Moore Plaster Sculptures

Term: 3 Year: 2014

Haileybury Berwick's Year 8 boys explored and researched sculptural forms and styles by artist Henry Moore to develop understanding of the concept of positive and negative space. They used this knowledge to create a plaster sculpture inspired by Moore’s work.

Unit: Henry Moore inspired Plaster Sculptures
Year Levels: Year 8 Boys
Duration of Unit: 12 x 50 minute periods  
Term: 1
Year: 2013

Learning Focus from AusVels Level 8 

Students explore different contemporary and traditional arts forms and styles to develop understanding of the concept of style. Students apply their arts knowledge and, with guidance, an understanding of style when experimenting with, selecting and using a range of contemporary and traditional media, materials, equipment and technologies to explore and expand their understanding and use of a range of skills, techniques and processes in the arts disciplines of Art.

Unit Learning Focus:

Students were required to create a plaster maquette for a sculpture in the style of Henry Moore.  It needed to be an abstract organic form with no straight edges, similar to what you would find in nature.  The sculpture needed to have a hole through it, and to be designed to be seen in the round.  Students learnt to use tools such as rasps, files and sand paper to refine their form.

Unit Assessment Standards Level 8:


Students will be able to plan and create a plaster sculpture with the inspiration of Henry Moore’s large bronze outdoor sculptures.

Students will learn to use tools such as rasps, files, sandpaper etc. in a safe manner


Reflect on their ideas and their handling of tools.

Explain their sculpture and how it is similar to Henry Moore’s sculptures.

Teaching & Learning Activities

Week 1:


1. Students plan their creation with a focus on the organic form of the intended sculpture.

2. Begin by mixing your plaster in a plastic bucket or ice cream container. Add the dry plaster to the water.

3. Using a funnel, pour the plaster into a plastic water bottle.

4. Blow up a balloon but do not tie the end.

5. Working together with a partner, pinch the neck of the balloon so that the air does not escape. Then stretch the balloon’s opening over the plaster-filled bottle.

6. Hold the rim of the bottle and the opening of the balloon tight so that no plaster drips out.  Turn the bottle upside down so the balloon is resting on your work bench and allow the plaster to flow into the balloon.

7. Allow the excess air to escape the balloon and tie the end.

8. When the plaster begins to harden which will take about 10 minutes depending on the room temperature, gently squeeze the balloon into the desired shape until the plaster is completely hard which will take another 10 minutes. (You will know the plaster is beginning to set when you can feel the plaster thickening and heat is released because of the chemical reaction.)

9. Cut away the balloon when your plaster is completely dry to reveal your sculpture.  Be very careful as it will be fragile until it completely dries, which takes a few days.


Students listen to the book “Henry Moore – From Bones and Stones to Sketches and Sculptures” and look at images.

Students create designs based on the work of Henry Moore.

Week 2:


1. Use tools such as rasps, files and sandpaper (in that order) to enlarge the hole in your sculpture, shape grooves, create a flat bottom on which it will stand and smooth the surface.


Students verbally reflect on their handling of the material and tools.

Week 2:


1. Mount your sculpture onto a block of wood and then paint it bronze.


1. Students reflect on their work and complete a written self-evaluation exercise.

Resources and Materials

Dry Plaster
2ltr plastic soft drink bottles
Plastic bucket or ice cream container to mix plaster
Plastic Funnels
Sand paper
Drop Sheets
Safety goggles
Safety masks/respirators

Assessment Tools

Teacher centres Assessment Rubric

Student centred written self-evaluation. 

Cross Curricular Priorities


Recycled blocks of wood are used for the bases of the sculptures.

Plaster is a sustainable material.