Sculpture Mania


Claire Falkenstein (American, 1908–1997)

Gold and iron wire and fused glass, 29 x 29 x 29 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of The Falkenstein Foundation, 2009.34.2.


  • SWBAT identify line, shape, form (3-D vs. 2-D), and sculpture in the round
  • SWBAT apply these principals to create their own 3-dimensional artwork
  • SWBAT use beginner construction techniques to create a 3-dimensional artwork


Sculpture: Three-dimensional art made by one of four basic processes: carving, modelling, casting, constructing.

Additive: process in art is a process in which material is combined in a construction-type fashion to form the desired shape.

Subtractive: removing material from a solid block of starting material.


About the Artist:

Claire Falkenstein began her career at the center of San Francisco’s art scene. She was a painter and sculptor engaged with Pacific Coast Surrealism and a respected instructor at the California School of Fine Arts from 1947–49.

She moved to Paris in 1950 and continued her sculpture there on a smaller scale by making art jewelry. She mastered new techniques and forms, and increasingly used wire. By 1953, she had taken wire to unprecedented levels, constructing larger, complex nettings of filament, soldered wherever necessary. Her forms were open work pods or, in this instance, cubes. Falkenstein offered a radical solution to sculpture and space by manipulating material in such an original manner.

Her next breakthrough came with the embedding of glass pieces into her lattices. At first these were wedged into place, wrapped by the wire, and held by pressure alone. In 1954, she learned kiln and torch techniques that allowed her to address the different melting points of her materials. Fragments of colored glass could be slumped amid the filaments, often fully encasing them. Further defining the fabric of space, glass also added a new sensuousness to the work.

Opening Discussion 

• Discuss differences between shape/form, 2-D/3-D.  

• Identify line, shape, and form in the visual aids and discuss ways to incorporate them into their own 3-D sculpture.


• Create 3-D sculpture in the round, using the materials listed above. Starting with the cardboard base, build up/out 

• Begin with a strong base and vertical anchor (ways to start: use hot glue to attach clothes pin to the base or poke aluminum wire through the base, bend the bottom of the wire and tape to the underneath side of the base, flip right side up and thread a large wooden bead onto the wire)

• Use materials and adhesives to create a sculpture in the round



Creating (VA:Cr1.1; VA:Cr1.2; VA:Cr2.1; VA:Cr2.2; VA:Cr2.3; VA:Cr3); Presenting (VA:Pr4; VA:Pr5; VA:Pr6); Responding (VA:Re7.1; VA:Re7.2; VA:Re8; VA:Re9); Connecting (VA:Cn10; VA:Cn11)

ELA: College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading (R.CCR.1; R.CCR.2; R.CCR.4; R.CCR.5; R.CCR.6; R.CCR.7; R.CCR.8; R.CCR.9); College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing (W.CCR.9); College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening (SL.CCR.1; SL.CCR.2; SL.CCR.3; SL.CCR.4); College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language (L.CCR.1; L.CCR.3; L.CCR.4; L.CCR.6)  


  • Bases: circular cardboard or rectangular railroad board
  • hot glue guns, glue sticks
  • tacky glue-optional
  • colored tape
  • popsicle sticks, wooden beads and shapes
  • wire (aluminum and copper?)
  • wooden clothes pins, pipe cleaners, aluminum squares, colored twisty wire, paper squares, bottle caps?, buttons?
  • Pencils-optional
  • scissors-optional


90 minutes

Grade Level



  • Visual Art


  • Sculpture
  • Women Artist


  • Sculpture


Crocker Art Museum

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