Fireflies: An Out-of-the-Box Masterpiece and Response         

Mar 18, 2013

An Out-of-the-Box Masterpiece and Response

Most artists think out of the box; Louise Nevelson, our featured artist, thinks out of the box within the box!    This intriguing maze of "boxes" is filled with layers of textures and forms that make you want to take a closer look!  Wouldn't it be fun to be a little mouse and climb around inside and check out all the nooks and crannies in this piece?  It is called "Dawn's Wedding Chapel II."   

Discussion Questions:
  • What is a wedding chapel?
    (It's a place where you get married.)
  • Looking at the name of this art piece, "Dawn's Wedding Chapel II," why do you think she chose one color, and, in particular, this color? 
    (The color is white/off-white which is the color most brides wear.  It is
    one color to show unity, like the unity in marriage where the two become one.)
  • When you look at how the "boxes" are balanced, does it feel good to you, like the you are confident the boxes are going to stay "put" and not topple over?  
    (Yes!  It has a feel of
    formality in its balance. Weddings are often very formal.)
  • Do you think if you divided this sculpture down the middle each side would be equal? (No, not exactly equal like a mirror image, but it IS equal around the outside shape.)

A Fireflies' Visual Response to
Nevelson's Dawn's Wedding Chapel II
Want make your own Louise Nevelson inspired sculpture?  Let's give it a try!

Here is what you will need:
  • One (1) recycle bin full of "stuff"  -- including Two (2) egg cartons!
  • Some adhesive to glue the egg cartons and "stuff" together
  • Spray Paint - white, off-white, silver, grey, whatever you have on hand -- you just need a single color
  • "Woodsies" popsicle sticks and various shapes
  • Tooth picks
  • Scissors
  I LOVE glue dots for this project! Please, please please let your kids use them! 
Kids love that they can glue, like hot glue but cold, all by themselves!

It took me a while to gather all the "stuff" and figure out how to put it all together. 
Then, I cut...
With the help of a little curious furry friend...  
Next it's time to glue dot or tape it all together ...
See how the base is the top of an 18-ct egg crate?  The rest is just parts of a regular styrofoam egg crate and a take-out tray,  all from the trash!  Gotta love to recycle!
 Checking it out with the computer image:
Once you get the pieces cut, let children tape the sections where they want after looking at the picture of Louise Nevelson's "Dawn's Wedding Chapel II" and see what they come up with.  It doesn't have to be perfect; they may come up with something entirely different!
Have children peel the glue dots from the sheet and stick on the end of popsicle stick, "woodsies," toothpicks and other recycled "stuff" to finish their sculpture.
You can even cut the popsicle sticks.
Snipping and glue-dotting, put recycled "stuff" and woodsies in layers in the boxes until you're happy with the outcome.  Time to spray paint!

Here's the sample finished project:
Isn't this cool? Can you see the bird on the left, sitting on top of the toilet paper roll?
Just had to put my own "signature" in there just for fun.  I cut him out of a box that was in the trash. What will you add to make it "yours?"
"I always wanted to show the world that art is everywhere,
except it has to pass through a creative mind.”—Louise Nevelson

Have fun learning about Louise Nevelson, enjoy recycling, and letting your little ones glue-dot "stuff" everywhere till the cows come home!  You will teach them to think out of the box within the box!

Who is Louise Nevelson?   
Our artist was born on September 23, 1899, in Pereyaslav near Kiev, Russia.  When she was 6 years old, her family moved to the United States where her dad established a lumber business, building and selling houses.  She studied voice, drama, and art in college.  She worked as an extra in films in Berlin and Vienna.  She traveled in Europe and eventually became an assistant to Diego Rivera, helping with his famous mural for The New Workers’ School, New York.  She studied sculpture as well and much of her work is done in wood like the one above.  Being that her father worked with wood, isn't it interesting that her sculptures were often in wood?

For older students, see my post at:
Love and blessings,

Laura Bird Miller, Artist/Art Instructor

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