Cubism, Pablo Picasso, and Soft Sculpture

This week we discussed the work of Pablo Picasso. He is best known for his contributions to the Cubist movement where he investigated how two dimensional drawings could represent three dimensional objects. In his case he was not attempting to fool the eye into believing that his drawings/paintings had depth, but rather how a three dimensional object would look if flattened. For our purposes we focused on portraiture.

seated-woman the-weeping-womansylvette

For this project I made an example which I don’t often do; however I wanted the students to see the final product so they would understand all of the steps we would take in order to make our soft sculptures. We talked about how the faces were different than we were used to seeing in traditional portraiture. Picasso would choose to show both a profile and frontal view of the women in his paintings while also using unnatural colors. The last image of Picasso’s work we looked at was a work of sculpture as we were going to be working in 3D. It was interesting to compare how he took the Cubist concepts and applied them to a 3D sculpture. As you can see from the picture he is still using many of the same shapes to represent the figure.


It took some explaining with a little trial and error, but once the students started seeing the results of their work, they began to get excited about how the sculptures are going to look. Yesterday’s class focused on the design of the head shape, face, and back. We started with two pieces of foam to use as a base for our drawings. After drawing the front and back of our portrait, we laid a piece of muslin over each side and traced them; first with pencil then with Sharpie. Once the outlines were in place, the students used the foam as a printing plate to lay color onto the fabric. This single color printing technique is called a monoprint.


DSC_0006Thanks to Miss Christine for modeling the printing method for the students.

Next week the pieces will be sewn together and the students can further embellish their sculptures with ribbon, beads, and yarn.

Have a great week. Leanna