Activity: Explore Form and Function with Vases

  • Grades: All Ages
  • Subjects: Art Activities

Four vases from our collection represent objects from various time periods and regions of the world. In this activity, we’ll use these vases as inspiration to explore form and function and make our own sketch of a vase.

Discuss with These Questions:

  • Look carefully at each of the four vases presented. Slow down and trace each vase’s outline with your eyes.
  • What do the vases have in common? How are they different?
  • What do you imagine the texture of each vase surface feels like? Is it smooth? Rough? Slick?
  • Write down three words to describe each vase. Why did you select those adjectives?
  • When something serves a purpose, we call that its function. What might you put in each of these vases? Why did you make these decisions?
  • Vases often hold water and flowers. Look back at the vases presented. How do their openings compare? How many flowers do you imagine you could put in each? Do the flowers have long stems or short stems?

Get Creative: Sketch a Vase

Grab a pencil or pen and some paper. We’re going to explore form and function even further by sketching a vase!

  1. Try to sketch the contour line (outline) of each vase in the pictures.
  2. Vases are a form of vessels. Look around you for other forms of vessels, which are often created to hold liquid. Are you drinking water or another beverage right now? What does your beverage vessel look like? What is it made of? What does it feel like to hold it?
  3. Using a contour line (outline) design a vase. Think about the function you would like this form to have. Does it need to be tall or short? Have handles to carry? Is the opening wide or narrow? If you were to make this, what material would you use? Why?
  4. Once you have determined the shape of the vase, draw something in your vase. Think about what it will hold. Is it a bouquet? Flowering branches? A houseplant? Spaghetti? Pens or pencils? Treasure?