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Cubism was a 20th century avant-garde art movement pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque that revolutionized European painting and sculpture and inspired related movements in music, literature, and architecture. Picasso demonstrated uncanny artistic talent in his early years, painting in a realistic manner throughout his childhood and adolescence; during the first decade of the 20th century his style changed often as he experimented with different ideas and theories. Picasso is known for his blue and rose periods, his African-influenced period, and for various types of cubism. Picasso was most well-known for his paintings, but he was also a sculptor.

In this project, we have a chance to produce reinterpretations of the works of Picasso! The simplified forms of cubism lend themselves beautifully to soft sculpture reproductions. By looking through the vast array of figurative paintings done by Picasso during his cubist phase, we find many possibilities for soft sculpture adaptations. Fine art, sculpture, and textiles combine to make an eye-catching piece.

Preparation

  1. Become familiar with the art and ideas of Pablo Picasso. Recommended resources:
    "Artists of the 20th Century: Picasso" DVD (70096-1011)
    "Taschen Basic Art Styles Series Famous Artists: Picasso" book (70033-1031)
    Picasso.com is the Online Picasso Project.
  2. Cut muslin into 9" x 12" pieces; need two pieces.

Process

  1. Make a preliminary drawing of the soft sculpture in marker on a 9" x 12" piece of paper. Create the design with a 1" border around the artwork to be used as a seam; see (A). Tape it to a window or light box. Tape one piece of the muslin over the drawing and trace over the image lightly with a pencil.
  2. Next, tape the Scratch-Art Scratch-Foam over the paper drawing and trace lightly with a pencil. Cut out the outline of the sculpture.
  3. Turn the drawing over to reverse and trace the outline onto another piece of paper. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the reverse side of the sculpture; see (B).
  4. The color will be applied to the muslin as a monotype: first by painting the Scratch-Foam, then by transferring it to the muslin.
    Note: Because the image will be reversed as a print, it is important to apply paint to the reverse side of the foam.
    For best results, print one section of the sculpture at a time. Cut an area out of the foam. Experiment with layering and blending colors, also with removing or scratching through the paint, using modeling tools. Turn the Scratch-Foam over, line up the print carefully over the muslin and apply gentle, even pressure with fingers or a baren. Lift the foam and repeat this step with the remaining pieces of foam until the front is completely printed.
  5. Repeat step 4 to print the reverse side.
  6. When the prints are dry, embellish both sides with stitching or beads.
  7. Cut the sculpture shape from the muslin, keeping the 1" border of unprinted fabric around all sides intact. Place the prints face-to-face and sew a running stitch around the outer edge of the fabric on top and sides, leaving the bottom open. For a no-sew version, simply brush fabric glue along the top and sides and secure together until dry.
  8. Turn the sculpture right-side-out and stuff the piece mostly full, leaving 1" at the bottom to add beans or rice. Push the stuffing into tight areas and curves using the eraser end of a pencil.
  9. To finish the sculpture and keep it standing upright, make a "beanbag" weight for the bottom. Take a square scrap of muslin about twice the size of the base of the sculpture and pour beans or rice into the center. Gather it at the top and tie it with embroidery floss. Insert the beanbag into the bottom of the sculpture, tied-side-up. Sew or glue into place.
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