Integumentary Experiments: a Mixed Media Sculptural Workshop


Date: June 27 - July 1, 2022 (Summer)
Medium: Mixed Media
Instructor: Leslie Pearson (email)
Skill Level: All Skill Levels

During this workshop students will create small 3-D sculptures using wire, hog intestines, fabric, paper, and wax. Using simple hand tools, you will learn to make free form wire armature, covering them in gut, and then embellishing them by adding layers of fabric, paper, encaustic wax, personal ephemera, and small embeds. The goal is to better understand making sculptural textiles and working with alternative materials. Participants may bring personal ephemera such as small buttons, thread, bits of fabric, or handwritten letters to embed in between layers of the gut to create a more expressive narrative piece. Advanced students can create multiple forms and bifurcated shapes. Open to all skill levels.

At this time, registration for Integumentary Experiments is closed.

Supply List

Supplies are subject to change. A final list will be emailed to each participant before the first day of class.

  • Various small handheld pliers that are comfortable to use for long periods of time. The best I've used are what jewelers use and are available in craft stores. Try to find them with a spring action that will open easily as you work. Students will need a round nose, a needle nose with teeth to grip the wire and one to cut the wire. These can usually be purchased together as a kit. These can also be shared but it's nicer to have a set for each.
  • Scissors 
  • A couple of old hand towels
  • Matte gel medium
  • Paint brushes for using with gel medium (any kind is fine they will get ratty)
  • Encaustic medium
  • Natural hair paint brushes for using encaustic medium
  • A couple of paper *plates for matte medium
  • Wire: at least 2 rolls of 19 gauge dark annealed steel wire in small rolls of 100 ft. The dark annealed is important to getting the rusting look. Other wires will work but they will have a different look. Copper or galvanized steel will work with different results. The gauge is important because this is the size that can be worked with the hands but also hold its shape when the gut starts to dry and shrink. Wire will be available for purchase from instructor.
  • *Hand lotion is good to have since the gut is salty and hands can get dry.
  • Wooden base(s). These can be various shapes and sizes from the craft store or, even better, a small tree limb cut down into disks. Whatever makes sense but the organic nature of the branches would be nice. I've also used pieces of driftwood or large animal bones. Students may opt to not have a base too.
  • Optional: Participants may bring in personal ephemera such as small buttons, thread, bits of fabric such as dyed or rusted silk organza or old handwritten letters to embed in between layers of the gut creating a more expressive narrative piece. Advanced students can create multiple forms and move on to bifurcated shapes.
  • Griddle for encaustic
  • Heat gun for encaustic

Estimated cost: students will spend $20.00-$30.00

Studio Fee

All workshops have a studio fee. Fees are collected at the end of the workshop and payable by check or credit card. MU no longer accepts cash.

Estimated studio fee for this workshop: $TBD*

*The final cost may vary depending on the actual cost of materials at the time of the workshop. It is possible for fees to be less or greater than the range indicated depending upon individual student usage.

Studio supply fees are an estimate and can be subject to change due to supply chain issues or transportation cost.

About the Instructor

Leslie Pearson is a multimedia artist who lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She has a BFA from Southeast Missouri State University, an MA in Museum Studies from Newcastle University, and an MFA in Textile Design from East Carolina University. Pearson utilizes many fiber-based materials, processes, and techniques to create sculptures, installations, encaustic paintings, and handmade books in which she explores themes of memory and identity.