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Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Visual Arts Idea File

Grades:

6-8

Idea File:

Sand Casting

Ed Hamilton


Students create a low-relief sculpture using the sand-casting technique.

Resource:

Metal Sculpture: Ed Hamilton

Teaching Concepts:

  • Casting is a process that has been used for thousands of years to create sculptures out of bronze and other materials.
  • Sand casting is another example of the casting process.

Academic Content

  • Visual Art: principles of design (pattern, balance), art processes and materials (three-dimensional, metal, sand)

Lesson Idea

Additional Resources: the “Sand: Damon Farmer” video on Spectrum of Art and examples of cast sculptures on the Kentucky Virtual Art Museum CD-ROM

Art Activity: Directions for students: Gather together several objects that have simple shapes, such as seashells, bottle caps, cookie cutters, spoons, etc. Fill a wood, plastic, or cardboard box one-third full of damp sand. Smooth the surface of the sand. Carefully press the different objects into the sand to make an interesting design or pattern. Then mix plaster of Paris according to the package directions and until it begins to thicken. Slowly pour the plaster into the impressions in the sand; the plaster should be between one-half inch and one inch thick. Burlap can be applied to the top of the plaster until it begins to soak through. When the plaster is completely dry, lift the casting away from the sand. Gently brush away the excess sand with a stiff-bristled brush.

View and Discuss: The two video segments. Ask: Which of the two artists profiled used a casting technique? Discuss the similarities and differences between the two artists, their materials, and their processes. Compare their processes, techniques, and ideas to the sand casting created in class.

Expand: Have students search the Kentucky Virtual Art Museum to find sculptures that were cast. Ask: How can you tell these sculptures were cast? What process do you think the artist employed in order to make the sculpture?

Author: Adapted from a lesson by Bonnie Peugeot

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