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Guardian sculptures


Fallen leaves, animals, rainbows, and love … these were among the inspirations for the stunning guardian sculptures created by our Kona grade 4 and 5 students.

Harnessing the theme of “Inspired by Nature,” students started by gathering natural elements during a walk at a local beach park. They collected twigs, pebbles, and leaves, and brought them back to campus to work into their mixed-media creations. 

Each students’ sculpture represents an inner resource or a tribute to someone or something that is profoundly meaningful in their lives. They also prepared artist statements to share the thought that went into their work and what they learned along the way.

Teacher Ms Burr says her students loved the project. “They also learned adaptability when things didn’t go as planned, and that creativity manifests itself in different ways through experiential learning.”

Their beautiful sculptures are on temporary display at the Hawai‘i Keiki Museum.

This project was part of an arts-integrated residency with Maui artist Beth Marcil, generously funded by an Artists in the Schools grant.



Materials used to create my guardian 

It is made out of clay, feathers, paint, wood, water to help the clay, tree branches, and crystals. 

Artist Statement

One reason why I named my sculpture the Guardian of Leaves is because I love the way leaves fall and how they look. I got inspiration from a different sculpture but I changed how mine looked. I thought about all the things I could do and then I thought of leaves to be my guardian. If something doesn’t work out then that’s ok and you can always find out other ways to make your sculpture look nice. I faced the clay cracking and my tree head not finding leaves for it but then I was able to think of ways I could improve my guardian. I really like all the things about my guardian but the moon on my sculpture’s body could be a little bit better. If I could redo my sculpture I would change the moon and make it better and I would have painted the birds of paradise white.   



Materials used to create my guardian

My guardian is made out of  molding clay, water to shape things out, wood, paint, feathers, cotton, and leaves from a plant.

Artist Statement

My sculpture is named the Guardian of Quiet Freedom. I titled my artwork this because I feel I need more quiet freedom in my life. What inspired me is I had an idea of what I wanted to paint and I built around what I painted and it all came together. First I made a head from a mold. Then I painted my body. Next I painted my head. I also attached my body to my base and my head to my body. Afterwords I added embellishments. I learned that it’s hard work to create a piece of artwork. If I could re-make my sculpture again, I would change the way I painted the body, because I don’t like the way it turned out.



Materials used to create my guardian

My guardian is made out of  molding clay, water to shape things out, wood, paint, feathers, and leaves from a plant.

Artist Statement

I titled my artwork the Guardian of Love because I learned, as I move through life, sometimes unfortunate things happen. Sometimes you just need someone to tell you that you are loved. I also need to know that even if a loved one is not there with you, you can still mentally be with them.



Materials used to create my guardian

My guardian is made of wood, clay, and feathers.

Artist Statement

I titled my artwork the Guardian Of Endangered Animals. I named it this because I was inspired to save endangered animals. First, I thought of the idea. Next, I made the clay head with a mold. Then, I painted the body and base. I also painted the head. Afterwards, I screwed the body and base on and glued the head on with accessories. A challenge I faced was my sculpture looked creepy at first; then I fixed it. What I like about my guardian is the fox design. If I could remake my guardian again I would make it look more fox-like.



Materials used to create my guardian

My guardian is made out of clay, rocks, feathers, paint, wire, and metal.

Artist Statement

My sculpture is called The Guardian of Rainbows. I made this guardian by using a bunch of colorful colors and making a spiral for my face. I loved how colorful my guardian turned out. If I had to make another one and change something, I would put a face on my next one. I had to face some challenges when I was making it. The rocks I put on my guardian kept falling off. You may wonder what my guardian represents … my guardian represents losing a loved one and missing them. I added a bunch of things that remind me of angels, and loved ones that have passed away. The reason I made this art piece was for my brother who passed away a year ago. I hope this sculpture helps you know that one of your loved ones that has passed away is always with you.



Materials used to create my guardian

My guardian is made out of clay, feathers, wire, rope, stones, crystals, branches, and paint.

Artist Statement

I titled my artwork as the Guardian of Devotion because I felt that was the sculpture I wanted to create at the moment. It represents devotion or deep connection and loyalty. First I thought it out, then painted the body, next I moved on to my head and painted it, lastly I put some decorations on the shoulders. I discovered that you can make numerous changes along the way. I had quite a few challenges such as the paint mixing as it was not fully dried yet, or deciding what the theme was gonna be was also a struggle. What I like about my work is that the head part is unique — via two-sided head. What I don’t like about it is the shade I used to color the head, which I could’ve worked on more. I would like to change the base design or the head due to the two colors not matching each other, but it still came out nice, and I think you just need to trust yourself sometimes while doing something new.



Materials used to create my guardian

My guardian is made out of clay, wire, wood, paint, some special attachments, and cotton balls.

Artist Statement

My guardian is the Guardian of Dogs because I have a dog and she’s a big part of my life. I made the guardian by first making the head. Then painting the body. Next, painting the head; after that I put all the body parts together and then lastly, I added the accessories. I learned that artwork is hard to make and you can easily be distracted. I also learned that trying to stay on task and making it one theme is very hard but I worked through this by using more of a limited supply. I dislike my guardian in the way that it is unorganized because I wanted everything on my statue. I think I would keep it the same because if I never made it wrong the way I did, I would not have learned.



Materials used to create my guardian

Wood, cotton, and steel wool.


Artist Statement

I named this the calm guardian because it is peaceful and settled. First, I made the head then I made the body. After that, I decorated wood and stuff like wood, cotton, and steel wool. The struggles I went through is that hot glue is hot. I also liked the steel wool as hair. I would not re-make it because I really love it!



Materials used to create my guardian 

Clay, dried twigs and vines, paint, wood, fabric, lots of hot glue, and small toys.  

Artist Statement

My guardian sculpture began with the idea for it to represent childhood bliss. The kind of joy that is contagious and makes everyone nearby feel joyful too. I think it still represents that, but as I was creating my sculpture, each element I added made me think more and more about my grandmother. I loved doing crafts with her when I was a child, and doing crafts with my own children brings me joy because it reminds me of her, so I decided to change its focus to be named the Guardian of Craft-Loving Tutus (grandmas). The small toys and trinkets at the base of my guardian are from a collection of things I’ve found when emptying my boys’ pockets before doing laundry. My biggest challenge in creating my guardian was being okay when things didn’t turn out the way I had imagined. I had never worked with clay to make a face before, and if I could change something about my guardian, I would give myself more time to work on her. It was challenging braiding her dried twig hair but I really like how she turned out because she looks a little like me!

Our Kona artists at work