Saturday, May 7, 2011

The concept of scale in art (The roses of Will Ryman) Part I

Project objective(s):
- Discuss the concept of scale as found in Will Ryman's work
- Examine the connection of art and the environment
- The variety of materials in creating large scale works
- Create your own gigantic roses in the style of Will Ryman

Will Ryman is a New York based artist who created 38 large scale sculptures of rose blossoms towering as high as 25 feet. In every cluster of roses he placed a ladybug, beetle, aphid or bee, thus making reference to the viewers' own bug's- eye- view of his gigantic roses.

“With these roses I wanted to do something that was larger than life and site-specific. In my work I always try to combine fantasy with reality. In the case of The Roses, I tried to convey New York City’s larger than life qualities through scale; creating blossoms which are imposing, humorous, and hopefully beautiful,” comments artist Will Ryman.

Beauty "roses", and the Beast " the buildings".

His work forces the viewer to look at things from a bug's -eye- view.

Will Ryman and his gigantic roses in the artist studio.

Since this will be a large scale project I decided to include Kindergarten, second, third and fourth grade students.
This project provides an excellent opportunity for students to understand cooperation and exchange of ideas. The final product will be displayed in our school's library.

Materials for the roses and brunches
Freezer Paper, Plastic Coated, 75ft
Tempera paint
Liquid water color
Masking tape, or glue
Brunches of trees ( fallen from our trees in our school's Nature Trail)
Aluminum foil

The Kindergarten students painting the sheets of the Freezer paper.
We painted the dull side of the paper.

Understanding the problem with scale.
Not enough space on the table for the large pieces of paper.

The paper is dry and ready for folding.

We covered the brunches in aluminium foil.

Third and fourth grade students hard at work.
The involvement of our bodies in completing our task.

Second, third and fourth grade students are folding the paper to create the petals of the roses.
We marked the center of the Plastic Coated side of the freezer paper and pinched it.
We used our fingers to manipulate the folds of the paper to resemble rose petals.

We placed folded masking tape on the center of each sheet of paper and placed the additional pieces of paper on top of each other. The top three pieces of paper were cut progressively smaller.

The first part of this project is accomplished.

Two blooming roses.


  1. Those are really nice. I'm in the process of making flowers for our schools Spring concert. These would be great to give a try. Any suggestions before I give them a try?

  2. For the Spring concert I would hug the roses from a string instead of attaching them on a stem.
    You can paunch two holes in one or two of the petals for the strings to go through.
    Have some roses hug lower and some higher.
    You can also have the students paint the roses different colors.

    Also you can attach the roses on a long piece of bulletin board paper, placing them 6 inches apart.
    Since you will be using different flowers, you can create interesting patterns.

    I hope this helps.

    Good luck with the Spring concert

  3. How did you attach the stems?

  4. When we folded the paper we left a small piece so that we could wrapped it around the stem.
    We used a lot of masking tape to secure the roses on the stems.

  5. Thanks so much! I am making these, but experimenting tonight. I am using tempra, which seems to make the edges curl a little bit, but also makes for interesting and natural design. I saw Will Ryman's flowers, and this is the closest representation I have seen using easy mediums!
    Thanks so much!