When it comes to materials, many artists are resourceful. To create his sculptures, Haitian blacksmith Georges Liautaud (1899–1991) used discarded steel drums that were left on the island. Liautaud cut and flattened the round drums, used fire to clean off the oil and dirt, and drew designs on the metal in preparation for sculpting. He then cut, punched holes in, and embossed (or pushed into the metal to create raised marks) the material. He was the first artist to create sculptures in this way. Liautaud taught this technique to many other blacksmiths and artists in Haiti. Today, it is still one of the country’s most popular art forms.
To make your own recycled metal masterpiece, you will need:
- Gently used aluminum foil (washed and dried)
- Glue stick
- Hole punch (optional)
Flatten and smooth your foil as much as possible.
Fold your foil in half, and then unfold it. Use your glue stick to spread glue across both sides of the fold. Fold the foil in half again, pressing down so that both sides stick together. This will make your material thicker and more durable.
Lay your folded foil on top of a soft surface (a pad of paper is a great option).
Use a dull pencil to start embossing your design. Press hard enough to leave a mark in the foil, but do not push all the way through. When finished, you should be able to see your design from both sides!
Use a hole punch to add to your design.
Cut out your design. Household scissors will work just fine.
What metal masterpiece will you make? Post a photo on social media, and invite us to check it out! Tag @MilwaukeeArt and use #MAMStudioAtHome.
Kohl’s Studio at Home activities are designed to be enjoyed with the whole family, regardless of age. Families can work together to learn new techniques and materials, and to explore creativity. As with all new things, provide your child the support and supervision that they need for their developmental level, practicing safe use of tools and materials. You know your kids best!
Brett Henzig is the Youth & Family Programs Educator. He manages the Kohl’s Art Studio, leads school tour workshops, and teaches Youth Studio Classes and Summer Art Camps. Outside the Museum, you’ll find Brett making art, rescuing injured wild animals, and spending time with his wife, son, dog, cat, and rabbit.