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de Youngsters Studio: Fruit Still Life Sculpture

Watch Fruit Still Life Sculpture

Study a still life and imagine you’ve been asked to add a piece of fruit to the composition! Using simple materials from home and a few different techniques, create a bigger-than life fruit sculpture.

Collection Connection

Flora Mace’s and Joey Kirkpatrick’s Fruit Still Life was created in 1997. A still life is simply an arrangement of objects. We often see still-life paintings, but here we see a still-life sculpture. The blown glass fruit in the arrangement is larger than life, with the pear in the center standing over 4 feet high! Most of the pieces of fruit have a glossy sheen, with the exception of an orange, which appears to have a very similar texture to an actual orange peel.

Materials

Questions to Consider

Steps

1. Scrunch pieces of newspaper into the form of the fruit, using masking tape to keep it intact. For stems, you may want to tightly roll and tape the newspaper; for leaves, cut the leaf shape from a small stack of newspaper before taping. When you are sculpting your form, you can bunch, twist, and fold the newspaper to your preferred shape.

2. Make sure the entire surface of your fruit is smooth and covered with masking tape.

3. Choose a color palette for your fruit, including lighter colors to layer on top of darker colors. Tear your pieces of tissue paper to get ready to “paint” (cover) your fruit with.

4. Cover the surface of your fruit with multiple layers of tissue (or thin magazine) paper, adding glue mixture applied with a brush to keep your pieces in place. Make sure to paint a thin coat of glue mixture onto the final surface to give you sculpture a shiny texture, just like blown glass!

Reflect  

After creating your sculpture, consider the following questions: 

  • What elements or steps did you most enjoy during the process?
  • What did you discover about the material and process?
  • What other materials have you used to create sculpture? How was this technique similar? How was it different?

Share

You can create more than one if you’d like. Share your sculpture with a friend or family member and explain how you created it! If your sculpture ends up looking so delicious that you just want to take a big bite, try to refrain! Find a place to display your fruit; it will be sure to brighten up the day. You can use the techniques we used today to create other objects as well. 

We would love to see what you create! Email pictures of your artwork to families@famsf.org or tag us on any social platform with #deyoungsters.

Image credits

  • Flora C. Mace and Joey Kirkpatrick, Fruit Still Life, 1997. Blown glass and alder, 31 x 57 in. (78.7 x 144.8 cm). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of Dorothy and George Saxe, 1998.115a–h. © Flora C. Mace / © Joey Kirkpatrick. Photograph by Henrik Kam, © Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
  • Process photographs by Jennie Smith