>From: SUSAN STEVENS [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
>I have received a donation of styrofoam....it is about
>2 feet, by 3 feet, and 1/2 inch thick. It is smooth, but not like a
>meat tray smooth. The white styrofoam seems to be composed of little
>'pellets'. It was an over purchase from a stamp/scrapbooking store -
>apparently very expensive. I have 20 or so sheets of this.?
>I teach grade 9 - 12 visual arts....but nothing comes to mind for using
>this product. I had originally thought of doing a print, using a pencil
>into the styrofoam (like the meat tray prints), but it's consistently
>will not allow for clean lines.
>Some sort of sculpture with senior students? Any other ideas? The
>styrofoam is white, and apparently takes paint very well. I assume
>spray-paint would work also.
Several things come to mind.
1. PAINTINGS. Seal it with gesso or water base flat wall paint and use it to paint on. Most spray paint or oil paint solvents will dissolve styrofoam unless it is protected first.
2. PRINTS. For printing, avoid lines. Try poking it down with a ball point or pencil to make pointillist highlights.
2. SCULPTURE. Both free standing sculpture and relief work comes to mind. It can be cut with sharp box cutter knives, utility knives, a band saw, or with a hot wire (probably toxic fumes). Assemble sculpture with white glue and tape. The tape can be removed the next day.
I might browse the drywall tape department of a building supply store for various texturing materials for walls with which to coat the completed styrofoam pieces. An assortment of dowel rods to combine with the styrofoam shapes could facilitate planar-linear constructions and relief compositions with negative positive interplay. Wheels would be fun.
I would Google the images of Louise Nevelson and Moholy-Nagy to tickle my own thinking about the kind of questions to ask and compositional choices to pose in order to get them thinking and experimenting. I might requiring a concept such as IMAGES or SHAPES in MOTION by using repetition with variation. I would not show the Nevelson and Nagy work until after they had developed their ideas and completed their pieces. This would facilitate an art history and composition discussion to build on their own creative work.
Currently, there is a David Smith show at the Guggenheim. In today's art world I suspect we would find more figurative work, animals, symbols, and so on.