In 1952 Barbara Hepworth described the things that make up her ‘usual working day’.
“These things are immensely important to me… My home and my children; listening to music, and thinking about its relation to the life of forms; the need for dancing as recreation, and where dancing links with the actual physical rhythm of carving; the intense pleasure derived from tools and craftsmanship – all these things are daily expressions of the whole.”
Creative Challenge 6
Barbara Hepworth had a lifelong passion for music and dance, and she has described carving as having a rhythmic quality, like music. Many of Hepworth’s sculptures capture a sense of movement. Hepworth’s Curved Form (Pavan) 1956 refers to a stately court dance from the 16th and early 17th centuries.
Make a drawing or painting whist listening to music or to the sounds you can hear outside. Make colourful marks on your page that represent the sounds – slow or fast, loud or quiet, spiky or flowing, high pitched or low hum.
Create your own curved sculpture inspired by your drawings.
- Cut paper or thin card into long strips roughly 3 cm wide. Aim to make one long strip roughly 50cm long. You can join pieces together end to end and use all sorts of different paper from cardboard packaging to newspaper or wrapping paper.
- At this point you may decide to colour or collage both sides of your strips, or you can choose to leave the texture of the paper bare.
- Holding both ends of the paper, twist and roll it to create curves and shapes – you might want to do this with a partner. Don’t let go, it may unravel!
- Once you are happy with your shape fix the two ends together with tape or a stapler to create a continuous looped sculpture.
- Now you could use another strip of paper to extend or join your sculpture to another one.
- You could also stand your sculpture on a sheet of paper by the window or outdoors. Trace the shadows cast through the sculpture onto your paper. Could you make this into a new paper sculpture?
Creative Challenge 5
“I have always found people’s hands an absorbing interest; watching their movement and gesture reveal their inner thoughts and purposes.” – Barbara Hepworth 1952
Barbara Hepworth was fascinated with people’s hands, believing their movement to reveal a person’s inner thoughts. In 1943 Hepworth cast her own left hand in plaster – she famously described the left hand of the sculptor as ‘the thinking and feeling hand.’
We have all been washing and sanitising and clapping our hands during the current pandemic, so for this creative challenge we would like you to capture hands that are important to you.
Try drawing your own hand without taking your pencil off the paper; then try using both hands at the same time; finally try drawing your hand with your eyes closed. Sketch other people’s hands in different positions – at rest and in action. Can you shade or paint your drawing to seem 3D? Could you create a flip book of your hands clapping?
Now you could try creating your hand out of different materials. You could build it in clay or plasticine; manipulate strips of cardboard or wire to create a basic shape then mould it using newspaper or paper towels. Could you sculpt your hand using textiles?
There are plenty of examples of hands (and feet) that we have displayed and have in our collection that you could use for inspiration. Have a look at the way Christina Quarles and Maggi Hambling paint hands or look at Toby Ziegler’s giant foot.
Don’t forget to share your work with us!
Creative Challenge 4
“If the Winged Figure … gives people a sense of being airborne in rain and sunlight and nightlight I will be very happy.” – Barbara Hepworth
Winged Figure, 1961-2 is one of the most popular works on display at the gallery. It stands at nearly 6m tall and is the full-scale prototype for the commission that adorns the side of John Lewis on Oxford Street, London.
Imagine you can fly and where you would most like to fly to. Draw what you might see from the sky above your home. Draw your home, the roads and paths that you travel as well as your favourite places.
Now have a go at animating your journey. There are plenty of free animation apps available to use. You can draw and cut out characters, use playdough, plasticine or your favourite toys to populate the scenes and create a stop motion film using Stop Motion Studio and iMotion. You could paint your journey straight into the Brushes Redux app and it will play back your layers as an animation. You could use the FlipaClip app to create a flip book style animation of you travelling through the air.
We’ve used animation a number of times to tell stories about works or artists in our collection. You can take a look at our Stanley Spencer animation, using Spencer’s own writings to bring one of his paintings to life or you can explore little known facts about Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore’s life and careers.
For more inspiration you can read our artist Q&A with Leo Crane who worked with us on the Stanley Spencer animation.
Creative Challenge 3
Barbara Hepworth’s Family of Man sculpture group stands outside The Hepworth Wakefield, next to the River Calder. Hepworth wanted her sculptures to breathe, interact with one another and be in the landscape. So for our Creative Challenge 3 we want you to be the sculpture…
Stand outside or near an open window. Close your eyes, be still, breathe and listen. What can you hear? Can you feel a breeze or the sun on your face? What else do you notice?
Play, stack and build
Now make your own Family of Man sculptures. Play, stack and build using objects from around your house. Look for interesting materials, colours and textures. Try making sculptures of yourself and your family. Experiment with balancing objects and trying different arrangements that look like a figure.
Draw your family or friendship group in the style of Barbara Hepworth’s Family of Man. Hepworth created different sized groups, so you could also look at the larger group residing at Yorkshire Sculpture Park for inspiration. Use squares, ovals, circles and different textures to describe your group.
Don’t forget to share your work with us so we can add your masterpiece to our family gallery.
Creative Challenge 2
‘In the contemplation of nature, we are perpetually renewed, our sense of mystery and our imagination is kept alive…’ Barbara Hepworth, 1934
In 1946 Hepworth wrote, ‘I spend whole periods of time drawing when I search for forms and rhythms and curvatures for my own satisfaction.’
Create a sculpture inspired by the view from your window. Take inspiration from Albert Wainwright’s painting of Robin Hood’s Bay.
Spend some time looking at the view from your house. Look at the shapes and patterns in the buildings, trees, plants, clouds, roads, birds going by. Draw what you see. Have you noticed anything new?
- Choose 3 shapes from your drawings and redraw them onto card. Each shape should fill one piece of card.
- Cut out the shapes.
- Play and experiment with joining them together. You might like to fold or bend the shapes.
- Fix them together to create a standing sculpture.
- The challenge is to make a stable sculpture without using sticky tape or glue!
Handy hint: Try cutting slots into your shapes or use straws/sticks to join different pieces together.
See below how to share your sculpture with us!
Creative Challenge 1
One of Barbara Hepworth’s most famous sculptures is Spring, 1966. This week marks the spring equinox and pleasingly, the start of a spell of good weather, so we encourage you to be inspired by nature and create a work about spring. This could be a painting, a collage using leaves and twigs you find on the ground, or even a sculpture made up of found items, just like Bill Brandt and Henry Moore did.