Making is Hard

When children are working on a sculpture project it’s common to hear complaints. My fingers hurt (bending wire). It keeps falling over (trying to get a piece of sculpture to balance). It’s not working out.

These are all valid frustrations. Making sculpture IS frustrating. Our heads are full of ideas and dreams, and then we pick up some tools and materials and realise they don’t quite cooperate, and it’s not as easy as we had hoped.

Manipulating and reforming the physical world is a challenge. There is resistance between us and the materials we use. We might lack practice at using certain tools. There is a reality check between our ideas which are hard to pin down, and the brutal reality of the materials we are working with. And when we “make”, we often “don’t know” what it is we are making and not knowing what you are doing whilst makings something which everyone can see is a brave thing to do.

And the less time we spend on these kinds of activities: activities where we exercise the muscles in our fingers which help us make, activities which develop the coordination between hand and eye, activities which build our confidence in being able to manipulate the world so that it matches the thing in our heads, then the harder and more frustrating it is.

So yes, let’s acknowledge these frustrations when children complain. They are right to complain – it IS hard. But, the bigger message is: You’re not finding it hard because you CAN’T do it – you’re finding it hard because you ARE doing it.
Making is Hard, Image by Tobi Muewissen for AccessArt


This is a sample of a resource created by UK Charity AccessArt. We have over 1100 resources to help develop and inspire your creative thinking, practice and teaching.

AccessArt welcomes artists, educators, teachers and parents both in the UK and overseas.

We believe everyone has the right to be creative and by working together and sharing ideas we can enable everyone to reach their creative potential.

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