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About this video

Sustainability, the environment and the role of women in society are all themes that artist and sculptor Ros Burgin has explored in her work. But why use bicycle tyres, escalator handrails, fishing net rollers or magazines rather than clay or bronze?


Discussion suggestions

  • What materials does Ros Burgin use to make her sculptures?
  • Are these materials that you expect to see sculptures made from?
  • Do you think her use of ordinary everyday materials and objects affects how we look at her sculptures?
  • What techniques does Ros Burgin use?
  • Do you like her sculptures? Which of the sculptures discussed in the video do you find the most interesting and why?
  • Do you think her sculptures are just something to look at or do you think she uses them to put across a message?
  • Can you think of any other artists that use ‘found’ everyday objects or materials in their work?


Found objects and materials in art

Find out about some of the different ways artists have used found objects from the early twentieth century to the present day, in this Art UK Curation:

Discover more artworks on Art UK made from found objects and materials:

Activity suggestion: investigate everyday materials

Ros Burgin describes her approach to sculpture as 'playing' with the materials and seeing what she can make them do.

Gather a selection of found objects and/or everyday materials. (These could be magazines or old books, plastic bags, plastic bottles, bicycle tyres or inner tubes, balls of wool, soft toys… anything that can be manipulated into different shapes.)

Task students with selecting one or two materials and 'playing' with them.

  • What does the material naturally do?
  • What you can make it do by pulling and pushing it?
  • Can you force the material to do something that it doesn’t want to do?
  • Fold or bend it, cut it up and re-arrange it, turn it inside out…
  • Is your finished object more interesting than what you started with?

Once students have discovered the possibilities of their material, task them with planning and making a simple sculpture. They could combine different found objects to create their sculpture.

The sculpture could be an abstract shape or a representation of something from the real world (e.g. a figure, an animal, a plant a building or an item of clothing).

Ros Burgin often explores themes in her work such as the environment and the role of women in society. Challenge students to think of ways that they could use their sculptures to put across a message about something that is important to them.

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