Welcome back to our bi monthly Kids Get Arty project! This month we looked at Joan Miró and in particularly Joan Miró’s sculptures. It was inspired by a visit to The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, who had a small Joan Miró sculpture that the kids and I adored. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to take a photo of it and I couldn’t find it whilst trawling the internet. I think it was called “Small Blue Man” and it was a cute spherical figure. We haven’t really looked at sculpture much in our Kids Get Arty journey and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity for us to work with clay.
If you are looking for more or previous art projects, take a look at: 30 Art Projects for Kids and 25 Art Projects for Toddlers and if you need to books to help you, we have over 20 Art Books for Kids to inspire.
Joan Miró - Catalan Spanish Painter, Sculpture and Print Maker 1893 – 1983
Joan Miró is best known for his surrealist paintings - symbolic, poetic, vibrant and often colourful. Our focus however is on his sculptures, which he focused on later in his life, in the 1960s and 70s. Sculpture was a way for Miró to bring his 2 dimensional work to life.
“Miró produced around 400 sculptures and a similar number of ceramic works, the majority concentrated within the later part of his career. The artist viewed sculpture as equally important to his practice as painting although it was generally less known and critically examined. From his initial exploration of collage and assembled sculpture around 1930, sculpture became increasingly central, most notably from the 1960s to his death in 1983.” Source YSP
As we didn’t have a photograph of our original Joan Miró Small Blue Man, we looked online to see more of his work. The kids liked:
Courtesy of YSP (Yorkshire Sculpture Park)
Joan Miró, Projet pour un Monument, Painted Bronze,1979
Courtesy of YSP (Yorkshire Sculpture Park)
Joan Miró, Personnage, Bronze Sculpture, 1970
If the kids had seen Personnage in real life they would have loved it even more… as if you see it from the side, it has, ahem, well you know, the something protruding of it. Which quite clearly fascinates 3 and 5yrs olds. It also has a rather “nice bum”. Again. This would have had the kids in hysterics.
Is that making fun of art?
Or is that letting kids enjoy it at their level? I say, let kids enjoy art which ever way pleases them. And if they think it is funny, so be it. The main thing is that that they are getting an emotional reaction from the piece of artwork. That they are discussing it and that they remember it.
We decided to have a go at working with Clay. Of course Joan Miro’s sculptures are NOT made of clay and we had a discussion around that too. I found this little (somewhat boring for a 5yrs old, but informative) video of how you make bronze sculptures.
To our Joan Miró for Kids project:
We used air drying clay – as it is something you can easily get hold of and use in the home or the class room. My kids are only 3yrs (just short of 4) and 5.5yrs. So they are still quite young. And air drying clay is difficult for them to use. However, they LOVE using it and I think it is a great opportunity for them to learn about it’s properties. What works well, what doesn’t work so well. Learning about how you have to take care “when joining” different parts.
If you want to have a go at this project and you find your kids are having difficulties, why not try Plasticine? or FIMO (a polymer clay you can bake in the oven)? Though I would urge you to try clay as it is a great arty experience for kids.
Some tips for using clay with children:
* Use modelling tools if you have any. This is particularly helpful for joins – where you need to smooth over the different sections of your scultpure. We also used the ends of chop sticks (for the eyes) and coffee stirrers
* Have a small bowl of water handy, to help keep your clay moist. We also smoothed down any cracks by running our wetted finger tips over different areas.
* Similarly have a rag handy for drying your fingers.
* Keep your sculptures small, clay is quite heavy and you may have breaking or toppling figures if you are joining parts together.
* We used toothpicks to help help join different sections together.
* Your clay sculptures are that – a sculpture and not a toy…. my kids LOVE playing with what they have made, but clay IS fragile, so take care. Heads HAVE rolled. And the old PVA glue has had to come to rescue.
Our Clay Joan Miró Sculptures
The children decided to make sculptures based on “basic shapes”: spheres, cylinders, cubes and cuboid. Great bit of maths practice there! Clearly I helped them shape. But Red Ted made another 2 figures (not shown here) and each time, I encouraged him to do more and more himself.
They loved molding the clay and experimenting.
I helped with the joining – we made marks on both pieces at the join, made the clay wet and pressed together. Then using one our modelling tools, smoothed the edges to help support the join. On the second 2 sculptures we added toothpicks to help support the join.
I rather like their sculptures in the “raw”. Can you see what the kids’ eyes were inspired by?
Once finished, Red Ted, started drawing his sculptures and designing what colours he would use (I love this part, I thought it was totally adorable). And then drew additional characters, which we then later made. Say “Aaaaaaaawwwww!”. I love how much he LOVED the projects.
Once fully dried, the children painted their sculpture in vibrant acrylic colours. I love Red Ted’s “design process” and that we got to talk about how artists plan their work and often make many many sketches before they make or paint something.
So.. now it is your chance! We would love to see what Great Artists you have been exploring with your kids and how you approached your arty projects! Come link up.
Disclaimer: by joining the Kids Get Arty linky – you give us permission to highlight any projects on Red Ted Art or share your art ideas on Pintrest – we will always link to your site! If you have been arty with your kid’s please link up!