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Paintbrush Rocket | TAA! Positive & Negative Space Sculptures!
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TAA! Positive & Negative Space Sculptures!

TAA! Positive & Negative Space Sculptures!

This lesson is great for students to learn and understand the difference between POSITIVE & NEGATIVE space/shapes.  I have used the artist Henry Moore to introduce this concept, here my folder of his work and other artists from Pinterest… Negative Space Folder.

This sculpture is created with 8 pipe cleaners, plaster cloth and acrylic paint.  Simple! Once each student gets the 8 pipe cleaners, in any color, (because they will be completely covered up), I have them twist 2 together like a candy cane.  One they have 4 sets twisted together, they begin twisting them into a form like the one below.  If you are interested in making the pipe cleaners thicker, you can add foil around the entire sculpture.  I DO NOT.  I just go right to the plaster cloth.  If I was creating an armature of a figure, I would add the foil.  It is really an extra step that is not needed for this project.  Day two… we get to the plaster cloth!

Here is my organization of the project….

I like to cut the plaster cloth into 1″ strips. I have a special rotary cutter and mat for just his purpose since it can be a bit hard on those tools.  But the Fiskars Rotary tool is up to the challenge!

When I set up tables in my classroom for this mess, I like to put down something on the tables that will collect most the mess and save some time during clean up.  Newspaper, tagboard… whatever you prefer is perfect!


Tip… you probably already know this… My buddy Cassie Stephens introduced these foil sheets to me at the DOLLAR TREE!!!! A box for a dollar! No more tearing off sheets!!!! What a time saver and affordable.  Again, you don’t need it for this project, but it might be needed for other plaster cloth sculptures.

Dip the strips in warm water and wrap the whole sculpture with plaster cloth! Simple!


You do need a space for all of these to dry/set up.  Names at this phase is a bit tricky. I have students write their name on a piece of paper and set it on top.  Then when dry, I crumple the paper and tuck it inside, but them all carefully in a box.  When I pass then out, I open the crumpled paper and shout their name!


This one was created on a plastic plate.  A chinette plate would be smart, plus, names could be written on the bottom!!!! Great idea!!!! I’m stealing it! A TAA participant created this… not sure who, I would love to give her credit!

Here is a display of finished student sculptures from a few years ago.



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