Art Nouveau, Ceremonial Spoons


  • Pencil
  • 8.5×11 paper (thumbnails)
  • Air Dry Clay
  • Variety of clay tools
  • Slip
  • Plastic bag

Create a set of salad fork and spoons inspired by Art Nouveau and African Ceremonial Spoons.


  • You must have a set of two
  • They should be 8″ or longer
  • Your spoon must be in the style of Art Nouveau

Keep in Mind:

  • Ceremonial Spoons were created for specific ceremonies for people of power
  • Art Nouveau was inspired by nature, especially sinuous lines and foliate forms
  • Your piece should be functional

You can view the powerpoint here: CeremonialSaladUtensils

Art Nouveau:

From the 1880s until the First World War, western Europe and the United States witnessed the development of Art Nouveau (“New Art”). Taking inspiration from the unruly aspects of the natural world, Art Nouveau influenced art and architecture especially in the applied arts, graphic work, and illustration. Sinuous lines and “whiplash” curves were derived, in part, from botanical studies and illustrations of deep-sea organisms such as those by German biologist Ernst Heinrich Haeckel (1834–1919) in Kunstformen der Natur (Art Forms in Nature, 1899). artformsinnature

(Illustration from “Art Forms in Nature”)

Other publications, including Floriated Ornament (1849) by Gothic Revivalist Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812–1852) and The Grammar of Ornament (1856) by British architect and theorist Owen Jones (1809–1874),


advocated nature as the primary source of inspiration for a generation of artists seeking to break away from past styles. The unfolding of Art Nouveau’s flowing line may be understood as a metaphor for the freedom and release sought by its practitioners and admirers from the weight of artistic tradition and critical expectations.



Hanging cabinet, ca. 1890
Émile Gallé (French, 1846–1904)


Vase, 1893–96

Designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany (American, 1848–1933); Made by Tiffany Glass and Decorating


Gaudi architecture


Cutlery by Salvatore Dali

Ceremonial Spoons:

Ceremonial Spoons were used by kings and high ranking officials in Africa as a symbol of wealth and power.  Except for sculptures of kings, solely figural sculpture is rare.  Instead objects such as cups and spoons are made in human form.


Kuba peoples

19th–20th century


Zulu Ceremonial Spoon


Zulu Ceremonial Ladle


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