Thursday, September 21, 2017
Three weeks in a row, my art students were able to work with wood and hardware supplies to create art.
I love it because it reinforces basic home improvement skills to help my students become more independent. Visually Impaired students aren't just required to learn the same curriculum as their sighted peers, they are also required to learn an Expanded Core Curriculum that includes life skills that they wouldn't learn unless taught explicitly (from how to use a fork and knife to how to us a hammer and nail).
In terms of Art Standards, this week we focused on "Line as Design Element". Elements of Design or Art are the tools you use to make art. All week we sang a list to the tune of "Oh My Darlin'"/ "Found a Peanut": "Line, Shape, Color, Value Texture, are the Elements of Art. Line, Shape, Color, Value, Texture, Are the Elements of Art." I know, I know, some lists include "point," and "form" (the 3D version of shape), and I talk about how those are valid. But I'm not a big fan of including "space" on the list because how do you create space? You can create a sense of depth or illusion of space, by overlapping shapes, using linear perspective, or atmospheric perspective (value), etc. but you can't do it without using the other elements on our list, so I cover that when we talk about Principles of Design, and stick to the very essentials for elements. My apologies to the people who make the posters that include "space" as an element.
Sunday, September 10, 2017
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.
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
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
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.