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Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois, Spider, 1996, cast 1997

Louise Bourgeois, Spider, 1996, cast 1997, bronze with silver nitrate patina, Gift of The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, 1997.136.1

Louise Bourgeois made many sculptures of spiders. Some are just a few inches tall (as big as an apple) and some are over thirty feet tall (as big as a building). To the artist, the spider—patient and protective—was a symbol for her mother.


What five words would you use to describe this sculpture?

How many legs does it have? Count them.

Imagine if this sculpture came to life. How would it move? How might people react to it? What do you think the spider would want to do?



The Itsy Bitsy Spider

by Maddie Frost

The story of the classic children's song.


La pequeña arañita

by Chad Thompson

The story of the classic children's song, translated into Spanish.


Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois

by Amy Novesky and Isabelle Arsenault

This book offers the biography of Bourgeois and tells the story of her close relationship with her mother.

MAKE: A symbolic sculpture

You will need:

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Lightweight wire 

Think of an important person in your life—a family member, teacher, friend, or even yourself! What makes that person special? What words would you use to describe that person? What do they like to do?

Now think of an animal or creature that shares one or more of those special things that remind you of your important person. Like Louise Bourgeois, you can use an animal as a symbol to represent that person.

Before you begin working with the wire, you might want to draw your animal or creature with your pencil and paper.

Then, carefully bend and twist the wire to create a sculpture of your animal or creature. Try wrapping or coiling the wire around a pencil to make its rounded parts.

Display your sculpture so that you can see all of its sides, or use string to hang it in the air. What will you call it?


  • coil
  • protective
  • represent
  • sculpture
  • symbol

Register for the Art Tales pre-K school tour

Send images of your students' projects that follow these activities - email [email protected]