Studying Sculpture, I have found it hard to be as spontaneous and playful in my experimentation as I would normally be. As a warm up exercise for my project looking at masks, I decided that it would be fun to make some small forms creating faces in the style of Easter island type effigies using cardboard tubes. Using free materials with only a small investment in time means that I could risk making something without worrying about the outcome, and this is quite liberating. My objective wasn’t to produce submit-able sculptures, more to generate ideas and opportunities for drawing.

I collected a few loo roll centres, damped them and pulled and creased them into shapes vaguely suggestive of faces. Memories of ‘Blue Peter’ came to mind.

ply mask (8 of 9)

The most successful of these were painted in gesso to stiffen them and create a surface that I could further work with out them going soggy again. I then painted them with layers of pigment ink. I wasn’t trying to paint features on them, so much as trying to develop the shadows to emphasis the shapes.

Enjoying working in colour, I drew these using the same pigment inks, Inktense, which also come in pencil form. I developed the tone in areas using water.

grumpy drawing (1 of 1)

A2 drawing

I wasn’t satisfied that I had captured the tones which create the impression of faces, also I thought it would be fun to draw one of these even bigger. A large scale charcoal drawing was needed.

grumpy drawing (2 of 1)

A2, charcoal

I find it fascniating that we read a shape or form  as a face with the slightest nudge. Clearly recognising faces is fundamentally important for human interactions and our day to day ability to navigate relationships. Scientists have suggested that there is even a specialised area of our brain, the Fusiform Face Area, which responds to faces, even the suggestion of a face (Halgren et al., no date).

This exercise felt like a self indulgence but I know that tutors often commend playfulness as a way of liberating your ideas and practice. Whilst I don’t think this has produced anything great in the way of a finished piece of art, the outcome has been successful for me in that I feel fired up and enthusiastic.


Halgren, E., Raij, T., Marinkovic, K., Jousmäki, V. and Hari, R. (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 20 January 2016).


About starrybird

I am mature student studying art with The Open College of the Arts. My passion is printmaking.
This entry was posted in Course Parts, Part 5 Developing Sculpture and Imagination and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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