Kinetic Dura-Lar Sculpture – Lesson Plan

(♪♪♪) JULIE:
Kinetic sculpture
is art in motion. Early in the 20th century,
artists began creating works that relied on mechanics,
or the forces of nature, to provide movement
to their sculptures. You’re probably all familiar
with the delicate hanging mobiles of
Alexander Calder. I’m Julie Davis
from Blick Art Materials, and I have a lesson plan
for you today that will attract students
to the abstract as they create their own
hanging kinetic sculptures, made of a lightweight
polyester material. The movement is
rather delicate, just like that of a mobile, and one of the most
interesting things about these sculptures
is that they’re constructed without any glue,
without any tape. It’s a simple
tab and slit construction that holds them together. They can be disassembled
and reassembled at will. Let’s start with
a sketch, shall we? In its most basic form, the sculpture is
constructed this way. There is a base piece to which a number of
vertical hanging pieces are attached, so this example here
with the straight lines is the most
basic demonstration, but that’s kind of boring,
so I have another sketch that provides more of
a free form, fluid look. This will make a much
more interesting sculpture, but it’s basically
the same construction. Here’s the base, and here are
the vertical hanging pieces. You’ll notice that
I designed the pieces so that they are right next
to one another. That will conserve materials
so less will go to waste. Okay, once we have our sketch,
let’s talk about that tab and slit construction,
shall we? This is what we’re
basically talking about. These are the vertical pieces, and the tab is created by
forming a narrow neck piece that then widens out again
at the very top there. These are examples of ways
that a tab could be created with your vertical
hanging pieces, so going back to our sketch,
let’s take a look. This area right here
at the top of this vertical hanging piece could easily be adapted
into a tab shape. Now the base of course will not need to have
any tabs to it. Coming back over
to this side, this piece right here
could also easily be worked into a tab. Another piece might need
a little bit more work, but we can form a tab
pretty easily there too, and you would continue
creating tabs on all of your pieces. Now we’re ready to transfer
our sketch to the Dura-Lar. Dura-Lar is a polyester film. It’s an acetate alternative
that doesn’t yellow or harden with age. It’s available in a single sheet
or on the roll, so you can cut it down to
about any size you’d like. I probably wouldn’t go
any smaller than this for a sculpture
project like this. In fact, they’d be really
effective a lot larger, but this is about
a 12 inch by 24 inch piece. It’s available in
a lot of different weights, but we’re using
the lightest weight today. This is .003 inches, because we want to get
the most movement possible with these sculptures. Now, to transfer my sketch, I’m going to be using
a Sharpie Paint Marker. These are an
oil-based paint marker, so you want to make sure that
you don’t get any of it on your clothing. You can see they just flow
right on to the slick surface of the Dura-Lar. Now I would continue to
go ahead and to trace my entire sketch, but I do have a piece
over here that’s already transferred,
so let’s move that over. Alright, now it’s time to
start painting the piece. Now you could cut each
of these pieces apart, and paint them individually, but I just find that it’s
much quicker and easier to go ahead
and paint them while they’re all in
one piece like this. Okay. We’re using Blickrylic
Economy Acrylics today. They’re a student grade
acrylic paint, so they’re very fluid,
very very easy to work with. Some of the colours
are very transparent. Some of them
are very opaque. I find it’s fun to use
a combination of both in these sculptures. If a paint isn’t transparent
you can make it even more so by using a
polymer gloss medium. Now polymer gloss medium
looks white when it comes out
of the bottle, but it dries
perfectly clear. Basically, it’s acrylic paint that doesn’t have
any colour in it, so you can mix this
polymer medium with the acrylic paint… one part paint to about
six parts polymer medium, and you get some very nice
transparencies like that. You may even want to
leave pieces of your sculpture completely transparent. After we’ve finished
painting this whole piece, we set it aside
and allow it to dry, and then cut the pieces out. I just happen to have
some dry pieces over here. Alright. This is our base. Now the first thing
you’ll want to do is determine which
will be the top side of your base and hole punch it
like I’ve done here. Next, we want to determine
which piece we want to attach to the sculpture first. As you see, there’s
the tab end right there, so let’s create
a slit in the base. To do this, we’re going to
position our tab and put a tiny little dot
on either side. Once again, with our
permanent marker. Then take the base,
make a gentle fold right in the middle
of those two dots. Take your scissors and cut
right between them like that. Come back to
your hanging piece, roll the tab, insert it into the slot
and allow it to open up on the other side. Now it’s attached,
but as you see it has plenty of
free movement to it. From here,
you’d go ahead and attach
the rest of the pieces. A couple of hints,
I might add, in designing
your sculptures. Don’t make all of your tabs
in the same direction. Have some
diagonally, vertically, attach some pieces
to the back, so that you have pieces
hanging off the front, and hanging off
the back as well. You don’t even need to put
all of the pieces on the base. Attach some of the pieces
to each other. As you can see, this would add
great depth to your sculpture. Okay, well that’s
the finished project, and then you would have a completed kinetic
Dura-Lar sculpture. These could be
placed outside, if you’d like. I would recommend that you
spray them with a UV coating, and put them
in a place where they don’t receive
direct sunlight. If you’re interested in
a complete materials list, look at the PDF
available on our website. You’ll also find some more
photographs there, and complete instructions, including the national standards
for visual arts education that are related
to this project. Thanks for joining us. See you soon. (♪♪♪) Captioned by GigEcast

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