Materials and Process

Learn how artists create art through process videos, printable guides and a materials-focused slideshow. This resource features work in plaster, bronze and steel.

Materials & Process Teaching Guide

This resource is designed to introduce students in grades 4 – 12 to the materials and processes used in modern and traditional sculpture, specifically bronze, plaster and steel. The featured sculptures, drawn from the collection of the Nasher Sculpture Center, range from 1881 to 2001 and represent only some of the many materials and processes used by artists whose works of art are in the collection.

Images from this packet are also available in a PowerPoint presentation for use in the classroom.

Images of Matisse's Madeleine with didactic text

Download Materials and Process Teaching Resource (PDF)

Download Materials and Process Slideshow (PPT)





Plaster casting video demonstration

Michael O’Keefe received a BA from Muhlenberg College and received an MFA from Southern Methodist University. He also studied at the New York Studio School, the Maryland Institute, College of Art and the International School of Art in Umbria, Italy. O'Keefe currently lives, works and teaches in Dallas, Texas.

A man applies liquid plaster to a clay mold of a a woman's head


Watch full version on YouTube

Watch short version on YouTube




Bronze casting video demonstration

Deborah Ballard and David Dreyer lead a bronze pour at Southern Methodist University.

Image of a glowing crucible pouring molten bronze

Watch full version on YouTube

Watch short version on YouTube





Welding video demonstration

Paige Furr is a teacher of welding and 3-D design at Booker T. Washington School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

Image of a welding torch making sparks

Watch on YouTube






Lost Wax Casting Handout

Designed for secondary students and above, this printable guide offers a visual walk-through of the process used to cast Aristide Maillol's Night in bronze.

cutaway view of a sculpture showing layers of a mold for casting


Download (PDF)





How Do You Cast a Sculpture?

Ideal for elementary students, this printable cartoon gives a simplified explanation of the casting process.
Cartoon of a scultpture coming out of a mold


Download (PDF)




How Do You Cast from Life?

Based on the work of George Segal, this printable cartoon for elementary students offers a basic description of life casting.
Cartoon of a person having sections of their body cast in plaster

Download (PDF)

Nasher Sculpture Center
2001 Flora Street
Dallas, Texas 75201
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