Making Sculptures: The Chair And Me

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In this activity we challenge you to make sculpture inspired by your bodies relationship to the furniture around you. This is a great opportunity to work instinctively and on a slightly larger scale, making sculpture which will be dismantled afterwards.

Notes for Teachers

  • This activity is suitable for ages 8 to 16 (upper Key Stage 2, 3 and 4).

  • You can use the activity as a standalone session (1 hr) or extend and develop work over a series of sessions.

  • See other resources in the “AccessArt & Saatchi Learning” series to extend your exploration of contemporary sculpture.

  • As the sculptures will be dismantled at a later date, the aim of this session is to build quickly and intuitively, freed from the constraint of having to “craft” an object. This session is about helping children and teenagers understand how they can “sketch” in 3 dimensions to explore the physicality of making (and viewing) sculpture.

To Begin…

Gather materials, for example:

  • Cardboard

  • Sticks/canes

  • Wire

  • Tape

  • String

  • Glue Gun

  • Pliers

  • Scissors

  • Each pupil also needs a stool or chair to use as part of their sculpture ( the piece of furniture will be returned after the session).


Take a chair or stool and gather together your materials. Please remember when you build around the piece of furniture not to directly attach your sculpture to the stool or chair! 


Materials for the Winter Tree Challenge

Have a think about your relationship with the chair or stool:

  • How does the piece of furniture make your body act?

  • How do you sit on it or lean on it? Be creative!

  • What’s your favourite position to sit in?

Start cutting or tearing your materials into pieces (strips, rectangles, triangles etc) and start exploring how you might build and connect with these elements to make a sculpture about how your body interacts with the furniture.

Don’t try and build a sculpture “of your whole body” instead think in terms of gestures – big shapes which take up space and indicate your body might be, and what your body might be doing. Think about gravity and how your body sits on the chair, and think about how your legs might hang or rest.


A beginning - Bending card and discovering 3D

Boys set up an IPad on a chair and take photos moving Ingo's 'Pirate' in small increments in quick succession

The installation - a collection of art materials suspended from wires

Glue gun use. The glue gun was very useful to attach elements to the design - Susie Olczak - SC

Do you need to include an arm to show how your weight is distributed? Think about the bits of your body you don’t need to include too.

Remember not to fasten the sculpture to the chair or stool!

If you don’t want to use actual stools and you would prefer to work on a smaller scale you might like to build a small piece of furniture and work from that:


Seated figure

Seated figure

Seated figure

Once you have finished your sculpture, move on to Step 3: Reflect & Discuss