Tate Kids



Twisted Words

Tate St Ives

The Idea

Richard Deacon is an artist and sculptor who has created works using unusual materials such as steel, wood, plastic, leather and cloth. He has used steamed wood for his more recent works. Deacon steamed ash to a very high temperature so it would form coils, which look like things like roller coasters or giant waves. If you look at pictures of his sculpture Restless you should be able to think of many describing words that will help you understand why the artist works like this.

Richard Deacon, Restless


The Plan

You are going to create long twisting sculptures using strips of paper or card and a mind full of imaginative words!


You Need

  • Different pieces of paper and card cut into long strips. Use different colours and textures like corrugated cardboard or metallic card if you can.
  • Sticky tape, glue or staples and a stapler.
  • Different markers including felt tips pens.

Do it!

  • Write down a list of words that describe the appearance of Richard Deacon’s sculpture Restless.
  • Put some of the words together to make unusual or silly phrases like spaghetti hair for example.
  • Carefully cut out long strips of your paper and card.
  • Write some of your descriptive words or phrases along the strip, using different types of letting such as big, small, bubble writing, mirror-writing…you choose.
  • Twist your strips of paper or card into spirals or knots.
  • Join the ends of the strips with tape, glue or staples (you might need a adult to help you if use the stapler).

Top Tips

  • Keep adding new twisted strips to make bigger, fancier sculptures.
  • Try hanging them like mobiles or arranging them in your own way.
  • Take photos of your twisted word sculpture against different backgrounds like wooden floorboards or plants and trees out in the garden.
See It