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Sculpture Technique: Construct Review by Heather Aliano

Brenda Ellis
ARTistic Pursuits
303 467 0504
2626 East 109th Avenue
Northglenn Colorado 80233

Artistic Pursuits has been a favorite in our family for years. It is no surprise to me that Sculpture Technique: Construct, the second of the Sculpture Techniques books is also a hit with my children.

Artistic Pursuits works for us because of the easy-to-follow layout and interesting lessons. Each lesson begins with an overview of the technique. For example, in unit two, your children will learn about planes, and then move on to a project dealing with board construction. They’ll do a two dimensional project, and then they’ll learn how to use planes to create forms, and construct three-dimensional projects.

This curriculum includes lessons in papermaking, cardboard construction, papier-mâché and wire working, and as well as covering form, planes, motion and volume. This course is intended for middle school students, and I found that recommendation to be spot on. My younger children wanted to follow along, but my oldest child had the most success with this program.

What makes this program special (and why you want to wait for your child to be the correct age for this particular book) is the step-by-step instructions that allow your child to take ownership of their art instruction. You’ll still want to supervise, but my middle school child was able to gather all his supplies and work through the lessons using the picture guides to complete the assignments.

I love art, but I also love how this freed me up to focus on other things while my child was able to explore the lessons and develop his creativity without me interfering with the process.

While this curriculum is easy to follow, it is also complete. This is the real deal- there is no glossing over concepts or sacrificing technique for ease here. The vocabulary included is impressive, and each element of art is well explained.

After each unit, an evaluation is included. The evaluations are a wonderful tool for you to have a conversation with your child about the techniques. For example, you may ask your child to explain to you which parts of their sculpture imply or show motion, and then dig a little deeper to see how you can display the sculpture to show more motion, if you could hang it, or if it needs to stand (and if so, how do you accomplish that?). The conversation and questions are very well done and I believe they elevate the curriculum to the next level by asking the child to think about their art and connect the concepts to the projects in a meaningful way.

Of course, the program is just plain fun as well. My kids loved exploring with the different materials and textures. They made a bit of a mess while making paper, and loved squishing the papier-mâché to build animals and forms and whatever their imagination came up with.

I loved watching them learn- In the unit on planes, the student ultimately puts together all the information they have learned to create architectural models. We were able to dig in deeper and learn how these art concepts are used in a variety of occupations. My art loving kids were especially interested in how they could use art on the job for the rest of their lives.

Anything that sparks a fire in my kids is a winner in my house! Sculpture Technique: Construct is a new favorite, and we highly recommend it.

-Product review by Heather Aliano, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2016.