Sculpture: Inside/Outside

The instructional objective underlying this piece is essentially orientation. Speech, fine motor skills, desensitization of hands and choice making are secondary goals. Student artists are provided with blown up balloons, they are then asked to use hands and eyes to investigate and choose several different balloons. Once chosen, students are assisted in taping balloons together in whatever way they find pleasing. The taping process affords instructor and students the opportunity to discuss the concept of around: “I will hold the long, skinny balloon and the fat, round balloon together for you. Wrap the tape around the balloons to make them stay together the way you want them to.”

After balloons are taped together securely, artists are given strips of Paris Craft* and containers of water. Students are instructed to dip strips in water, getting them completely wet, and then wrapping them, again, around the balloons. Students are asked to wrap the balloons with the Paris Craft strips in whatever way they see fit, but are warned not to cover the balloons completely. There must be parts of the balloons that have no plaster on them whatsoever. The strips of Paris Craft that do exist on top of the balloons must be layered 3-4 strips thick.

Once plaster has dried, balloons are popped and removed from interior of Paris Craft* sculpture along with residual tape. The student now possesses a sculpture with multiple openings, a discernable inside and outside. It is helpful at this stage to have students use their hands to locate both the inside and the outside of the sculpture. Once students have identified (hopefully verbalizing as well) the two different locations of their sculptures, they then go on to paper mache only the outside of the sculpture and to paint only the inside.

When paper mache and paint have dried, students must make a choice: provided with various small objects to select from, students are instructed to glue chosen objects either on the inside or the outside of the sculpture. Once this inside vs. outside decision has been made, students must be encouraged to attempt to stick with their choice.


*Paris Craft is strips of fabric treated with inactivated plaster. Available in any art supply store.

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