That was the problem posed to students in Sculpture 1; create an assemblage sculpture that communicates something autobiographical from found/junk/recycled objects. Going through old boxes of toys, junk drawers, rummage sales, thrift stores, and dumpsters, students brought in a diverse collection of objects that were generally ignored and discarded but full of potential. Now came the difficult part; composing these unique items into a cohesive and structurally sound work of art.
Through thumbnail sketches, students proposed different ideas, and we engaged in a discussion about the meaning behind the objects and potential problems with the physical creation of the work. Each sculpture came equipped with specific challenges (some more than others), and our class quickly became a whirl wind of saws buzzing, drills whirling, wax melting, and hot glue wafting. To an Art teacher, these sounds and smells signal something welcomed and exciting – CREATION! Another enthralling sound came from the discussion students had with one another about the direction of their sculpture, the problems they were encountering, and potential solutions for these problems. Assemblage sculptures rarely follow a simple plan, and students were required to reflect on their progress and make alterations when necessary. For some students, plan “A” was not feasible, so they quickly adopted a plan “B,” “C,” and even “D.” While these sculptures vary greatly in appearance, they were all created with careful consideration for craftsmanship, composition, and content.
Overall, every student in Sculpture 1 created a unique and personal piece of art that was created from objects that were forgotten, discarded, or on a one way journey to the junk yard. In our disposable society it is important that we all make a concerted effort to minimize our environmental impact and maximize the potential of everything we use. So, the next time you are ready for a new cell phone, have no use for that old kitchen utensil, or find an aesthetically pleasing soda can, consider creating your own assemblage sculpture. The objects will appreciate their new lease on life, the environment will thank you, and your creative soul will thank you as well.