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Art Collection Education Haitian Studio at Home

Kohl’s Art Generation Studio at Home: Recycled Metal Masterpiece

Learn to make your own recycled masterpiece like Haitian blacksmith Georges Liautaud.

Sculpture made of recycled metal in the shape of a sitting child
Georges Liautaud, Child of the Sea, ca. 1959 (detail). Cut and forged metal. Gift of Richard and Erna Flagg.
Sculpture made of recycled metal in the shape of a sitting child
Georges Liautaud, Child of the Sea, ca. 1959. Cut and forged metal. Gift of Richard and Erna Flagg.

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
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch (optional)
Directions

Flatten and smooth your foil as much as possible.

Piece of foil laying on a table

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.

Glue stick laying on top of a piece of foil

Lay your folded foil on top of a soft surface (a pad of paper is a great option).

Large pink legal pad with a pencil ad square piece of foil on top

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.

Mermaid embossed in a piece of foil with holes punched along the outside

Cut out your design. Household scissors will work just fine.

Foil cut-out of a mermaid in the water

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.

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