Big Art Adventures | Term 3

Big Art Adventures | Illuminate with Michelle Day

Big Art Adventures | 8-12 years
Illuminate with Michelle Day *

* Mary Kayser returns in Term 4

Saturday 10:30am-12:30pm or 2-4pm

Term 3 | 17 August – 21 September 2019

The fabulous Michelle Day fills in for our beloved Mary Kayser this term, as we create luminous light sculptures and moody shadow scenes. We’ll draw our inspiration from the wonders of light and illumination – from the natural light we find in the sky to the rich wonderland of illuminated creatures that nestle at the bottom of the ocean and the mysterious glowing insects and plants that hide deep in the forests. These illuminated wonders are like little treasures to spark our imaginations. Over the weeks we will study light and shadow through 2D & 3D art forms. We will use drawing and collage techniques to create night scenes. We will then build on our observations of shadow to create dreamy, moody shadow scenes through experimenting with cut-forms and shadow puppets. We will have fun playing with opaque and semi-transparent materials on backlit screens and walls.

In the final 3 weeks, we will develop our own light sculpture or night-light. We will build hollow armatures from wire and dowel and experiment with cladding these frames with translucent materials such as paper and fabric. We will also work with opaque and perforated materials such as air-drying clay. Over the term, young creators will learn about many other artists who work with light and shadow. They will develop skills in experimentation, problem-solving and will gain experience in the subtleties of light and shadow.

About Michelle Day

Michelle Day

Michelle Day is an Australian based sculptor and installation artist. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally and has been the recipient of several prestigious grants. Michelle completed her MFA (by research) at Chiang Mai University Faculty of Fine Art in 2017 and her Bachelor of Visual Arts at the ANU School of Art & Design in 2009 in Textiles and Sculpture. Michelle’s work focuses on the organic world and the wonders of nature – the beautiful and the uncomfortable. She often creates her work from translucent, delicate materials paired with illumination. Michelle uses light and illumination as a key material throughout her art practice and sees it as a representation of warmth, hope and life. She believes in learning through making and in nurturing the unique imaginations of young creators through a connection with nature and the opportunity to experiment freely, which enriches people’s ability to problem solve and think creatively in all aspects of their life.


Week 1
Step 1: Shadow Puppets & Shadow Scenes
We will draw and play with a variety of opaque, translucent and semi-translucent materials to experiment with different types of shadow and explore ways to create a shadow or silhouette scene. We will look at other artists who work with shadow and light and draw inspiration from their work and from shadows found in nature.

Week 2
Step 2: Shadow Puppets & Shadow Scenes
Continuing our shadow exploration creators will have the option to create a beautiful shadow scene on a translucent light-box screen or direct their shadows onto the wall to create ghoulish wall shadow scenes like the artist Christian Boltanski.

Week 3
Step 1: Illuminated Sculptures
We will begin the process of creating our small illuminated 3D sculptures or night-lights. These sculptures will be hollow in order to house small battery powered lights that will make the sculptures glow from within like jewels. We will experiment and learn about the structure inside the forms (the armature). We will experiment with wire and dowel to create organic frames inside the forms, as one would make a lantern frame. We will also learn about artists who create illuminated sculptures and who work with light as a medium.

Week 4
Step 2: Illuminated Sculptures
We will continue developing our illuminated sculptures working with tissue paper, fabric and other translucent materials applied over our wire and dowel frames/armatures. In addition, building on the clay skills developed in term 2, creators will be given the opportunity to experiment with air drying clay either in combination with their translucent illuminated sculptures or as separate opaque, hollow light sculptures with holes or perforations for the light to spill through. Hollow clay forms will create an interesting contrast to the translucent forms.

Week 5
Step 3: Illuminated Sculptures
We will spend our final workshop resolving and completing our glowing translucent sculptures and our opaque perforated clay light sculptures. By the final week, we will have a beautiful collection of illuminated small sculptures and shadow/night scenes to take home.

Week 6
We will learn about putting on an exhibition of our beautiful light sculptures and shadow scenes and invite parents and friends to view all our wonderful art experiments and creations.



All materials will be provided.


Please indicate your class time preference (10:30am or 2pm) by selecting one of the start dates below. Should you find that your chosen class is full, please add yourself to the waiting list on Eventbrite and you will be contacted if a place becomes available.

More info

Please contact Belconnen Arts Centre via email, or phone (02) 6173 3300.

Header image: Bougies Les Ombres (1944) by Christian Boltanski.