Direct Carving

Direct Carving

A lesson plan inspired by the work of sculptors using the carving process in their work including, Dawn Rowland, Constantin Brancusi, Henry Moore, Henri Guardier-Brzeska and Barbara Hepworth.

Key Stage:

KS2,3&4 Art and Design


A lesson plan inspired by the work of sculptor Dawn Rowland
This lesson can be used:
-to develop drawing skills and use of sketchbooks to develop ideas
-to produce creative work, exploring their ideas
-evaluate and analyse creative works

<b>Direct Carving</b>

Direct Carving

Direct Carving is an approach to making sculpture from wood or stone in which the final form is not fully planned before the start. Previously artists had made 'maquettes' (French word for scale model) to work out exactly how the finished sculpture would look. Some commentators say this approach was introduced by artist Constantin Brancusi from about 1906.
<b>Constantin Brancusi</b>

Constantin Brancusi

Brancusi was one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th-century and seen by some as the father of modern sculpture. As a child he showed skill in carving wooden farm tools. He worked briefly in the studio of famous sculptor Auguste Rodin. It was after leaving Rodin's workshop that Brancusi began developing the revolutionary style for which he is known. He began to work towards abstracted, non-literal representation, and tried to show "not the outer form but the idea, the essence of things." He also began doing more carving and by 1908 he worked almost exclusively by carving.
<b>Constantin Brancusi: His work</b>

Constantin Brancusi: His work

In re-introducing direct carving Brancusi had a big influence on other notable sculptors including Jacob Epstein, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. Closely linked to direct carving was the idea of truth to materials. This meant that the artist respected the nature of the material, usually stone or wood. Surfaces were kept uncluttered by detail in order to show off the material itself, and were often carefully polished to enhance the colour and markings. The results were often abstract. This image of Brancusi's work shows the abstract forms that dominated his sculpture until his death.

Direct carver Dawn Rowland

Dawn is a stone carver working in London today. She is proud of being part of a tradition of stone carving that goes back to ancient times. Her work is not as abstracted as Brancusi or Barbara Hepworth but she has in common the polishing of the stone to enhance the colour and emphasise the quality of the material. Showing off the beauty of the stone is important to her work.
A longer version of this film is in the CultureStreet Art channel Dawn Rowland

How does stone carving work?

The carving process goes back to ancient times but how does it work? Watch the short video about the stone carving process several times and then task the students to find an object that is made using carving in or around the classroom. It is highly likely they will not find a single object that was produced by carving. If carving has been a popular technique for artists for so long why are there so few objects made by this process? Then get the group to discuss what are the advantages and disadvantages of using stone carving as a sculpture technique. Finally discuss if the students think there still be stone carvers working in 100 years?

Development Activity:

There are a number of other resources on CultureStreet around different sculpture techniques.
Casting into Bronze explains the complicated process by which many sculptures are made.
Soft Wax Sculpture demonstrates the technique of modelling in wax on an armature as used by Edgar Degas.
Clay sculpture on an armature looks at modelling with clay rather than wax and if you are looking for a more basic sculpture workshop then our Clay pinch Pot workshop is the place to start.
There are also lesson plan resources on sculptors using carving Henry Moore and Henri Guardier-Brzeska as well as lots of films about a wide range of sculptors in our Art Channel

Learning Objectives:

Through using this lesson plan students should:
-Develop ideas through investigations, demonstrating critical understanding of sources.
-learn about the history of art, craft, design and architecture, including periods, styles and major movements from ancient times up to the present day.
-use a range of techniques to record their observations in sketchbooks, journals and other media as a basis for exploring their ideas
-analyse and evaluate their own work, and that of others, in order to strengthen the visual impact or applications of their work. In addition know and understand how sources inspire the development of ideas. For example, drawing on: the work and approaches of artists, craftspeople or designers from contemporary and/or historical contexts, periods, societies and cultures

Research, Notes and Links:

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