Make a list of 10 emotions and draw a picture beside each word that captures the emotion. When you finish, select your favorite drawing and elaborate on it by writing or drawing about a time when you felt that emotion.
Bring in an old shoebox. Use polymer clay, paint, and found objects to create a diorama inspired by the emotion you chose to write about. The piece should be autobiographical: You can sculpt yourself with the polymer clay and add details to the background with the paint and found objects. Display the diorama with your written narrative.
Unto Jarvi created this diorama—a three-dimensional, miniature scene in which figures are arranged in a setting—from carved wood, paint, and Plexiglas. Titled Alone, it was created after Jarvi’s wife died. This work is an excellent example of a personal-narrative piece, meant to express to the viewer the emotions felt by the artist.
About the Artist
Unto Jarvi was born in Saaksmaki, Finland, but left his birthplace for the United States at the age of 11. After working in construction for 50 years, he began painting and carving while recovering from an accident. He became a more prolific artist after retiring to Auburn, Kentucky, in 1971. Through his art, Jarvi said, he wanted to “tell a story of how life was in earlier years, hoping thereby to revive pleasant memories for people of my generation and to acquaint the present and future generations with how life used to be.”
Jarvi is best known for his carved figures, which he affectionately referred to as “Jarvi’s Little People.” His paintings typically depict landscapes, childhood memories, and scenes of country life.