They've been getting on really well with some plaster carving over the past couple of sessions. I wasn't sure initially, as it is quite a tough and physically demanding material to use, but, fingers crossed, all is going well so far and the students don't seem too bothered about the slow, gradual process involved!
We have already completed a lot of work around the theme of Natural Forms: drawing, wire sculpture, card construction, clay, paper mache etc, so for this piece they are simply playing and exploring the geometric forms I've given them.
We started by spending a lesson just knocking the corners and square edges off. Following this, we are now carving more aggressively, creating holes, voids and major indentations through the forms. I've been trying to encourage them to have lines, shapes and details flowing across the surface, corners and edges, linking different parts of the sculpture together visually. They have also been asked to consider the base of the piece - how it meets the floor to create a sense of weight or lightness.
One practical tip which has helped is dipping the sculptures briefly in water at the start of each lesson, before beginning to carve. This seems to be helping to soften the surface and is making progress much MUCH easier!