Monday, July 29, 2013


I led a two-week workshop for kids ages 9-12 called “Mammoth, Monstrous, Massive Sculptures.” During this time we created large scale sculptures made out of low-tech materials like cardboard and paint. We then brought the sculpture to life by using our bodies to control them. During the first week, I had the students create a series of smaller sculptures to help familiarize themselves with the materials and ideas.

During the first shorter exercise, I had each student bring in an small object then asked them to replicate that object five or ten times its original size using cardboard, tape and paint. We installed these objects in the Mattress Factory Garden and the kids were excited to see their large objects in a new context. The next project centered around the concept of “Ephemeral.” We discussed the definition of ephemeral then I showed them examples of Ephemeral Art. I broke them into teams of 3-4 and gave them one day to create an ephemeral experiences using cardboard and paper. This exercise went wonderfully and I was excited to see how well they understood and internalized this concept. We had a spirited discussion after each of the teams presented their final project.

The last week of the workshop was spent working on two large-scale interactive sculptures. We brainstormed ideas for what we wanted to become as a group and quickly decided to make two projects. One team called “Team Iceburgh” made a giant iceberg out of cardboard, tape and paint. Each part of the structure was made to fit one of the students so they could all be a part of the overall structure. In order to give the illusion that it was melting, they all moved in unison with each other and slowly knelt down to create the illusion the melting ice. The second team was called “Pencil Plan” and they created a large box of colored pencils that they inhabited. Each person was clad in a costume that resembled a colored pencil. The costumes were quite creative as they involved a hat with a tip that could be pressed down to mimic the dulling of a pencil’s lead. The kids acted out a skit where they ran out of the box, dulled themselves by drawing and then had to return to the box to get sharpened.

Both projects were a huge success. I was amazed at how well the kids worked together to bring their ideas to life in such a short time.

--John Peña

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