Over the years we've worked with found materials in the Studio many times and witnessed sculptures go from piles of stuff to thoughtful, creative arrangements. Below are five different building techniques to consider the next time you and your child are playing with blocks or your students are making sculptures using found materials.
These techniques are adapted from Block Building for Children, by Lester Walker, and paired with examples created by Studio staff. In chapter two of his book, Walker cites an essay called "The Art of Block Building" by the founder and director of the City and Country School in New York City, Harriet M. Johnson. Ms. Johnson's research found similarities in the way young children worked with blocks during independent play. What type of structures do your children/students tend to build? Have you noticed a change in your children's independent block play as they grow older?
Rows: a repetition of materials in a line
Towers: a repetition of one thing on top of another, building up from the bottom
Patterns: designs arranged by repeating a material or style
Columns and Beams: beams can support heavy loads like a wall, roof, or road. Columns are the vertical posts that usually support beams.
Spaces: materials arranged to create an enclosure