Make a sculpture worthy of the Turner Prize!


To celebrate this year’s Turner Prize exhibition (not to mention our brand new ART SHOW issue of AQUILA magazine), you’re going to make a sculpture. ‘What’s a sculpture?’ you ask. That’s an excellent question! A sculpture is a piece of art that is three dimensional (3D) and made to express an idea. There are four basic processes that artists use to create sculptures; casting, modelling, carving and constructing. 

We’re going to take inspiration for our sculpture from a Turner Prize winning artist called Richard Deacon. You can take a look at some of his work here

Richard won the Turner Prize in 1987. He works with lots of different everyday materials including metals, plastic and ceramics, and has also made sculptures from laminated wood, polycarbonate, leather and clay. Some of his work has featured negative as well as positive space, straight-sided 3D shapes, elongated shapes and overlapping curves and twists.

Picture of a clock and gauge dial illustrations depicting the time of 1 hour plus for the length of the activity and a gauge of 2/3 for the difficulty of the activity


– Six interesting objects small enough to fit in your hand

– Paper for writing and drawing

– Pencil

– A selection of the following: recycled packaging, cardboard tubes, newspaper

– Pens

– Scissors

– Tape

– PVA glue



Look around your environment and collect six interesting objects that are small enough to fit in your hand. Each object should be different from the next, some might be hard and pointy, like a pencil, some could be soft and squishy, like a cushion, some should be man-made, like an egg cup, and some natural, like a seed pod. Hold each shape in your hand. Turn it upside down and around. Look closely at it. Does it have an inside and an outside? Is it hollow or full? Fragile or tough? Think of as many words to describe each object as possible. Write these words down on a piece of paper. 


Pick three of the words you’ve written down – it’s particularly fun if your three words are very different from each other. Your sculpture is going to have these three qualities. 


Keeping your three words in mind, explore ways of changing the materials you’re going to use. Try rolling, folding and taping things together, try cutting, tearing and scrunching. Can you make a piece of newspaper feel soft and squishy? Could you make a sheet of tissue paper feel hard and pointy? At this stage you could make a maquette – that’s a small preliminary model or a sketch in preparation for your final piece. Make as many maquettes and sketches as you like – these should explore your three words in as many different ways as possible.

To explore more curved and rounded shapes try rolling up plain paper or newspaper. How can you make a rolled shape that remains solid and strong as well as flexible?


If you want to, you can leave it there. But if you’re feeling super inspired, why not go ahead and make a final piece. Take your favourite elements of your sketches and maquettes and go for it! Some of Richard Deacon’s sculptures are very large indeed, but yours doesn’t have to be. It could even be very small like these.

Willard Wigan – The Smallest Sculptures


Think about how you’d like to display your finished work. What kind of space is it suited to?

Make sure you display it somewhere for everyone to see and admire!

"Breed" by Richard Deacon. Photo by Pedro Ribeiro Simões from Lisboa, Portugal, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Have you enjoyed making your sculpture? Then you’d love all the clever, creative and unique makes in AQUILA magazine. Why not click here, to subscribe today!

Words by John Davis