Art Exercise: Cooperative Sculpture

Art Exercise: Cooperative Sculpture


This exercise helps delegates work together to create a sculpture out of clay. It is ideal for classes on ceramics hand building with clay but it can also be used for a fun team building activity.

This is also a very useful exercise for creativity as it is relatively fast paced. Delegates have little time to get carried away with too much detail on any specific work and so are forced to express their creativity in a focused and meaningful way.

You can use this at the beginning of a multi-day class on making sculptures to break the ice and get people to become more comfortable with each other.

In this exercise, delegates contribute to each other’s design sequentially and everyone participates in the creation of all sculptures.


Based on the objective, improve the design that you have received from the person next to you and then pass it on to the next person.

What You Need

  • Clay
  • Workshop, tables, tools and an area to use the clay easily and safely.
  • Objective cards. You need as many objective cards as you have delegates. Examples of objectives are as follows. You can modify the list based on your specific training needs:
    • Chair
    • House
    • Car
    • Boss
    • Dolphin
    • Glasses
    • Coffee cup


  • Get the delegates to sit around a table in a circle.
  • Distribute the tools and the clay so everyone can access it.
  • Explain that you are going to give each person an objective card which they must place in front of them. Their task is to make the object described in the card. They don’t have to complete the design. All they have to do is initiate it at this point.
  • They have only 2 minutes to do this.
  • As soon as the two minutes is finished, state “change over”.
  • At this point, everyone must pass over whatever they have created along with the objective card to the person on their left.
  • Upon receiving the half-finished model and the objective, the next person should spend the next two minutes improving the design of the sculpture.
  • After two minutes, say “change over” and the process is repeated.
  • Continue until the model goes back all the way to the person who first started working on it. At this point you will have as many sculptures as delegates and everyone must have worked on every one of them.
  • Now ask delegates to place all the sculptures in the centre of the table for everyone to review. Get them to place the objective cards next to each corresponding sculpture for more clarity.
  • Follow with a discussion.


Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes

Activity: 2 * N = 16 minutes for 8 people

Group Feedback: 10 minutes


What did you think of this creative process? Did you get inspired and influenced by other people’s design and contributions? Which sculpture was your most favourite and why?

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