Project One: Flightless Kites



To demonstrate basic elements and principles of three-dimensional design you will create a three-dimensional object formed by balsa wood and paper. This object must be a Non-Representational Geometric form. This object must demonstrate your understanding of line, plane, form, balance, unity, closed and/or open forms and armature. Curves are allowed as long as they are geometric and mathematical in nature.


It must be able to be hung, at least 12 inches in one dimension and no more than 24 inches in any direction and have some paper elements (in selective aesthetically appropriate amounts). You must demonstrate a high level of craft. Think about structural stability, building in small sections and then adding these sections to others to increase complexity. Manipulation of the materials, concepts presented in class and tools will be determining factors in evaluating your success.



Step 1: Begin by sketching out a few loose thumbnail sketches of geometric forms/objects that you feel might be visually interesting and a wise engineering choice for this project. Once you have narrowed down what form you will be attempting explore the back, front, top, and bottom loosely in your sketchbook. How will it hang? Discuss your plans with me before moving on. Think geometric or even architecturally!


Step 2: On your cutting matte and using your ruler and X-Acto blade begin manufacturing your pieces. begin crafting your form. Think about your armature like a skeleton. Where will the larger structure/load bearing bones go in relation to the smaller articulate bones? Will you overlap your wood sections or but them up flush? I would suggest working in small flat sections then adding those sections to other sections to develop your space and complexity. Once your object begins to take form do not immediately focus on just one side of the object continually. Move around it, adding to each side, the top and the bottom. Make sure that your connections are sound and that wood isn’t shifting around.


Step 3: Make SURE that you are working on top of brown paper. When you have completed your armature you must then begin selectively adding small amounts of the provided paper. Depending on your object you may want to glue an oversized piece of paper to an area, let dry and then cut off any excess paper. Or, You may want to attempt to cut out shapes from the paper that exactly line up with the specific shape or area you are choosing to cover.  You will need to manipulate your paper onto the armature by any means that you find most productive. I advise that you work in small sections of paper that are followed by one another. Do not cover the object entirely, although, you may have smaller closed areas if you choose. Remember that craft is of the utmost importance at every level of this objects construction!


Step 4: Once you feel that your object is finished, present it in the best possible manner. Turn it in we will be hanging them in the hallway in front of the windows.



8x10” Sketchbook, Steel Ruler, Pencils, Erasers, Small Flat Brush, X-Acto Blade(s)


I want to see at least 3 quick thumbnail sketches before you begin the next class.

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View student examples by selecting an image above

© 2020 Dustin M. Price