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Re: Calder faces


From: Bunki Kramer (bkramer_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Feb 27 2001 - 17:57:44 PST

from: Bunki Kramer (
Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Road
Danville, CA 94526

> I have decided to do a lesson on Calder and have the students make wire
> portraits. If you have done this project maybe you could give me a few
> pointers? How much wire do you give the students and do they use various
> kinds of wire. What do you grade? I really would appreciate any help.
> Thanks Robin

Funny you should mention this because I've been thinking about something
similar. We finished our self-portraits...hope to get them up on our webpage
soon but it's all up to the tech lady who's sick this week...and was
planning to use our portraits done on 12x18 paper as a template to begin the
faces. They will just lay their wire down on the paper following the
outline...blah, blah...then start working the 3-D aspect in with the
features. I saw something briefly this past October at the CAEA (CA) as a
sample but there was no lesson given. The gal said she gave each student 10'
of medium silver wire (SAX and not that expensive) and had thinner copper
wire to add as hair, etc. The sample was started at the base of the neck,
then around the head into the features, and came back to the neck. Both ends
were tucked into a block of wood making a fee-standing sculpture instead of
hanging from a wire. It might be interesting to made examples of different
ways and let them choose how to do theirs...or just give them the materials
and see what develops from a self-portrait.

Also...instead of hanging or sculpture, you can staple them to black const.
paper on a bulletin board and they are dynamite looking. They can add beads
or colored wire. This particular teacher I mentioned above was doing figures
in wire and displayed this way. Some of the kids twisted the wire too much
which caused the wire to break, so she showed them how to make paper beads
(the kind you roll up with paper...long triangle) to hide the break which
was taped with masking tape (these paper beads were made out of silver/gold
paper so still had the metal-looking quality). This really added to the they added a few colored plastic beads.

For assessment I would have them write about their adventure explaining how
they solved particularly difficult problems they encountered, where they
felt they were most successful in this project, how this medium is different
from the last project, some written discussion about Calder, did they
like/not like this project and why, what was the goal and did they reach
it?, and a chance to grade themselves.