Artistic Pursuits ~ Sculpture Technique Model

The following curriculum was provided by ARTistic Pursuits for the purpose of this TOS Schoolhouse Crew review. 

Whenever I do art projects with my kids, they always have fun with it. We reviewed Artistic Pursuits by Brenda Ellis my first year on the Schoolhouse Review Crew, and my oldest daughter enjoyed being able to independently work through the books and learn new art techniques so much that my husband and I purchased all of the rest of the junior high and high school books in the series. Last year when we had another opportunity to review Artistic Pursuits, my son (then 8 years old) tried Elementary 4-5 Book One: The Elements of Art and Composition which was a great fit for his level. The Sculpture Technique books are the newest additions to Artistic Pursuits' homeschool art for older children and are recommended for ages 11- 18. Before trying this art curriculumI had admired felted crafts but never attempted wool felting. The felting lessons in Sculpture Technique: Model ($47.95) provided a clear introduction and even led us to explore more options.


Artistic Pursuits sculpture review
The 83 page spiral bound art book is divided into three units: creating mass with putty, creating scale with clay, and creating surface with fiber. For this review, we concentrated on the fiber arts unit. Both wet felting and needle felting techniques were introduced. After reading the guide, my girls and I found all of the required supplies at a hobby store. The author also provided a convenient link for purchasing supplies online if desired.

Needle Felting Supplies:

felting needles and pen tool
felting mat
wool roving

Wet Felting Supplies:

wool roving
2 squeeze bottles
hot water and dish soap
bubble wrap
plastic pipe (we substituted a rolling pin) 
large rubber bands

We also decided to use cookie cutters to more easily include my nine year old son in the needle felting activities.  My girls were successful with their needle felted "mass sculptures" though the appendages were more difficult. Some of their completed projects are pictured below.


The felt unit begins with explanations about surface, color, and texture as they apply to fiber. As we were previously familiar with felting only by seeing completed projects, actually trying this art form was a completely new experience for us. I had a preconceived idea that the wool would be scratchy, but we found out that the roving was surprisingly soft. Each project in the needle felting section of this sculpture program is introduced and explained on a page with full color illustrations followed by several black and white pages containing step by step instructions with drawings.

fiber arts instruction book

This is a high school level introduction to sculpting which is designed to provide a full year course. Though my nine year old son joined us for the activities, I did not allow him free reign with the tools when unsupervised. Use your judgment with your own children. My nine year old son, fourteen year old daughter, and I all poked our fingers with the needles while creating our sculptures. The instructions are written in a way that a high school level student can follow independently. Pictures of related contemporary art are shared, and art history is briefly included in these lessons. Evaluations are provided for the student to complete at the end of each unit. Answers are also included. 

My 10th grade student's experience:
"Although you may not have most of the supplies needed for each activity available, there are quite a few tips on how to create some specific tools from things that you have around your house. We were also able to easily find things like wool roving and felting needles. 
I enjoyed being able to choose just what I wanted to make. Even though there are suggested projects, I could be creative with exactly what I made. 
The instructions in the book were very clear, with many pictures in the tutorials to show exactly how to do each new technique."

felt hummingbird wings
hummingbird and wings in progress
On the days that we first tried each new technique in the book, we spent several hours working on our projects. Once we started, it was easy to pick up and resume our sculptures with minimal set-up. I did draw the line at the kids punching the needle felting tool into their roving mass while watching tv as I was concerned about even more needle punctures. Focused attention is required for safety.

We completed the wet felting project with friends, following the instructions in the workbook step by step for making our own sheets of felt. Those instructions included black and white diagrams. Some of the kids decided on solid colors, others combined colors for a marbleized effect. 

making a felt sheet
Rolling the layers of roving was one of the last steps to create a sheet of felt.
In addition to reviewing Sculpture Technique: Model, other Schoolhouse Crew reviewers also tried the following ARTistic Pursuits books: 
Sculpture Technique: Construct
The Way They See It (Preschool) 
Early Elementary K-3, Book 1: Introduction to the Visual Arts 
Early Elementary K-3, Book 2: Stories of Artists and Their Art
Early Elementary K-3, Book 3: Modern Painting and Sculpture 
Elementary 4-5, Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition
Elementary 4-5, Book 2: Color and Composition

Artistic Pursuits review

You can reach out to ARTistic Pursuits on Facebook and the author's fiber arts board on Pinterest.

The Sculpture Technique: Model art program book provided us with a good introduction to felt structure. We were able to easily follow her instructions to create works of art. We also joined friends and tried some of the clay activities introduced in the first chapter. Read what Lynn shared at This Day Has Great Potential to learn more about Unit 1: Creating Mass with Putty, and click the banner below to read even more crew reviews of ARTistic Pursuits. 

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  1. Your felting projects are beautiful! I am impressed. :)

    1. Thanks, Debbie, they are continuing to enjoy felting.

  2. The birds are wonderful! Great projects! I guess I will have to add this ARTistic Pursuits book to my wishlist too. LOL

    1. Thanks, Kim.
      All of the ones we don/t own are on our wishlist, too.

  3. Fantastic Job! Love the birds! We'll have to see how ours turn out when we get a new felting tool...

    1. We found some felting kits on clearance at Hobby Lobby with the needles included.

  4. WoW!!! That is an amazing project! They did great. It's all so beautiful. I do love the birds :)

    1. Thanks, Anne, it was neat to watch them take shape.


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