Deborah Butterfield For Younger Children

Silhouette of horse sculpture



Deborah Butterfield

American, born 1949

Subject: Assembly

Activity: Create an animal out of found materials

Materials: Small box lid, glue, pipe cleaners, putty, outdoors objects, paint

Vocabulary: Artist, assembly, materials, sculpture, shape, vermillion


Explain to your child that some artists create sculptures by combining different pieces that work together. This is called assembly. This artist made her horse by using assembly. She placed different pieces together in order to make the shape of a horse and then painted it vermillion.


Can you tell what materials the artist used to make this horse?

How did the artist change the materials? How did she make them stick together?

Can you identify the different parts of the horse?

Why did she name her horse Vermillion?


Ask the child to look at the posture of the horse and consider what it is doing. Is it active or resting? Is it happy or sad? Note that even though this sculpture is made out of junk, it is still expressive. 


Find straw, sticks, leaves, stones, pinecones, and other outdoor objects. Ask the child to imagine an animal that he or she would like to make. Use the box lid as a base and help the child assemble the pieces to resemble the animal. Shift the position of the eyes, mouth, and limbs to convey different expressions and activities.


Artist - someone who makes things, such as paintings and sculptures

Assemblage - a work of art made from combining many different things

Materials - the things an artist needs to do artwork, such as paint

Sculpture - a work of art that has height, width, and depth

Shape - an outline of a body, like a circle or square

Vermillion - bright red color