Family Activity Inspired by Swoon’s Cosmos in Swoon: Seven Contemplations

Swoon’s Cosmos, on view in Swoon: Seven Contemplations at Albright-Knox Northland, is an evolving and expanding constellation of three-dimensional collages. This work focuses on feelings of awe, of being filled with wonder and reverence. Take inspiration from Cosmos to create your own paper sculpture.

    Installation view of Cosmos in Swoon: Seven Contemplations at Albright-Knox Northland. Photograph by Brenda Bieger and Amanda Smith.

    Getting Started

    1. How big is the universe? Can you measure it?
    2. How many shapes, colors, patterns, and textures can you think of?
    3. Have you ever been in awe? What is the most spectacular thing you have ever seen?


    • At least three pieces of paper or cardstock
    • Scissors
    • Glue, double-sided tape, or a stapler
    • Coloring materials (crayons, markers, or colored pencils)

    Artmaking Activity

    1. Use your coloring materials to create a different pattern—such as dots, lines, squiggles, and shapes—on each piece of paper. Make your patterns vibrant and colorful.

    2. Cut straight and curved lines into each sheet while being careful not to cut the sheet entirely. You will need the sheets to be centrally intact to create your sculptures. Each cut sheet will make one sculpture.

    3. Fold and bend the cut pieces inward to create negative space in between the loops. Secure the loops at connecting points of paper with your glue, tape, or stapler.

    4. Arrange your three sculptures to stand against or atop one another. Secure the sculptures to each other at points of your choosing.

    You now have one large collaged sculpture!

    Ask yourself:

    • Could I make this bigger?
    • What are my limits here?
    • What else could I create or add?

    You could create and add more sculptures in different patterns or colors. Make your sculpture as big as possible! Add string. Add ribbons. Add whatever you would like and see how wide and tall you can make your sculpture grow.


    Infinity: to be boundless or endless

    Negative space: the space between or around an object

    Three-dimensional: having length, width, and depth (for example, a box)