Subject: Form and balance
Activity: Toothpick sculptures
Materials: Play dough and toothpicks
Vocabulary: Gravity and balance
You can make a sculpture out of almost anything. Artist Nancy Rubins uses everyday things like toasters, hairdryers, and even playground equipment. In Monochrome for Austin she used canoes and boats.
Can you guess how many canoes and boats she used?
If you could make a sculpture out of anything, what would you choose?
Why do you think Nancy Rubins used boats and canoes?
Pinch off pieces of play dough about the size of small marshmallows and roll them into balls. Stick a toothpick into a play-dough ball. Now stick another ball on the other end and add another toothpick. Try constructing a pyramid out of toothpicks by using the play-dough balls to connect the toothpicks. Now use your imagination to build your own sculpture.
Nancy Rubins used 70 canoes and small boats to make this sculpture.
See how each boat is attached in Nancy Rubins’ sculpture. What is holding the sculpture in place? Gravity is always pulling things down to earth. When you are building your toothpick sculptures, try to think of the best way to keep them from falling.
Gravity - Force that holds everything to the ground and causes things to fall toward the ground
Balance - An equal distribution of weight so that structures will stand
Mark di Suvero, Clock Knot
David Hare, The Swan’s Dream of Leda
Peter Reginato, Kingfish