Sunday, March 17, 2013

Be An Artist: Alexander Calder

When I introduce Alexander Calder to children I like to focus on the circus people and animals he created. He made his circus figures using wire and embellished them with ordinary items that might have been lying around his studio. Calder's circus is an important part of his body of work. This year I decided that not only would the students create their own circus figurines out of pipe cleaners and Twisteez, but they would create their own circus scene in a recycled shoe box. I began by asking the students if they had ever seen a circus. Then we discussed the things they saw at a circus. I also used a book about Calder's circus to show them images of his circus figurines. Our discussion and the visuals I provided helped spark the children's imaginations. Then I let them pick their shoe boxes. A mix of construction paper and felt in assorted colors were used to cover the brown cardboard on the inside of the box. The felt was cut into different shapes to create a circus ring, a high wire, stage curtains, and stars to fill the night sky. Although one class session was not enough time to transform the inside of the shoe box into a complete circus scene, the students are off to a good start.