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How to Create Wire Sculpture Art Inspired by Japanese Artist Ruth Asawa

by Heather Pelanne
February 17, 2021

Learn about Japanese Artist Ruth Aiko Asawa and learn how to use colored wire to create 3D wire sculpture art around found objects.

Colored Wire and sticks for sculpture art for kids

“Art will make people better.”- Ruth Asawa

As an elementary art teacher, I try to connect artists to the projects that we work on together as a class. I find that seeing images of artwork made from the same materials we are using as a class is very inspiring to children. It sparks ideas, imagination and helps children to understand their own creativity. 

I also believe that if we teach children about a wide variety of artists, they will see representation in the world around them.

One of my favorite artists to share with students is Ruth Aiko Asawa, a Japanese-American sculptor. Ruth overcame many tragedies in her life, including time with her family in the internment camps. However, like most great artists, she turned her painful experiences into art. 

Ruth’s signature style, biomorphic wire forms, is perfect for introducing to young artists.  Ruth, inspired by nature in her work, used wire to essentially draw in a three dimensional space.  (And did you know? Shape is one of the seven elements of art).

I’m excited to share this wire sculpture art project with you today. It’s a fun and easy project that uses wires and objects found around your home.

Wire Sculpture Art for Kids

Wire Sculpture Art

MATERIALS

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Anchor wire to found object

    First fix wire to an object by tightly wrapping and twisting the wire together. If the object has a stem, then attach the wire to it. But if the object is smooth (i.e. a rock), then use clear tape to keep wire in place.
    materials for wire sculptures

  2. Wrap object

    Have kids begin to tightly wrap the object.  (You may need to show how to hold the object or show them that the closer they hold the wire to the object, the easier it beomes to wrap it). 

    This wire sculpture art is a great way to build fine motor skills and work on grip. (If the wire runs out, simply twist more together to create one long strand).Child wrapping wire around stick

  3. Tie off wire ends

    I find some kids will use the whole package of wires and others might only use a few wires. When your child is ready, simply twist the end of the wire to another wire that is already attached.  If the wires are loose at all then be sure to go back and add a little tape to secure them in place.
    child wrapping wire around pumpkin

  4. Assemble!

    If your kids really enjoy making these objects then experiment with assembling multiple 3D shapes together.

More about Ruth Asawa

1.  Ruth overcame many setbacks due to prejudice during her life, but still kept pursuing her dreams. 

I love the book, “What If We Were All the Same” by CM Harris, to introduce conversations of race and prejudice.

2. Ruth was an advocate for art education.  Try these ideas to incorporate art into your family’s lifestyle:

  • Read books about art to inspire kids. I highly recommend “The Squiggle” by Carole Lexa Schaefer to pair with this wire sculpture art project.
  • Promote art education and ask your child’s art teacher if they need help!  Art departments are often underfunded and the teachers are overwhelmed (take it from a former art teacher).  
  • Book a tour with a smaller local museum.  Chances are they will be thrilled to have young artists in the museum and this experience helps build a connection and foundational love of art for kids!
Painted wood blocks feature

More Sculpture Ideas for Kids

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