Wire Portraits

Term: 3 Year: 2012

Let your creative self go

At the start of term 1, students began a portraiture unit as part of their elective course titled ‘let your creative self go’.  The course is intended to expose the students to a wide variety of artists, working methods, materials and to encourage the students to experiment and take risks.

The wire portraits began with students making a series of continuous line drawings of themselves using mirrors.  They were given pens (deliberately not pencils to avoid rubbing out work) and were encouraged to use a variety of lines to describe the shapes and textures of their reflections.   As an added extra the year 9 and 10 students have iPads and they were able to photograph and then draw themselves in a range of poses and with different facial expressions.  Students experimented with non-dominant hand drawings, ‘blind’ drawings and timed drawings.

We studied the wire portraits of Alexander Calder and Karen Jobe-Templeton in class and discussed their use of line and unusual uses of wire.  Students were asked to choose their favourite line drawing of themselves and then they set about transforming this into wire.  Students manipulated the wire on top of their drawings, which were used as guides.  Students were encouraged to experiment with the wire and come up with new ways of working with it.

Some students were hesitant at using the wire at first, but they soon found their own way to manipulate and shape the wire.  I think the results speak for themselves and the students had a lot of fun making them!

Gillian Nix
Art Teacher
Our Lady Of Sion College, Box Hill
Suitable for Level 6