Like any form of art, doing sculpture with teens helps them make sense of their life, relationships and encourages growth.
As youth walk through the world they face several difficult things to navigate, including heartbreak, sexual development, friendship, drug and alcohol use, family dynamics and decisions about the future.
Being a mentor for youth, God has placed you in a unique position to help them make sense of it all. And art, with its many applications, is a great way to do so.
Do you incorporate sculpture with teens in your ministry? We’d love to know how in the comments below!
Just a Starting Point
There are countless ways to help teens process what’s going on in their lives. Art with teens is a helpful avenue with endless possibilities.We’ve put together a list of just five ideas in this blog series: art journaling, sculpture, painting, poetry, and photography.
No matter our age, we connect to our Creator as we live into our own creativity. God shapes us as a potter molds clay, and we’re a part of that collaboratively creative process. Sculpture is a cool way for your youth to experience this metaphor.
We hope these sculpture ideas help them make sense of their world, connect to God and discover themselves, too.
Laying the Foundation for the Process
All of us, especially teens, develop through a process of trial and error. Art can be the same way as we create through play. We try a thing and see what happens, becoming familiar with the medium and adjusting along the way.
When making art as a form of spiritual formation, there is no specific goal except to listen internally. Each of your youth has a unique story and perspective. As you teach them to listen to the voice within, you facilitate their process of connection with God. So, assure them that there is no wrong or right way to sculpt.
When doing art with teens, help them trust their intuition, because it is the wisdom guiding them in their process of exploration and growth. As youth learn to trust this, they uncover who God has created and is creating them to be.
Ideas for Doing Sculpture with Teens
Many youth can feel self-conscious and insecure when doing art. When doing sculpture with teens try using unconventional materials, or allow them to only use one hand or have them close their eyes while sculpting. These tactics help the kids feel that talent isn’t a factor in their process.
Give each student a roll of aluminum foil and a prompt, e.g.: the state of their life currently, what God looks like, what they hope for this year. Then, set a timer and let them create. When time is up, lead a discussion, encouraging them to describe and explain their sculptures.
Give each student three colors of playdough. They can mix their colors or not. Next, give them a prompt such as creating their greatest passion or what they imagine Heaven to be. Then, ask them what it was like to use that medium. Discuss their sculptures together as a group and give an opportunity for them to describe what they did and why.
Wood Scrap Sculptures
Gather wood scraps from your congregation or local home improvement store. Usually, stores will allow you to take scraps for free. Stop at a craft store to grab wooden shapes, too. Non-representational items encourage imagination and can be used more freely. So, try to stick to those.
Provide the kids with wood glue, sandpaper, wood files, paints, etc. Then, invite them to create something that’s meaningful to them or simply to pay attention to the process of creation. Then, discuss the experience and what they’ve made.
Provide the kids with various materials they can use to create sculptures. Then, give them time for free sculpting. Tell them that they can use this time to talk to God, meditate, relax, or create something specific. This can be a great time for teens to simply quiet their minds and do something that makes no demand on them.
We hope these ideas have inspired you to think of sculpture with teens as a spiritual practice. Have you seen the power of sculpture with your youth? Don’t forget to tell us about it in the comments below!