Saturday, February 26, 2011

Peer Teaching

Peer teaching is one of my favorite things to observe in the studio. Often, kids seem more receptive to a peer; the learning and knowledge sharing is more informal and relevant. I learn by listening and hearing how they teach and re-teach each other concepts and routines.
These two young artists spent an entire class period working with color mixing. They mixed both from new colors and from a selection of mixed palettes created by others.
The artist on the right had much greater experience mixing and happily shared her knowledge with her friend who used the colors for his painting. This particular week, the "product" for the teaching artist was her sense of confidence and mastery in being about to share her experience with her friend.
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Memorial

This project began with the announcement by a young artist, "I made my grandma - she died so she's in the box." She spoke matter-of-factly about the creation featuring a drawing on a slab with the addition of a slab above (a headstone?).
The others at her table became interested in the project and with some great peer teaching helped her to score and slip to make stronger sides to fully realize this idea of a box.
The angle on this final photo makes it a bit harder to see the drawn figure but she is there, now surrounded by her box.
What captivated me about this story was this young artists' ability to create a memorial to her grandmother and the support she received from peers during the process. The focus stayed very much on the logistics of creating this box. I don't recall peers asking much about the death or even the usual sympathetic remarks one might expect to hear after hearing of a loss in a family. And yet, it did not feel as though the group was insensitive - it was just a very matter-of-fact sort of interaction. This is what happened - my grandmother died, they put her in a box and so I am making a sculpture of my grandmother in the box.
Speaking to the artist's mother, it was in fact her great-grandmother who died and she said that her daughter's questions focused a great deal on trying to understand what happened when someone dies. The great-grandmother was cremated so it was a very small box that was buried and this at the time seemed difficult for the child to reconcile - many questions related to why the box was so small. Perhaps, by creating a small box and drawing grandma inside, this young artist was able to work out artistically this part that seemed to not make sense at the same time creating a personal memorial of her great-grandmother.
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Monday, February 21, 2011

Sewing Continues and Connects

Asked to show his collage, this young artist proudly shows the side where the sewn yarn shows through....
A long length of fleece is added to form a connection between two collages.
Working at the same table, this artist sews with the lengths of fleece

adding ties with yarn as well as the items already glued to the design.
Week 2 - these artists specifically requested a return to collage the following week, again working with the hole punches and various fibers to build connections and sew lines.
Here different different textures of yarn begin to form a border.
With a line down the middle created in holes cut carefully by folding and using scissors.
And the final piece ready for presentation on a visit to grandma later in the afternoon.
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More Sewing

This young artist really enjoyed the hole punch tool.
For his sewing he found a length of black elastic - stitches were large and criss-crossed the paper.
Which made for a great effect when he pulled the end and the paper rolled.
Creating motion in his page with the pull of the string became a source of fascination and excitement.
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Sewing in the studio has been popular lately - a sort of surprise discovery as part of our collage process. Hole punching is always a favorite part of collage and the suggestion that perhaps a string could pass through the holes began a series of sewn collages across several classes and age groups.
Here a length of string is sewn to form a border all around a page.
This sewn collage created additional interest with other collage groups throughout the week.

This young artist punched holes and chose string, telling me as he worked that he wanted a sewing machine....
...then he wouldn't have to do such hard work! And yet, he stuck with the challenge of pulling the length of yarn through each hole, creating a sewn collage that reminded fellow artists of a kite.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Covering Ground with Paint

For young artists in the energy stage of painting, the process is really about covering ground, there is simple delight in spreading paint and exploring different tools to do this.
Here the artists tries painting with casters to see how their rolling makes marks on the paper. New tools are often a good way to engage and focus energetic painters - this young man really wanted to move from the paper to painting mom but the new tools and increasing the size of his painting surface helped to refocus to the paper.
This young painter literally covered ground, moving and expanding his field of color as we added paper along the length of the table to keep up with his energetic painting.
He enjoys the sensory quality of the paint on his hands as well as discovering the joys of our most simple print - a stamped hand.
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Wheels in clay

In our first week exploring clay in the Art in the Morning class, this young artist became especially fascinated with the way bottle caps make impressions in clay.
He referred to them as "wheels" and delighted in seeing the different surfaces they left in the clay as he made roads.
Feeling the ridges on a bumpy road.
The metal cap made a smooth road, while the ridged cap had even more bumps.
Matching the tool to the road it made.
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Flying through art to get home

"It's a bat that's going and it has to fly a long way to the next picture so it can get home."
A view of the wall with artwork by classmates - the dark square at the end is the home and the artist explained that the bat has to fly through all the other pictures to get to its home.
The bat's home and (below) a map to help the bat to see which way to go (and not to go).
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Colorful Carriage

This young artist began at the light table stacking colorful cylinders, enjoying the balance and the color in the light.
Dad, working beside her began a construction with the interlocking pieces.
She quickly adopted it, adding her cylinders to the structure as people on a carriage.
The carriage and its colorful riders.
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Power Lines

This young artist was an energetic painter working with a blue and yellow palette to create rich shades of green and diligently covering the paper.
For his third painting, he moved to making marks in the paint with popsicle sticks.
Then moved to using a blue pastel to carefully add power lines, moving throughout the page and connecting back to each other in careful loops.
Finally, he added additional paint over the power lines. Mom shared that the family lost power for 16 hours in the snow storm so power lines were clearly an important subject of conversation at home and now their importance is also recorded in this painting.

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