Sculpture

Make some twisty words

Create a long twisting sculpture using strips of paper and imaginative words!

The idea

A parent and kid in St Ives making a twisty work sculpture

Making a twisty word sculpture at Tate St Ives © Tate

Richard Deacon is an artist and sculptor who has created artworks using unusual materials such as steel, wood, plastic, leather and cloth.

He has used very thin ash (which is a type of wood) for his more recent works. He steamed the ash to a very high temperature so it would form coils, which look a bit like roller coasters or giant waves.

Richard Deacon, Restless, 2005

Richard Deacon, Restless, 2005 © Tate

Look at his sculpture Restless in the picture above. What words would you use to describe it?

What you need

  • Different pieces of paper and card cut into long strips. Use different colours and textures like corrugated cardboard or metallic card if you can.
  • Sticky tape, glue or staples and a stapler.
  • Different markers including felt tips pens.

Do it!

Workshop participants writing words on a long piece of paper

Thinking of words and writing them on a long piece of paper. © Tate

  • Write down a list of words that describe the appearance of Richard Deacon’s sculpture Restless.
  • Put some of the words together to make unusual or silly phrases like spaghetti hair for example.
  • Carefully cut out long strips of your paper and card.
  • Write some of your descriptive words or phrases along the strip, using different types of writing such as big, small, bubble writing or mirror-writing…you choose.
  • Twist your strips of paper or card into spirals or knots.
  • Join the ends of the strips with tape, glue or staples. (You might need an adult to help you are usinga stapler).

Top Tips!

  • Keep adding new twisted strips to make bigger, fancier, more complicated sculptures.
  • Try hanging them like mobiles or arranging them in your own way.
  • Take photographs of your twisted word sculpture against different backgrounds like wooden floorboards, or plants and trees out in the garden. Do the different backgrounds change how the sculpture looks?

See it!

Twisty Word sculpture activity © Tate

Twisty Word sculpture activity © Tate

Twisty Word sculpture activity © Tate

Twisty Word sculpture activity © Tate

Twisty Word sculpture activity © Tate

Twisty Word sculpture activity © Tate

Twisty Word sculpture activity © Tate

Twisty Word sculpture activity © Tate

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