Home – Assemblage Sculpture


Assemblage Sculpture

Grade Level

Secondary – Beginner


Everyone has a place they call home. Maybe they live there now. Maybe they used to live there but now live somewhere else.  Maybe it does not exist anymore, but for a time there was a place they called home.  For most people, the concept of “home” is not just based on location, but also based on the emotions that are connected with that location.  One could say that “home” is more a state of mind than a geographical location.  Also, the concept of home is to a great degree influenced by the things we see in our homes. These could include family pictures, textiles, wall coverings, tile patterns, masonry design, paintings, sculptures, furniture, appliances, and landscaping.  Exploring these items through art allows us to examine the connections they have to our individual concept of “home” to a greater degree. When we revisit the patterns, textures, and images from our home, through art-making, we can discover what they truly mean to us and how much they influence our concept of home. 

Essential Questions

1. How do our parents (or guardians) contribute to our initial concept of home?
2. How can we recreate our home in a new location?


•   Students will be able identify visual items in their parents home that most significantly contribute to their initial concept of home.
•   Students will know how to construct a three-dimensional work of art using improvised building materials and techniques.
•   Students will demonstrate an understanding of different image development strategies, like multiplication, juxtaposition, fragmentation, and rotation by creating a three-dimensional work of art


The teacher will begin the lesson by asking how many students in class still live in their first childhood home.  Then, the students will be asked to name some items from the first childhood home they remember.  The items should be written on the white board in list form.   The teacher will follow up with the fist Essential Question, “How do our parents contribute to our initial concept of home?”  

Next the teacher will introduce the artist, Abraham Cruzvillegas, with a video about his work.  After learning about Cruzvillegas and the concept of autoconstrucción, the students will be instructed to go home and look for five to ten items, patterns, or textures in their own home.  These items should be unique.  Students will take pictures of these items with their tablet or smart phone, and bring them to class the next day.  They will also need to upload the images to a shared folder on Google Drive or DropBox.

The next class will begin with another video about Abraham Cruzvillegas, featuring his Autoconstrucción Suites exhibit at the Walker Art Center from 2013.  The teacher will then present a slide show about assemblage sculpture and different image development strategies.  This slideshow will also include examples of work from Abraham Cruzvillegas and Robert Rauschenberg.  Students will go through the slideshow on their devices and take notes in their sketchbooks.  The teacher will download all the images from the shared folder and print them out, in color.  Once all the images are printed, the teacher will explain to the students that they will be making a “community of things”, otherwise known as assemblage.   But first, the students will use the printed out reproductions of their items as practice.  

The teacher will bring up a the slide with the four image development strategies and their definitions (multiplication, juxtaposition, fragmentation, and rotation).  Students will cut up and fold their printed images into different three-dimensional forms.  They can use tape or hot glue to attach their pieces.  The teacher will print duplicates for those students who need them.  At the end of class, students will be instructed to go home and procure any of their items that they can, to be used in an assemblage piece that will be constructed the next day.  Students need not destroy the items they bring to incorporate them into the art — work can be disassembled when the project is completed.  Each student must bring at least five items or materials.

For the final part of this lesson, students will use the items and materials they brought from home and combine them into one piece of assemblage sculpture.  Items can be connected with hot glue, or wire.  The teacher should visit with each student briefly at the beginning of class to make sure they have what they need to get started.   Use of the hot glue guns should be closely supervised, and it would be best to have them set up in one location so their use can be more easily monitored. 

Guided Practice

Did any of your parents build your homes?  What do you think about building something without any money, or any knowledge of construction techniques?  What do you think about using found objects in sculptures?  What do you like about this image?  What do you dislike about this image?  Why do we call assemblage a “community of things”? 


When there are ten minutes left in class it is time to clean up.  After clean-up, when all students are again seated quietly, use the Guided Practice questions to lead a brief discussion before ending class.


Guided Practice questions will be used as formative assessment. If the students are unable to answer these questions, then they will need to be rephrased or simplified in a way that allows the students to demonstrate that learning is taking place. If a student is not clear on what they should be doing, the teacher will sit with them on an individual or small group basis and re-demonstrate the tasks that are required for the day’s lesson.

A simple rubric, found here, will be used for formative assessment.  


•  117.111 (b)(1)(A) – explore ideas from life experiences about self, peers, family, school, or community and from the imagination as sources for original works of art;
•  117.111 (b)(2)(A) – integrate ideas drawn from life experiences to create original works of art;
•  117.111 (b)(2)(C) – produce drawings; paintings; prints; sculpture, including modeled forms; and other art forms such as ceramics, fiber art, constructions, mixed media, installation art, digital art and media, and photographic imagery using a variety of materials.
•  117.111 (b)(3)(A) – identify simple main ideas expressed in artworks from various times and places;

National Art Standards

•  Anchor Standard #1. Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
•  Anchor Standard #6. Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.
•  Anchor Standard #7. Perceive and analyze artistic work.
•  Anchor Standard #8. Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
•  Anchor Standard #10. Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.