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webb sketch

Nancy Webb
Charles Park

Title: Untitled
Date: 1992
Materials: Bronze
Dimensions: 11 high-reliefs ranging in size from 2" to 4" diameter x 2" to 3" deep; 28 low-reliefs ranging in size from 5" to 15" diameter x 3/8" deep
Location: Commercial Avenue at the intersection of Charles Street; scattered around the Park

Seeing and experiencing

Nancy Webb's Canal Park installation reminds us that Cambridge isn't just for buildings and humans - it's also home to many different kinds of insects and plants. Webb's small bronze sculptures hide next to park benches and peek from under pachysandra leaves, representing the rich biodiversity in our own backyards.

Explore the park. Think of it as a treasure hunt.
How many of Webb's small sculptures can you find?

bugs

Now find ten living examples of the bugs and plants that Webb has sculpted. How true to life are her sculptures? What details has she included or excluded in any individual piece?

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Onsite

What you will need:
Sketchpad or paper, pen or pencil, magnifying glass.

Observe a plant or bug. Sketch or write everything that you notice. Repeat the same exercise with a friend. Compare notes. Did you see the same things? Study all the different parts of an insect or plant. What is the function of each part?

Now look at Webb's sculptures or the park's living plants with a magnifying glass. What do you notice that you couldn't see before? Now sketch what you see through the magnifier. Does this new perspective change the way you draw the object?

 

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Hand-on

Drawing
What you will need:
Sketchpad or paper, pen, pencil or crayons.

If you were a small insect what would the world look like to you? Suppose you were a cricket or ant walking in the grass when a human foot stomped right next to you. What would that feel like? Draw a picture from a bug's point of view. Think of the setting -- your house, the playground, a street, a park -- and imagine what these scenes look like from the perspective of being very small.

Collage
What you will need:
Notebook, pen, plastic baggie for collecting, clear contact paper, stapler.

Take a walk in your neighborhood. Collect flowers, plants, bugs, leaves or any other natural material (don't pick anything from someone's garden unless you get permission).

When you return home, cut two same-sized large rectangles and several smaller rectangles from the contact paper. Arrange a collage of your collection for the larger pieces of contact paper. Put the sticky side of one rectangle face up and stick your collage objects to this surface. Label the objects if you wish. Then sandwich the objects with the second large piece of contact paper (sticky side down). Place your collage in a window to see the objects more clearly.

Sort some of your collection by object, color or shape. Sandwich these smaller groups together between two same-size pieces of contact paper. Each "sandwich" is like the page of a book. Gather your pages and staple them together. You have a created a field guide to your neighborhood!

Drawing
What you will need:
Modeling clay (Sculpey or Fimo).

Create clay insect sculptures. After making one bug, sculpt a whole series! When you're done, hide them around your backyard, bedroom or neighborhood park. Invite your friends and family to hunt for your hidden treasures.

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