Too little three-dimensional work is done in our schools, so any publication that supports and encourages it - especially in primary schools - is to be welcomed. This little volume makes a useful contribution to the range of practical handbooks available to the primary teacher.
Fully illustrated with colour and black and white photographs showing completed work and work in progress, the book contains a good range of practical advice and guidance on how to work with clay, plaster, card and junk materials, wood and wire. There are also ideas on how to enrich and extend work through contextual references, including visits to galleries and museums as well as by working alongside artists-in-residence. An introductory chapter explains just what children learn as they are helped and encouraged to experience a range of three-dimensional activities.
Sculptural Materials in the Classroom shows work by children from across the primary range and includes some good examples from 10 and 11-year-olds, a challenging age group.
Detailed technical information is provided, although the book assumes some previous knowledge on the part of the teacher. In some instances it would have been helpful if explanatory diagrams had been included to support the text.
Teachers who hesitate to try anything beyond their experience or who think that they might lose control of the learning situation when using something as potentially messy as plaster in the classroom should take heart and follow the encouragement given by Peter Clough when he says: "The excitement of learning together, and the pleasure and involvement of the children is ... full justification for this business of making, and well worth the effort." I couldn't agree more.
Malcolm Lockey is director of Arts in Education Network.