Jan 21, 2022 Activities & Education Look at Nancy Schön’s Tortoise and Hare and make a soft sculpture inspired by story characters! Look Closer: Nancy Schön, Tortoise and Hare, 2009, silicon bronze, Tortoise: 29 x 29 x 60 in., Hare: 36 x 24 x 29 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2009.8. These sculptures are inspired by “The Tortoise and the Hare,” a story that tells how the slow and steady tortoise beat the arrogant hare in a race. Tired of the hare boasting about his speed, the tortoise challenges him to a race. While the hare is fast, he is so sure of his success that he stops to take a nap. When he wakes, he sees that the tortoise has arrived at the end before him! What lessons can you learn from this story? “The Tortoise and the Hare” is a fable, a short story that teaches a lesson. Often, fables feature animal characters. Can you think of another fable you’ve heard before? The artist Nancy Schön is known for creating sculptures inspired by children’s literature. What are some of your favorite books? Who are the characters in the story? Activity: Make a Soft Sculpture Inspired by Your Favorite Story Materials: Pencil Large felt sheets Permanent marker Tacky glue Polyester stuffing Scissors Stirring stick Binder clip Optional: needle and thread Instructions: Step 1: Think of the shapes that make up a character from your favorite story. Take a sheet of drawing paper and fold it in half. On the half-size paper, draw the main shape of your character. Add details on top such as textures, clothes, and facial features. Step 2: Cut out the shape with a pair of scissors to make two paper templates. Step 3: Think about the colors of your favorite character, and choose the main color of felt you’d like to use. Place your paper templates on the large felt sheet, and trace your shapes with a permanent marker. Step 4: Cut out your two large shapes. Place a line of tacky glue on the edges of one large shape. Leave one edge without glue. This will create an opening for stuffing later. Put the other large shape on top of the one with tacky glue. Make sure the edges line up with each other. Set this shape aside to dry. Note: If you are comfortable, you can also use a needle and thread to sew your shapes together. This method will create the most secure seam. Step 5: Redraw the details of your character on different colors of felt. Cut out all the drawn felt shapes and glue them onto your larger felt shape. Step 6: After the glue has dried, fill up your soft sculptures with polyester stuffing. You can use a stirring stick to help place the stuffing in hard-to-reach areas. Seal off the remaining edges with tacky glue and use binder clips to hold in place. Step 7: Leave your soft sculptures to fully dry overnight. After drying, try acting out a story with your sculptures! Thanks so much for making art with me and enjoy exploring! Written by Marie Hofer, educator, Crystal Bridges.