Sunday, September 10, 2017

Screw Art

I recently discovered an inspiring 5 minute video called, "Please Touch the Art"  about artist, Andrew Meyers making a tactile portrait from screws, for a blind man named, George.

After looking at more work by Meyers, I decided that this would be something that my blind students could not only appreciate, but create.

They each began by drawing a shape onto a piece of wood, and creating a grid of 1/2" squares. 

Then they made holes at each intersection with a drill or nail, before painting the shape black and the background a different color. Screws were drilled into the holes. Some students chose to try to have all the screw heads at the same height, while others tried to create curves or rounded shapes by varying the height.

Finally the heads of the screws were painted. Half an inch apart was not as close as I would have liked to have placed the screws, but each student was allotted about 50 screws, so they did what they could to fill the space.  One student who is totally blind, felt a piece progress and said, "There's the 'A'"  I didn't even know she knew the shapes of print letters, since she is a Braille reader. It was gratifying to teach my students how to use sandpaper, hammer, and drill, not just once or twice, enough times to actually gain some confidence in a life skill that they wouldn't have learned from observation.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Collaborate Cardboard Relief Sculpture

I recently revisited a project from four years ago, in which I had each student choose a type of shape (rectilinear or curvilinear) and a set of analogous  colors (from yellow to blue, from yellow to red, or from red to blue). After they each painted and arranged their cardboard shapes into a personal relief sculpture, I asked how they would feel about combining them. (They looked so pretty-like a large stained glass window laid out on a large table together).  Eight students agreed, so I got out the hot glue gun and combined them into what now hangs  from the hall ceiling with 2 pieces of wire. It ended up being 6 foot tall, and there are enough individual personal relief sculptures to brighten our classroom as well.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Coil Pots

Coil pottery is an ancient technique and a fun way to introduce functional ceramics to art students. 
The process begins by rolling out a "snake" like shape with clay. This is used to  coil, or spiral around in a circle to form the bottom of a bowl, or it can be added to a slab (clay rolled out into a shape) to form a small wall. Layers of coils are added using the slip-and-score technique in which the attaching edges are scored with hatch marks and a slimy clan-water mixture is added for glue. If the clay is very soft than the slip and score method isn't needed; as two pieces can be smoothed together.

In the past, I have had assignments in which the students must smooth the inside and outside as they go along building the wall, but for this assignment, only the inside was smoothed so that the outside showed the texture of the coil process. Students were encouraged to use a variety of ways to add coils, in squiggles, spirals, horizontal layers etc. This way the end product makes it possible to see, feel, and remember the process.