I decided to try something new in class today as students were finalizing their sketches for upcoming projects in 7th and 8th grade art. Usually students create several options on newsprint and then apply to a final product, making decisions on their own throughout that process. Instead of working in isolation and only getting feedback half way through or at the end, students spent part of today reviewing the planning sketches of their peer and indicating their favorites with a check or a star. This gave students a chance to rethink their initial favorites and take their peers' feedback into consideration when moving onto the next stages before finishing their projects.
8th grade students created maquettes to test out their planned paper sculptures before creating them on a larger scale. Creating a smaller model of the final design allows students to find the best possible solutions in a quick amount of time without wasting many resources. It was fun to see students struggle their way to solutions as they cut, folded, scored, and glued their designs together.
Students worked on clay projects this week, transforming rather dull gray lumps into lively creatures and figures. We discussed the various stages of clay as they transformed their pieces based on the planning work they completed through a series of thumbnail sketches.
7th grade students based their creatures around the transformation of a hollow clay balloon (that some decided to turn into a rattle by adding additional clay pellets before enclosing it). 8th grade students reused old water bottles as armatures to create anthropomorphic pottery pieces that represent their personalities.
While doing the demonstration for the 7th grade project process, I always ask students to tell me what to make and they vote on the final creature/sketched pose from my thumbnails. In the past I have made monkeys, chickens, fish, unicorns, and more. This year they wanted me to make a shark - you can check out the progress below (not too bad for a first try):
7th grade students finished their projects on Friday and 8th grade will be done on Monday. We will be adding color to the pieces once they have been fired!
For the past two weeks, students in both 7th and 8th grade classes had a lot of decisions to make as they worked through their projects. 7th grade students focused on story-telling as they worked on creating videos, video games, or comics. 8th grade students worked with form as they decided what to create with paper. You can see all of the results on our online gallery, but here is a peek into the process below:
Other students created their videos for the Meijer Great Choices Video Competition to focus on Healthy Choices, Character, or Diversity.
7th grade Greek Inspired Prints
7th grade students learned about how contemporary artists Karen Lamonte and Michael Stuts draw inspiration from ancient art from Greece and Rome. After comparing their work to the originals, students were asked to create action poses inspired by what they found in Greek Red and Black Figure Pottery. You can see the results on our online gallery and follow along in the process by watching the slideshow below:
Students also learned interesting facts like why the Parthenon no longer has a roof, that Nike is not just a great shoe company, and the ugly truth about those classical white statues everyone thinks look so elegant. We are currently in the process of working on our plaster casting of fingers based on our exploration of Pompeii and should be complete by Thanksgiving with that. Below is a little preview of where we are at so far:
8th grade Self Expression Prints
8th grade students also got in on the printmaking action this week by creating a two-color reduction print using Wondercut and Linocut tools. We looked at the work of Swoon, Kathe Kollwitz, Andy Warhol, and Banksy before editing our images in Photoshop and transferring them to our printing plates. Reduction printmaking is always a little tricky because you have to think in reverse and make sure to get your registration just right. You can see the results on our online gallery and the process below:
8th grade Abstractions
8th graders worked on the concept of abstraction this week through a series of activities that ranged from drawing, painting, sculpture, and digital work that explored concepts of representational abstraction (mostly with portraiture). The below are some of the results:
You can see the full array of images on our online gallery at www.artsonia.com/schools/byron1.
8th grade students finished their paper sculptures earlier this week and I uploaded the group to Artsonia earlier today.
You can see that students really had full control of the subject matter they chose in this work and many decided to range from realistic to abstract.
It was fun to teach this assignment (it was the first time I had done something like this in a Middle School class) and see all of the results. I especially like the creative ways students folded, bent, and reconstructed the usually flat surfaces of paper to get varying effects for their sculptures.
Every now and again you come across a student or project that seems to really take off with an idea. Luckily, it seems that this project sparked an interest in one 8th grade student to a point they had to work on it ALL weekend! The result definitely was worth it and I am happy to announce that it will be one of our top 20 art pieces moving onto the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition (due tomorrow)!
This is one of my favorite times of the year because I get the chance to showcase the best efforts from my students with the hopes they receive recognition at the local level and move onto the National Awards. I will post the final selection tomorrow, once all of the paperwork has been finalized. Until then, it is going to be a tough job narrowing the field...
8th grade students started sculpting with paper today after researching works by Jen Stark and Yulia Brodskaya.
This project is very open and allows students to make whatever they design, as long as they create it with cut and folded paper.
I look forward to sharing more as we progress throughout this week.
Both 7th and 8th grade students started the basics with their clay projects today as we talked about terms associated with clay. We defined what it means for clay to be plastic and how to score and slip when constructing your forms. This is a great way to talk about how words can mean different things in different context and learn the meaning of the words through actions we take towards completing the project.
We will continue this project through next week and go through the rest of the vocabulary that will cover the stages of clay and basic ceramic construction.
I enjoyed the opportunity to spend some time Up North this weekend because I was invited to attend the Michigan Legacy Art Park's Gala at Crystal Mountain. I have been to the park many times and enjoyed the dinner that honored those who have helped make it such a great showcase for sculpture and nature.
On a day of exploring other areas around Northern Michigan, I went to Northport and at the rocky shore of the beach were towers of balanced rocks. This reminded me of Andy Goldsworthy at first, but then I knew I had seen another artist who specifically worked with balancing rocks. John Felice Ceprano is an American born artist who creates the rock sculptures in the video below while living in Ottawa, Canada. There is even an International Festival for this type of art making. So, the next time you are at the beach, try it out (it is a little tricky, but pretty fun)!
Teaching Visual Arts since 2004 and making images since picking up a crayon.