Line Sculpture & Shadow Tracing

APRIL 2 2020

Author: Sarah Clowe, Director of Art Programs

Materials: Colored paper, scissors, glue, pencils

Note: If you don't have colored paper use what you have!  Cardboard from snack boxes make great bases, and paper can be cut from old magazines, cards and gift bags.

In 2019 the museum held the exhibition, Shape and Shadow: The Sculpture of Larry Kagan  and today's blog project is inspired by Kagan's use of line and shadows in his work.  Through the support of the National Endowment of the Arts, the Albany Institute of History interviewed four artists including Larry Kagan for a special series called Artists' Voices.  Learn more about Larry Kagan's art by streaming the video at the end of this post.

Step 1: Paper Strips

Use scissors to cut a collection of strips from your colored paper.  You may choose to cut all straight lines or experiment and cut out variations like zig zags or even spirals.

Step 2: Attaching your papers & building

Fold “feet” (tabs) at the ends of strips of paper and spread glue underneath. Using "feet" or tabs helps to ensure that the pieces stay securely glued.  Paper strips can be added to the sculpture base, on top of, below, behind, or next to the first strip.

Step 3: Line experimentation and variation

Try adding different line types to your sculpture. Line variations may be created by folding or twisting the paper strips, and cutting thick and thin pieces. A curl can be created by wrapping a strip of paper tightly around a pencil.

Step 4: Shadow Tracing

Place a blank piece of paper behind your sculpture and shine a bright light from a flashlight or phone onto your creation.  Move the light around until you have a nice shadow filling your blank page.  Ask a family member to hold the light for you while you use a pencil to trace the shadows.  The shadow tracing will create another interesting piece of line art!

Artists' Voices: Larry Kagan Video

The Albany Institute of History & Art has multiple works of Larry Kagan in its collection. Visit our Collections Database to see more including: