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Seal Floating on a Bed of Waves by Josie Papialook

Bear Spirit green stone in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario

Level: Junior, Middle School, High School
Grades: 3-12 | Age: 8 and up | Written by: Written by: Pat Higgins
[Pat is a teacher from Kittery Pt. Maine]

The first thing you want to do is look at a variety of Inuit Sculpture. Do some research on Inuit artists and the type of work they do. Some names to look for: Miki, George Arluk, Kongaseretook (also known as Elijah Kuppaq), Pudlo and Josie Papialook.

What You Need:
What You Do:
  1. Begin with a block of clay, approx 5" x 6" by 4".
  2. Talk about what constitutes a sculpture and the fact that it is 3-dimensional. It has width, height, length.
  3. Next, talk about using the subtractive method of sculpting. This is taking away the negative space to leave a form.
  4. Create drawings from every angle on the clay. Subjects could be seals, dolphins, polar bear, rabbits, turtles etc.
  5. Pull clay away and never add pieces to the block.
  6. Next, model with your hands, pushing and pulling until an animal appears. Remember that Inuit sculpture is a smooth simple form without a lot of detail.
  7. The last step is to smooth with water and add small detail with a stylus, sharp stick or pencil point the basic lines for eyes, claws, etc.
  8. Exhibit the work when complete.
"We used a Mexican Marblex self-hardening clay that does not have to be fired. The sculptures we did were very impressive."

-Pat Higgins

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