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Three-Dimensional Art Adventures: 36 Creative, Artist-Inspired Projects in Sculpture, Ceramics, Textiles, and More Review by Melanie Reynolds

Maja Pitamic and Jill Laidlaw
Chicago Review Press
(312) 337-0747
814 North Franklin Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610

Are you someone who’s looking for unusual or imaginative ways to bring art instruction into your homeschool? With Three-Dimensional Art Adventures, I’ve found the resource to do just that! This beautifully illustrated book is perfect for both the novice homeschooler and the experienced art teacher, in the classroom or at home. The 7 ¼” x 8 ¾” softcover book is brimming with art projects that can easily be created by young artists (ages 6 and up) from elementary grades through high school.

The 36 projects in this book are divided into different movements or categories of three-dimensional art; Early Sculpture, Modern Sculpture, Installation, Ceramics, Collage, and Textiles. Students are first introduced to an artist and one of his or her creations in vivid photographs, and learn a brief overview of its movement and design. Then, the authors present two projects connected to each piece of art that students can make themselves. Other resources in the book include biographies of each artist, definitions of art terms, and art tips.

In Three-Dimensional Art Adventures, students will revisit some well-known artists like Donatello and Picasso. However, they’ll also be exposed to some less familiar yet still fascinating artists, such as sculptors Umberto Boccioni and Rachel Whitehead; Russian textile designer Nina Shirokova; collage artist Juan Gris; and others. The creations of these artists range from small sculptures and ceramic designs, to woven and painted fabrics, to enormous outdoor and indoor installations that visitors can actually walk through. Experiencing the art in this book will truly expand and broaden what students perceive as art, even as they embark on the art projects themselves.

These projects are colorful, intriguing, and quite varied, as are the skills the students will learn as they complete their own art. They are not only projects the students will enjoy; they’re quite intriguing for the teacher as well, as both journey through the book and encounter the more familiar to the lesser-known, yet equally wonderful works of the art world. Authors Pitamic and Laidlaw take the 18 works of art presented, and provide two fun and interesting projects for the student. Each of these includes: a photograph of the finished student project; a list of materials needed (these must be purchased and do not come with the book); clear step-by-step instructions; and photos of each step of the process. These 36 projects will engage and delight students, as they do printmaking from a clay carving; weave a Cubist-inspired tapestry; create collages from rolled paper; mold a 3D action figure of wire and clay; and much more. Beautiful, colorful, exciting art! (In fact, I believe that teachers are going to want to create these alongside their students!)

I found Three-Dimensional Art Adventures to be one of the most engaging, exciting and user-friendly art books that I’ve ever used. It’s not only a great resource for teaching art, it’s an absolutely gorgeous book that is a pleasure to view. (I’ve actually spent many hours thumbing through the pages already!) While it’s not an art curriculum per se, it could easily be utilized to teach a unit study or even a one-year course on three-dimensional art; with 36 art projects derived from 18 artists and works of art, one could easily complete one project per week, and an artist study every two weeks. The artists and the artworks themselves presented in this book are not ones that we’re used to seeing, and the projects themselves are both fascinating to create and not terribly expensive, in terms of the different art materials required. They’re also equally as appropriate for elementary art as well as early high school art. It’s a fantastic resource, and one I highly recommend!

-Product review by Melanie Reynolds, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September, 2016