaper strips soak in the paper mache glue a little before using.
  • Cover your artwork with only 2-3 layers, then let dry completely. This is an important step.
  • Once a layer is dry you can add 2-3 more layers, remembering to let each layer dry before adding the next one.
  • The final layer can be plain paper – so it’s easier to paint – but use the thinnest paper possible and make sure it’s soaked well in the paper mache glue.

 

 

3. After your items have dried. Try assembling them in different ways until you find a composition or relationship between them that you’re happy with. Think about building up layers of shapes and textures, like background, middle ground and foreground. Notice some of the techniques that Nevelson incorporated for guidance.

 4. Papier mache these items into the box. This will make your sculpture stronger and make it look more like a whole. Allow to dry.

5.  Paint your box. Nevelson used monochromatic colours, but really you could paint them your favourite colour. We went true to Nevelson and used some left over white emulsion paint.

 

Your sculpture is complete, you can stack and stick them together or you can make a wall hanging one like me did. if you put your sculpture with someone else’s, stacking them together in a similar way to Nevelson, what do they represent about you  and how do the different arrangements differ from person to person? 

Don’t forget to tag your sculptures: #sculpturesathome #spgathome

 

 

Sculptures at Home: #1 Lubaina Himid

Sculptures at Home: #1 Lubaina Himid

Sculptures at Home give you a chance to make your own artworks with materials that are commonly found at home. You can make them on your own, or with your family, pals, kids, pets, neighbours or anyone else you might be sharing your home with during these unprecedented times. 

The series will feature some key artists across the ages, looking at different styles and methods. We begin our series with the amazing Lubaina Himid.

photo by Katherine Anne Rose

About the artist:

Himid’s work celebrates Black creativity and the people of the African diaspora. Her artwork sometimes incorporates cut-out life size figures, giving each figure a name and story to rally against the sense of a powerless mass. She uses the material of everyday life, like newspapers or tableware, in order to explore Black identity. 

For this Sculpture at Home, we’ll be giving guidance on how to create a sculpture in a similar style to her seminal work Naming the Money. We encourage you to think of people from your life, heritage, experiences and history to represent in your sculptures. For example, we created a sculpture of one of our favourite NHS worker Luis.

photos by Stuart Whipps (l) and Chatsworth House (r)

How to:

The size of this sculpture is totally dependant on you, you can make them life-size or pocket size, it just depends on the amount of card you have. But please consider your scale or size before you start.

You’ll need:
  • Cardboard
  • Pipe cleaner/wire/stick/double folded cardboard
  • Paint – whatever type you have at home. 
  • A base – it could be anything relatively flat, boxy and sturdy. 
  • Tape – any kind. 
  • Thick pen – or any pen that will show up on the card you’ve chosen. 
  • Pencil, ruler, glue and scissors.

Collect your materials together. Draw a draft version of the figure before you start, you’ll be able to visualise what they will look like and plan your sculpture. 

Draw the outline of your figure on the card with the thick pen or pencil. Paint your figure and bring them to life.

Cut out your figure. Attach your figure to the pipe cleaner, stick, or folded cardboard.

Pierce a hole through your base and attach the wire to the bottom of it and tape it down. If you can’t do that, then just stick the wire or supporting stick to your base with tape.

Ta da! You can add some additional textures and motifs by using newspapers, packaging, loose buttons, or some other items you might find in your recycling bin. We added a trim to Luis’ collar from some crisp packets. Find a spot for your sculpture and encourage others to add to the scene with interpretations and stories of their own.

 

… a big thank you to Luis and his fellow NHS workers!