Category Archives: Sculpture

A Wooden Block, Wire, and a Pantyhose


What to make from a piece of wood, some wire, and a pantyhose? My kids would tell you they can make a scultpure…and a pretty impressive one at that! I found ideas for this sculpture online and decided that this will be their final project for the class.

So last week we talked about how things are hidden. I linked up our talk with Collosians 3:2-3 which “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” This is their memory verse for this upcoming week and so far I have been impressed by the children’s enthusiasm and dedication to memorizing our verses each week.

After reading the verses we broke them down alittle bit more: what are “things above”? what are “earthly things”? Why is the Bible saying that we are dead when we obviously are not? How are our lives hidden in Christ?

This is where our scultpure came in…

I took the block of word saying “this is God, our foundation, the solid rock we should be standing on.”

Then I took the wire… “this wire is like us…standing on God as our foundation” Then I stuck the wire in 2 holes on the board.”But when lets think of some sins that we do, some ‘earthly things’ and when we do these things we get knocked around. Lets say I steal and piece of candy” (then I knock my wire “person” to one side) “or I decide to talk about someone to another person” (I bend a notch in the wire) “or I lie so that others will think good of me” (I twist the wire downward). I explained, “So we are still standing on our foundation of God but sin is really messing us up, pulling us down, and hurting us and hurting our relationship with God.”

Then I take the stocking. “This stocking is Jesus.” (I start pulling the stocking over the wire, bit by bit, and then even wrapping it over and around the block of wood at the bottom. “Because sin was hurting our relationship with God, God sent His son Jesus to cover us, hide us, so that when God looks at us now He doesn’t see this bent up piece of wire, but he sees Jesus instead; He sees something beautiful.”

This week my kids worked on bending their pieces of wire in unique shapes, pulling the stocking over top to create a 3-D sculpture, and then painting the stocking with glue so that the form will become hard. Next week my kids will paint their sculptures and we will look for a place to display!


We all deserve Birthday Parties


I just decided that we needed a party, that’s all. I have overlooked recognizing and celebrating the kids birthdays long enough and so this past week we had one big party. I passed a sheet of paper around for them to write their birthdays. One third did not know the day or month of their birth so I explained to those kids that they got the excitingly special job of picking their own birthday- a day where we could celebrate who God made them to be. Many of those kids were smart and picked a day in June so that they get to be celebrated as soon as possible! Haha!

We started off the class as usually- motto, rules, names, good and bad thing in your week, memory verse challenge. Then I had the kids get into 2 groups- the Cheetahs verses the Red Devils! Trivia Game was our first thing. After this came donuts smeared with peanut butter on a string and a no-hands eating contest. That was awesome!

Another highlight was the kid’s very first pinata. I had saved a paper mache balloon after our paper mache mask project and so that day Emily helped me stuff it with lots of candy and tie it high above the kid’s heads. One by one I blindfolded them, spun them around and then gave them a drum stick to hit the thing with. They loved it!

We had chai and chapati for the kids too which was a huge treat and we invited many other children who haven’t been a part of the class to come join us. Then at the very end I told them our party couldn’t be complete without some kind of sculpture since this is sculpture class after all. I pulled out peanut butter, milk powder, honey clay which I had mixed up the night before. I had them sculpt animals with their clay and then in the end we ate our animals!

These kids are so special, I can’t express it enough how dear they are to me. We always have a good time in our class, but this time I was particularly excited just to give them a good time for no other reason than because they are great people. I want to do this every once in a while, to have celebrations just for fun.


What a week brings…


A week brings unpredictability, a lot of art, and fun times.

My week always brings Art from Below meetings on Thursday. This time around we decided to do things a bit differently and instead of discussion, for part of our meeting we got paints out and painted glass pieces that can then be used to make a jewelry pendent!

My week brings corky things- like deciding to make green chapati with avocado. Emily said that was such a gross idea and refused to eat them but after we were finished our cooking I convinced her to try and she actually liked them very much 🙂 Next time maybe sweet potato? I can’t just do normal ones.

My week brings my favorite kids in the world- no wait- UNIVERSE! Noodle wind chimes and found-art sculpture collage were two of our latest creations. But I cannot say enough good things about my kids. From when I walk into the slum and they run up to me to greet me, hug me, and carry any bags I have for me; to sweeping the room to prepare for class; to standing up and responding to my good morning greeting with “Good morning teacher Kaylie, and how are you today?”

…my heart beats for these kids.



I love making a mess with my kids!


        If a woman was running the Inspiration Center she would have rung my neck last Saturday! Thank goodness Moses just walks in, casually glances at the huge mess we made and then sits back like its nothing new! Ha. These kids had a blast and I love it because this day is my excuse to make a huge mess on purpose! Whoa we truly did too- paper mache balloons with 13 children in the first class and 15 in the second class. They are getting used to the routine we have in class, which is great to see their own increase in comfortably in class as they fall into the comfortable routine of class each week.

        This week I through them for a loop when I announced making a sculpture out of newspaper and balloons! I told that eventually this sculpture will become a mask- after we paper mache, let it dry, pop the balloon, cut the shape in half, form facial features on the mask and finally paint it. Yes, this is going to be an ongoing project. But as we discussed what a mask is and why people use masks I challenged the kids to apply the idea of a mask to themselves. Who they know themselves to be on the inside verses what others see on the outside. I passed out papers and had them to write “I am…” and to make a list of all that came to mind. Then they turned this around and I asked them to write “I want to be…” and had them write another list as they brainstormed their hopes for the future. At the end of this activity some kids were begging to stand up and read theirs- so we did, and they were so good! The kids read their statements with such pride and enthusiasm that I felt like they were given a deeper sense of encouragement and hope during the class just through that exercise.

        After this we got messy! I spread the plastic cloth and then had them mix the flour and water together, rip paper, and blow balloons in preparation. We spread out the bowls so everyone could reach and I let them loose, which was the fun part really… I just sat back and watched them enjoy themselves, exploring the medium: newspaper, flour-water goop, and a big round balloon. The floor was full of flour-water lakes that got bigger and bigger as they worked. As I snapped pictures they were holding up the balloons to get a phone saying “66 Chapatis!” (the Kenyan version of “say cheese!”) and as they held up their balloons they were showering the people underneath with drops of goop!

        After each class was through we had major clean up and had to wash the whole place down twice with brooms, buckets, rags, ect. But again these children amaze me at not only their attentiveness to learning and their ability to absorb what is taught but also their eager enthusiasm to help me with some of the less exciting tasks, like cleaning the gross floor. Yet even cleanup becomes a game when you turn up the music!

Can my students be my Valentine?


      Valentines Day is coming up. How to tell? This holiday is right next to Christmas if you are comparing how many radio ads and cards are stocking the shelves (actually valentines day beats Christmas in this category). … ok all is silly except if you pass the display of chocolate, that’s seriously necessary. The commercialization of romantic feelings cheapens the meaning of love (since love is far from chocolate and roses most of the time).

       But then look at these adorable faces below and they redeem the holiday for me… these are my valentines, each of these amazing kids. And you guys just see how beautiful they are on the outside but 10 times more on the inside, if you can believe that! The chance I have to get to know each child, like Charles, Wanga, Sabina, David and Collins- is a huge priviledge that I am treasuring constantly. They are like valentines that God has given to me in this moment… they are blessings to me every time I step into Mathare.

In Mathare, though, we connected Valentines with the One who created each of us and talked with the children about the valentine that was sent especially for them- by their Creator. After resurrecting this love holiday through the connection of receiving an everlasting love from the One who first loved us, we moved into this week’s sculpture. It was a pinch pot/coil pot combo! I had cooked clay (looks like Ugali) the night before and then instructed the children to begin with a round ball and push their thumbs into it slowly as they rotate the clay. This was the pinch pot part and as they continued and once the pot got deeper I told them to now pinch the top potion inwardly and the bottom portion outward so that the pot formed the shape of a heart. After this they rolled out coils to attach to the pot to build it up in size, connecting this to how we can grow and choose to add on character traits that reflect the love that has been shown to us… things such as love, joy, patience, humility, ect. I was actually surprised that my kids made these pots with such ease and that no one really had trouble with it. The pots turned out very well and next week I am hoping that they can paint them!

Cornstarch Clay

1 cup cornstarch

1 cup water

1 cup baking soda

½ cup salt

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together
  2. Add water and mix well.
  3. Cook clay on Medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens to the consistency of mashed potatoes
  4. Remove from heat, let cook and knead till smooth.

***I multiplied this recipe by 7 in order for us to have enough for 21 kids, plus some curious adults!

Crowns of Royalty


     Last Saturday Katherine and Andrea, 2 friends from the states who are visiting this week, came and joined me in my Mathare art class with the kids. My sculpting dough recipe transformed into cornstarch-baking soda clay because the salt dough seems to sink down as it dries and also does not dry as fast as I would prefer. It was great to have my friends there to meet the kids I work with and also participate in the class. They actually took charge of the application portion of the class, and even before we started working with the clay, the girls talked to the kids about their value as an individual and how they were created by the King. They continued the connection by saying that if our Creator is a King that makes us princes and princesses. They talked about 3 points with the children- that our King is our protector, that He is our father, and that He has a good plan for each of our lives. The children paid close attention to the teaching they shared and then afterwards I talked them through the process of making their own unique crown, one that they would want to wear as royalty in the King’s kingdom. We then gave them a variety of colored glitter to decorate the crowns, each color having significant meaning within the discussion. I’d say about 25 percent glitter actually made it onto the crowns… the other 75 sparkled all over the kids, floor and walls! They applied that stuff on themselves like makeup!

This upcoming class will involve Valentines, clay, and lots of LOVE, in light of the upcoming holiday, of course!

How We are like a Coil Pot.



I think I like doing sculpture better than painting. First off I think making something 3 dimensional captures the children’s enthusiasm and energy; they are able to both learn the process of mixing the clay as well as how to form the clay after it is mixed; I am able to connect the projects with more meaningful applications; the result of each project is a handmade object, which the children can keep; the possibilities with sculpture is expansive because of the variety of materials that are at our disposal; creativity takes a front seat and it is easy to find inexpensive projects that are very impressive.

Last Saturday was our last salt dough class. My intention with using salt dough clay so much was to introduce the kids to using clay with something simple, yet building their familiarity and skills before going on to other types of clay. We talked about the importance of what is inside of ourselves, as I walked them step-by-step, how to make a coil pot. In reiteration of the previous weeks, I connected ourselves with the clay- unga (flour- the good stuff) and chumvi (salt- the bad stuff)- all mixed up together in one form… ourselves. We start small when we are born and do not hold much knowledge, but as we grow we can hold more and store things inside ourselves. Similarly, you can build up a coil pot and as the pot grows in size it can also hold more inside of it. We brainstormed about what we would want to be inside of each one of us and wrote it on the big piece of brown paper I tape to the wall each week.

      Here are the words the kids want inside of themselves: faith, joy, peace, laughter, happiness, faith, humility, hope, love. As they patted out a piece of clay for the base of their pot, each chose one word and wrote this on the base with a sharp stick to represent that one thing that they want to be inside of them. After that I gave them a plastic cup, providing a form to wind the coil around; explaining the importance of scorning each surface before connecting the coils and then blending the coils together so that the pieces of clay do not separate. My kids are so good! They got so into this- and are becoming increasingly creative without my prompting! I saw sculpted faces, coil decorations and coffee mug handles on their pots! Once the pots dry they will be ready for painting next week!