Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Beaded Wire Sculptures

It is critical to provide children many avenues for creative self expression and allow opportunities for exploration with various mediums.  While our students have engaged in numerous art activities throughout the course of their years in the classroom, one medium not yet explored is wire - specifically creating structures or sculptures.  To that end, a new art lesson was recently introduced to the children and added to the art shelf as an option during our Montessori mornings:

Beaded Wire Sculpture:  Box with lengths of gold and silver craft wire; tray with bowl for filling with beads (beads are in the bowl behind the tray); black paper for mounting.
The children have been enthralled making various shapes, loops, and structures as they sculpt their creations.  I also wanted to document the children's thoughts on their work and had them dictate a story or what they thought about the sculpture.  These were recorded, printed, and added to the display.  Here is just a sampling:

These displays have stopped parents, visitors, and children in the hallway to admire the work with smiles on their faces.  A glimpse into a child's world = priceless!


  1. Sasha, I don't know if this is imposing on your or not…if so, I apologize!

    I would LOVE to see how you have decided to display this project in the hallway. Also, would you consider showing us how your art shelf is set up? I'm curious to see how many projects you have going at a time. How you determine placement…is this a shelf that you don't worry about left to right/easier to more difficult?

    Also, in regards to displaying works at all…in my training it's been underlined to not display works, that Maria did not encourage this as she wanted the children to focus on process not product. I, personally, feel that displaying the work as an honorable conclusion to the efforts. Obviously you do too. Would you mind elaborating on this point?

  2. No problem, Heather. The wire sculptures are displayed similarly to previous projects. There is a photo at the bottom of the following post that shows how we usually display the children's work in the hallway:


    Your question about the art shelf is great - perhaps I'll dedicate a post to that in the future… We have two (large) shelves for art. The top shelf always has (in this order from left to right) art appreciation cards, play dough or clay, color mixing, paper cutting, and pin pushing. These can vary in color, etc and follow our current studies - pin pushing the shape of Antarctica for example. The bottom shelf is where we change things up most often and where one can find materials for lessons such as this beaded wire project. They too, are placed on the shelf from left to right, easiest to more difficult (as best as I can given certain constraints of tray size, etc.). Right now, the bottom shelf contains an open-ended drawing activity with chalk pastels, penguin drawing (see this post: http://tothelesson.blogspot.com/2014/01/how-to-draw-penguin.html ), and the beaded wire lesson. Occasionally, the shelves will be full and we'll set up a stationary table for a specific project (like the Antarctica Sand Map).

    Ah yes - to display or not display???!!! I understand and agree with Montessori's notion of focusing on process over product. I also know that most children enjoy seeing their work up on the wall. Additionally, I have experienced that displaying children's art work initiates ongoing, open conversation between parents, children, and other adults. We do have a few children who would rather take home their artwork than have it on the wall. Usually, they take the first one home and the next one ends up staying at school for the hallway.

  3. Thank you for the response, Sasha! I know you are so busy and I truly appreciate your time.

    As to a follow up thought on displaying or not displaying the work. You know, I have to think that what Maria was getting at was not singling out by way of displaying what we think as a perfect example. If we are hanging them all up, and the children see and hear us modeling an appreciation of all…we are not pointing out surface perfection(even though we want the children to have an inner directive to their own perfection.). And as you said, children that wish to take their work home can, of course!!

    We are asking them to also learn refined skills such as appreciation, offering praise to others, maybe even over coming shyness in some children as they receive accolades from others. We are providing an means to practice courtesy by gazing at their own Art Gallery as they would in a real one…making kind remarks, not touching the work, whatever the case may be.

    And, as a final thought, do we not offer examples of art and literature from the great masters? Well, a child that works at his best to create something of their own is a great master to me. And so I will be displaying as well. I just think this is such a source of positive outcomes.

    Again, thank you for your time!