Paper Planar Sculpture - A Play on Scale

Do you remember those Elements and Principles of Design that your art teacher referred to countless times while in grade school? The Elements being the basic parts to each artwork and how we choose to arrange them by using the principles of design. For example:

Take Line for instance. It all begins with a dot. *boink* Dot! And if you were to drag that dot along any path, you get a Line. A line can be in any direction, width, angle, and each line has it’s own personality.
Now take that Line and Spread it out - Almost like spreading a line of peanut butter onto a whole piece of toast. Yum. When your line is flattened out like this, you have a plane.

So picture this plane as a flat sheet of paper. A blank canvas. Two dimensional, flat, and a bit boring. In a drawing class you may spend time drawing objects and using value (shading) to give and illusion of a third dimension.
In Sculpture class, we take that plane and bend it. Cut it. Twist and turn it. The sculptor becomes a manipulator of planes and space. The planar sculpture is born, and with careful consideration of the Positive and Negative spaces, this sculpture, in the round, can be quite appealing to the eye. Not so boring.
Here’s a visual of my talk about using Exacto Knives safely, and my exhilarating demonstration of cutting paper and/or scoring the paper to give it a path to be folded. Students were then given a sheet of card stock as their initial Plane to manipulate.

Some Essential Questions for the students:

How does a sculptor design a Three Dimentional Artwork considering the negative space to be as intriguing as the positive space?
How can Scale change the purpose and or meaning of a sculpture?
How are planar sculptures used in Public as a Site Specific art work that could be interacted with?


So here’s the fun part:

After experimenting with the card stock - cutting, and scoring, and positioning the elements - I have students take their sculpture and put it upside down. Then put it on it’s side. Look at it from an angle where it could be coming out of a wall. Maybe see what it could look like if the sculpture hung from the ceiling. How can this change of perspective enhance the work?

Then we took some magazines and I had students cut out people of all different sizes. With these little people, the students could explore the issue of Scale with their sculpture. How can the purpose or use of the work change when it is at this scale:

Or maybe at this scale?

It was interesting to watch the students explore the differences in scale as they placed one cut out of a human and compared it to another. Taking photos could really enhance these ideas and allow students to discuss where they could envision the sculpture going as a finished product. A gallery piece that sits upon a pedestal? A tiny toy that fit in your pocket or a structure that could be climbed onto or sat on.

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